Arsenal Ladies were keen to get off to winning ways now that the England girls have returned from the World Cup and their League programme can finally begin. They did just that, beating a newly-promoted Watford containing a number of former Arsenal players.
It took six minutes for Kelly Smith to set Lianne Sanderson up with a cut-back in front of goal which gave the champions an early lead. But a slight lapse in concentration in the 16th minute gave Watford the opportunity they were looking for and they duly equalised.
The next goal was probably the goal of the night as Katie Chapman blasted the ball into the back of the net from 30 yards. Katie deserved this goal, continuing where she left off last season with another good, solid midfield performance.
Lianne Sanderson doubled her tally to make it 3-1 when the ball
fell loose after Smith's corner.
Halfway through the first half, the Ladies were starting to show elements of why they won all four trophies last season. Some fantastic combination play on the edge of Watford's penalty box between the England trio Sanderson, Smith and Karen Carney almost led to their fourth goal.
Instead, Watford reduced the deficit with a goal after a corner five minutes before half-time. Carney responded with an tricky run down the right wing, sending in a perfect cross for which the Watford keeper plucked almost directly off the top of Smith's head.
Arsenal drove on after the break and further goals from Carney in the 54th minute, Sanderson in the 60th minute - to complete her hat-trick - and a penalty converted by Smith in the 64th minute gave them a 6-2 win.
Two young international substitutes, Gemma Davison and Gilly Flaherty, came on for Chapman and Smith in the 69th and 80th minute respectively. England captain Faye White was absent after suffering an injury during the World Cup quarter-final against the United States in China.
- Chapman 69 Goal!
- Flaherty 80
- Smith Goal!
- Davison 69
- Sanderson Goal! Goal! Goal!
- Carney 80 Goal!