BY KUMAIL JAFFER
Vivianne Miedema and Katie McCabe both bagged braces as Arsenal ran out 5-0 winners against Charlton Athletic in the FA Continental Tyres League Cup at Meadow Park.
Dutch striker Miedema scored two and set one up for McCabe as Arsenal sealed their place in the quarter-finals with a game to spare after dominating the game throughout.
Miedema’s goals came either side of a McCabe strike and an Amelia Ritchie own goal. McCabe then rounded off the win with a curled strike from range.
Arsenal continued their habit of striking early with the prolific Miedema slotting home her fourth of the competition after a wonderful pass from McCabe on six minutes.
She then returned the favour with 30 minutes gone, teeing up McCabe for an accurate finish after the fullback put her through initially.
Miedema would have doubled her tally after a deft Beth Mead flick but was thwarted by Katie Startup, who also produced a reflex low save from McCabe just before the break.
Charlton began to grow into the game after half-time, with April Bowers’ curled effort testing Dutch goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal in the Arsenal goal.
The Gunners soon reasserted themselves, though, with Ritchie putting it in her own net from a corner before Miedema scored her second with a guided header into the top corner.
McCabe then received a square pass before curling the ball into the top corner to secure all three points and ensure Arsenal, who had four debutants on show, sailed into the next round.
Arsenal’s Katie McCabe said: “I think it’s always important to get back to winning ways. Obviously, it didn’t go our way on Sunday which was very frustrating but it’s great to come back and then score some goals and get three points in the Conti Cup.
“We keep focusing on ourselves and our performances and working hard on the training pitch, so hopefully the results will keep coming.
“It’s obviously our aggression which is great, we have a great press so it’s just to get on the front foot early and put the teams under pressure and again, scoring early doesn’t always happen though.
“They were a really well organised side and pressed as a team, and got into positions that were really good, so they did make it difficult for us at times.
“Sometimes, we were our own worst enemy, trying to play but it worked out for us in the end and we got the win.
“I think the supporters are always fantastic for us, whether it’s home or away, they are fantastic. The fans are really important to us. We want to make Borehamwood a hard place to come to and we’ve done that so far this season and we just hope to keep continuing it.”
Charlton’s Gemma Bryan said:“They’re full-time athletes so, that’s the difference, that’s the level we aspire to be at and I think that was the difference.
“We just wanted to get at them to be honest, so we decided to press them in certain areas in the first half and we had quite a bit of success.
“I think we matched them quite evenly but at the end of the day, they’re fitter than us, they’re stronger than us. As I say, they train every day, and that’s what we’re competing with.
“I think we can play a little bit better in the final third than we did, I think our final ball was a little bit off. If only we got that right, we could have created one or two more clinical chances.
“We did have a couple of opportunities, I had one myself in the first half and we tested the keeper at the end as well, so I think we were unlucky.
“We were told to do the same as we did in the first half. Obviously, we had to sit off a little bit, as it’s hard to maintain that press for 90 minutes, so we let them have the ball a little bit deeper.”
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IMAGE BY KEITH GILLARD
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