By Lloyd Webb
Arsenal Ladies sealed their place in the quarter-finals of the Continental Cup with a 2-1 win over Reading Ladies on Thursday night.
Casey Stoney provided the finishing touch to a well-worked free-kick just before the break to give the Gunners the opening goal.
Vicky Losada secured the win with another goal in the second half and while Reading Ladies pulled one back in injury time through Nicola Watts, the hosts held on to progress.
Setting the scene
Pedro Martinez Losa named a strong side, making four changes to the side that lost to Chelsea in the WSL on Sunday. Alex Scott, Chioma Ubogagu and Carla Humphrey all came into the starting XI.
However, the most notable inclusion was Jordan Nobbs for her first start since recovering from injury.
Elsewhere, ex-Arsenal forward Lauren Bruton started for Reading Ladies.
Arsenal Ladies started brightly, and Natalia gave Reading an early scare just two minutes into the game as she almost converted a teasing cross from close range.
Jade Bailey struck a powerful drive from a long-range free-kick in the 28th minute that took a dangerous deflection, requiring Reading keeper Grace Moloney to tip it wide.
Just before half time a well-worked free-kick involving a string of passes saw the ball fall to Stoney’s feet, and she poked home the opening goal of the night.
With both sides doing their fair share of attacking, Natalia had the second half’s first real chance when she dribbled past her marker and fire over in the 59th minute.
Losada then doubled the Gunners' lead just after the hour mark when she raced through on goal and curled an effort round the outstretched Moloney.
Stoney almost claimed a brace, hitting the post in the 85th minute after substitute Dan Carter flicked the ball to her from a corner.
Reading pulled one back in injury time when Watts found herself alone in the box to head home a consolation goal but the Gunners had done enough for the win.
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