By Lloyd Webb at Meadow Park
Arsenal Ladies started their Women’s Super League campaign with a convincing 3-1 win against newly-promoted Reading.
The first half finished with the hosts in front, courtesy of Dominique Janssen’s fine strike, although the Gunners should have led by more.
Asisat Oshoala marked an encouraging debut with a goal when she doubled the hosts’ advantage one minute into the second half.
Jade Boho-Sayo - who used to play for Pedro Martinez Losa – reduced the deficit with a near–post header, and Reading went in search of an equaliser.
But Arsenal’s defence held firm and were rewarded for their efforts 20 minutes from the end thanks to Dan Carter’s powerful header.
Setting the scene
Losa made four changes to his side following the penalty shoot-out victory against Birmingham City in the FA Women’s Cup.
Oshoala was handed her first start while Emma Mitchell, Vicky Losada and Marta Corredera were all included at Meadow Park.
Elsewhere, Reading had three former Gunners among their ranks in Lois Rowe, Laura May-Walkley and Lauren Bruton, while Losa faced his former player Boho-Sayo, having coached her at Rayo Vallecano Feminio.
It wasn’t the fast and furious start Arsenal would have wanted for their Women’s Super League curtain-raiser, but there was plenty of encouraging signs in the opening exchanges.
Jordan Nobbs was first to try her luck, then Losada, but neither midfielder could get their efforts on target.
Carter was inches away from giving the Gunners the lead in the 15th minute, but her effort was cleared off the line.
It was Janssen who claimed the first goal of the campaign when her driven shot found the bottom corner just past the half-hour mark.
It could have been two moments before the break, but the woodwork denied Oshoala as the Gunners.
Oshoala was determined to mark her debut with a goal, and she was rewarded for her efforts when she rounded Grace Maloney and poked home.
The visitors gave an instant response thanks to Boho-Sayo’s header at the near post, following a flowing move.
Despite a late surge from Reading in their search of an equaliser, Carter wrapped up the win when she nodded past Moloney amid confusion in the box.
Referee: Robert Whitton
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