FARA Williams scored a sensational goal from the halfway line to seal a hard-fought 2-1 victory for Reading FC Women against her form club Arsenal at Boreham Wood's Meadow Park.

England ace Williams scored either side of Beth Mead’s strike in an open game full of chances for both sides.

Both teams started yesterday's clash well, but it was Reading who had the first chance, Kirsty Pearce half-volleying from a corner kick to the left of goal on 11 minutes.

Reading counter-attacked on the half-hour but Brooke Chaplen was denied a shot on goal by Arsenal’s defence.

The home side came back immediately as Vivianne Miedema found space to shoot only to see her effort saved by Grace Moloney on 31 minutes.

Reading went close late in the first half with Jo Potter’s 43rd-minute free kick skimming the top of the upright.

Arsenal started the second half the better with Jodie Taylor almost finding the top corner two minutes after the break.

But Reading scored the first goal on 56 minutes, Williams poking home a Lauren Bruton cross.

Substitute Mead almost made an immediate impact for Arsenal two minutes later, but her shot spun right of the goalpost.

However, Mead did manage to equalise on 62 minutes, striking the ball calmly past Moloney from the left.

Yet Williams caught the whole Arsenal team unaware from the restart, scoring sensationally from the centre circle.

Fara Williams scores from the centtre-spot against Arsenal.

Arsenal came close to an equaliser with Danielle Carter finding space on the right only to be saved by Moloney on 74 minutes and Mead threatening the Reading’s defence but a second goal didn’t come.

Royals manager Kelly Chambers said: "Fara’s goal was fantastic. That’s the calibre of player Fara Williams is, and that’s why we brought her to the club.

“She has been a great addition to the squad, and she’s our top goal scorer. People would probably not have expected that from us signing her, but she’s got a new lease of life as a player.

“Fara’s playing really well with loads of confidence at the minute and that’s great.”

She added: "It was important for us to win this game as it helps to continue our momentum and confidence.

"It was also important for us to show how far we have come not only as a club but also as a team.

“The fact we’re actually starting to compete with teams like this is great. This is what we want to do this season, and that is something we showed on the day."

Meanwhile, Arsenal's Beth Mead admitted her side should have been more alert to the danger when Williams attempted an audacious shot from the centre circle.

"We know that’s not good enough, especially when it’s Fara Williams on the ball," she said. "You need to be aware of what could happen, and I think that was the disappointing thing.

“The girls will probably take a long hard look at themselves and be really disappointed with that second goal.

“I think it was a scrappy game. We knew what type of team Reading were as they like to be quite physical.

“We got ourselves back into the game but gave it away straight from the kick-off."

Arsenal: Moorhouse, Rose, Quinn (Carter 62), Williamson (Janssen 38), Mitchell, Van de Donk, Nobbs, O’Reilly, James, Miedema, Taylor (Mead 57). Subs not used: Van Veenendaal, Scott, Evans, Hinds, Booked: Quinn 49.

Reading: Moloney, Jane, Pearce, Potter, Scott, Williams, Allen, Bartrip (Linnett 72), Chaplen (Rowe 77), Bruton (Green 90), Furness. Sub s not used: Earps, Van den Berg, Clifford. Booked: Bruton 29, Allen 33.

Referee: Matt Buonassisi.

  • England face Bosnia & Herzegovina in a FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier at Walsall FC on 24 November, KO 7.05pm. Buy tickets (£10 Adult/£1 Under-18) at www.thefa.com/tickets