Kim Little’s 86th-minute goal helped Arsenal finally overcome the challenge provided by Reading in their FA Women’s Continental League Cup quarter-final tie at Meadow Park this evening.
The Gunners won 1-0 as Joe Montemurro’s side moved to within one step of another appearance in the final after finishing as runners-up last season.
The visitors had goalkeeper Rachel Laws to thank early on as she denied Lisa Evans a seventh-minute opener before Jo Potter and Natasha Harding put in brave tackles to prevent Danielle van de Donk and Evans from getting shots away.
Arsenal keeper Manuela Zinsberger then produced a save to prevent Fara Williams’ effort from finding the back of the net before Jill Roord went close at the other end.
It was Roord who again force danger upon the Reading goal moments later but a combination of Rachel Rowe and Laws managed to clear the ball.
The match seemed very much on a knife edge and it was Reading who were desperately unlucky not to score early in the second half when Williams saw an effort cannon off the post.
The Royals keeper Laws then pulled off a wonderful save to deny Van de Donk before she needed the help of the post to gather the ball following a Beth Mead effort.
Arsenal fans in the stands will have felt anxious as a penalty shootout beckoned until Little came to the rescue four minutes from time when she slotted the ball home.
The Gunners will now face Chelsea, Manchester City or Manchester United in the semi-finals.