By Tom Bennett in Saitama
On Friday Arsenal secured a 5-0 victory over a talented young side from the Musashigaoka College - the sponsors of the Ladies' 11-day charity Japan tour.
Goals from Kim Little, Alex Scott, Ellen White and a brace from Jennifer Beattie gave the Ladies their first tour triumph in a game watched by an enthusiastic gaggle of students at the Musashigaoka College sports field in Saitama.
The match celebrated a 15-year long partnership between the two sides that has seen the Ladies host groups of students every year in London, and even recruit a few of the college’s promising young players too.
There was evidence of plenty more potential in the current college side but, faced with Laura Harvey’s treble winners, the result was never in doubt.
Fresh from a 1-1 draw with Nadeshiko champions INAC Kobe on Wednesday, the Gunners were in a clinical mood and were four up by the break courtesy of a ferocious top-corner strike from Little on 13 minutes and goals from Scott, White and Beattie.
It was credit to the college side that they resisted Arsenal’s attempts to extend their lead for much of the second half. Indeed they could have pulled one back on the hour mark had it not been for a fine fingertip save from Republic of Ireland international Emma Byrne.
Beattie finally broke through again for the Gunners after 75 minutes, cutting in from the right-hand side and firing a shot across the keeper and into the bottom-left corner of the net for her second of the game and Arsenal’s fifth.
More than the result, the game was a chance to mark a hugely-successful first foray to Japan for the Ladies with their tour organisers. And in a good humoured but competitive game it achieved just that.
Next up for Arsenal is a stern test against league runners-up NTV Beleza at the Tama City Athletic Stadium on December 4 - a game that will conclude the tour.
- Angharad James
- Lily Agg