By Emmet McEvoy at Broad Lane Sports Ground
Arsenal Ladies continued their preparations for the new season with an emphatic 6-0 win over Colchester United in Wivenhoe.
Kim Little’s early penalty and goals from Steph Houghton and Rachel Yankey gave the Gunners a commanding lead at the break.
Little added a fourth just after the hour before a late brace from Danielle Carter completed the scoring.
Arsenal named a strong team which including Houghton, recently crowned England Women's Player of the Year, and last season’s Women’s Super League top scorer Little. Kelly Smith, captaining the team, lined up alongside Little in midfield, with Ellen White the lone striker.
They got off to the perfect start when Little converted from the spot after White was fouled by goalkeeper Nikita Runnacles just six minutes into the game.
The hosts threatened briefly when Karissa Rodney beat Emma Byrne to a long ball but failed to find the target. Moments later Alex Scott’s cross found Little on the edge of the box but her shot was easily saved by Runnacles.
In the 21st minute Smith tried her luck with a shot from distance which Runnacles could only fumble behind. The mistake was almost costly as Houghton headed against the bar from the resulting corner.
The Ladies were in complete control and there was a sense of inevitability when the second goal arrived four minutes later. Little’s defence-splitting pass found Smith down the right flank and she squared for Houghton to finish. It was a goal of real quality that matched the visitors’ play.
On the half hour they added a third. It was White this time that got in down the right and when Runnacles failed to hold Little’s shot, Yankey was there to poke home the rebound. It could have been four at the break but Runnacles saved well when White was clean through.
Arsenal started the second half as they had finished the first and came close when Gemma Davison fired just over following some patient build-up play.
The fourth goal eventually arrived just after the hour, when Little played a lovely one-two with White on the edge of the box before rounding the keeper and rolling the ball into an empty net. Moments later Smith curled a shot just over before Yankey fired wide from ten yards.
The Gunners had dominated from the start and added a fifth with 15 minutes remaining. Danielle Carter showed some brilliant skill in the box to escape her marker before finishing emphatically at Runnacles’ near post.
Carter capped an impressive performance with her second seven minutes from time. Houghton headed Yankey’s corner goalwards and the 19-year-old was in the perfect position to flick home from six yards.
Arsenal face ASD Torres in the Champions League on Wednesday, March 20, before beginning their defence of the Continental Cup against Birmingham four days later.
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