by Sylvain Jamet
A very young Arsenal Ladies side beat Watford Ladies by three goals with with Leah Williamson, Chloe Kelly and Rachel Yankey from a penalty on the scoresheet.
It was the perfect game to blood the youngsters from the u17 and development team and Pedro Losa gave a chance to many of them.
For the opening game of the FA WSL Continental Cup 2015 against bottom of the WSL 2 Watford, Losa rotated his squad giving a first start to back-up goalie and newbie Sari Van Veenendal and England u17 players Lotte Wubben-Moy at center and Chloe Kelly up front.
The starting 11 was: Van Veenendaal, Corredera Rose Wubben-Moy Janssen, Bailey Williamson Humphrey, Carter Kelly Yankey. Two players over 23 years old, four aged 20 to 23 and the remaining five u19 or u17 players.
The bench was even younger with Natalia Pablos Sanchon a veteran at 30 years of age, Evie Clarke an 18 year old and the remaining four players were members of the successful Center Of Excellence u17 that did the double a couple of months ago (Chiara Ritchie-Williams, Georgia Allen, Charlotte Devlin, Rianna Dean) and Sian Rogers and England u17 international.
Chiara Ritchie-Williams came on a right back, Charlotte Devlin came on in the attacking midfield position and Georgia Allen came on in the number 8 position. Credit to Pedro Losa for trusting the youngsters and giving them a game against an opponent who fought well but the intensity and pace was a lot lower than in the FA WSL 1 games.
Leah Williamson opened the scoring from a Danielle Carter cut-back with a top of corner finish. Chloe Kelly opended her goalscoring account from another excellent delivery by Carter. She was served on a plate and finished with a header from close range. Rachel Yankey scored from the penalty after a harsh penalty was given for handball with the ball hitting a defender’s arm after a looping deflection.
The score was three nil at half time and did not evolve in the second half with Watford Ladies fighting back well and Arsenal giving experience to the young players.
The only negative in the night was Leah Williamson unable to finish the game with a leg injury. Pedro Losa gave the night off to many senior players and they will be fresh for the big game against Notts County on Sunday.