I have been to the Adams Park a few times previously, the most recent being for the visit of Stourbridge in the FA Cup 3rd Round a few years back. A fantastic fantastic day out when The Glassboys were the Pride of the Black Country and nearly pulled off a cup shock.
Enough of the reminiscing though, back to the current day. Arsenal came into the game top of the table ahead of Manchester City on goal difference, not in any small way because of their 11-1 destruction of Bristol City in their last game. In Vivienne Miedema they have the league's most prolific striker, bang in form after scoring six and getting an assist for at least three others in the last game.
Reading were on a run of four unbeaten in all competitions and were fairly comfortable in mid-table. With former England international Fara Williams driving them on in midfield alongside Jade Moore, Angharad James and a host of other international experience, the Royals were not to be underestimated.
Then, just before the half-hour mark we finally got to see what Arsenal are capable of producing. The Gunners midfield won the ball back on the halfway line, Danielle van de Donk drove forward with overlapping runs going past her on both sides, she let the Reading defence edge towards Kim Little's run to her right before laying the perfect pass off to her left and perfectly into the stride of Miedema. The star striker took a touch before lofting the ball over the advancing Moloney to make it 0-1. A goal devastating in it's simplicity but superbly executed in both weight of pass and delicate finish.
The goal shook Arsenal out of their slumbers and they went on the hunt for a second goal. On the 37th minute it came, and what a goal it was. Beth Mead's corner from the right was pulled back to the edge of the box for Kim Little who played a one-two with Leah Williamson, exchanged another one-two with Jordan Nobbs and then executed the perfect volleyed lob over Moloney into the far corner. 0-2. A goal of sheer quality.
Arsenal looked for a third before the break but Reading held on and were probably glad to her the whistle for half-time.
HT Reading 0 Arsenal 2. The home side started brightly but were undone by two pieces of world class football from Arsenal.
Fara Williams almost put her name on the goal of the game award with a fantastic first time lob from 30 yards but the ball sailed narrowly wide with Zinsberger well beaten.
Just as we headed into time added on, Arsenal once more showed how incisive they can be. Van de Donk, taking a pass out on the left-flank played a first time pass over the Reading defence and perfectly into the path of Miedema. There was only one outcome as the striker once again executed the perfect lob over Moloney to make it 0-3.
FT Reading 0 Arsenal 3. The scoreline reflects Arsenal's superior quality on the ball but does not really tell the whole tale of the game. Reading gave as good as they got for much of this game but just lacked the additional skills required to unlock the Arsenal defence. The Gunners, who were probably not at their best, produced three moments of sheer class and three top quality finishes when it mattered.
A thoroughly entertaining game of football which had an edge to it but was, for the most part, played in a sporting manner. Good to see a work colleague of mine, Richard Hulme, officiating and keeping a tight rein on any potential flash points.
Reading: Moloney, Pacheco, Potter, Leine, Howard, Allen, Moore, James, Williams, Utland, Chaplen. Subs: Eikeland, Farrow, Laws, Bennink, Reynolds, Quirk
Arsenal: Zinsberger, Schanderbeck, Beattie, Williamson, Evans, Walti, Little, Nobbs, Van De Donk, Mead, Miedema. Subs: Roord, Maier, Mitchell, McCabe, Quinn, Magnin
Ground Number: Re-Visit