Beth Mead relished every minute of playing in the No 9 role as she scored a hat-trick in Arsenal’s 5-0 victory over London City Lionesses in the first round of the FA Women’s Continental League Cup.
Joe Montemurro’s Arsenal made light work of the Lionesses in Dartford, Mead hitting three and Holland international Jill Roord and Emma Mitchell also getting on the scoresheet as the five-time winners eased to victory.
Mead, who scored 77 goals in 78 appearances as a centre-forward at Sunderland, relishes every opportunity she gets to play as Arsenal’s No 9 and hopes her hat-rick performance can help her keep her spot in a competitive Arsenal line-up.
“I enjoy playing No 9. I used to play there when I was at Sunderland so it was quite nice to be back in there and help my team get a few goals,” said the England forward.
"I think at some point we are all going to take turns in having a rest on the bench, but I'm a player who likes to play and get a rhythm in my game and that is what I am doing at the moment. I am enjoying every minute of playing football.
"I had a couple of weeks off after the World Cup and went away and switched off and recharged to get ready to come back and play. The body is quite tired, but you are always ready to come back and play some football.
"The league is the most important for us, but we want to compete a lot better than we did in the FA Cup and the Continental Cup. We are a team that wants to win things and we should be winning things."
Elsewhere, Sheffield United pulled off an upset, defeating Liverpool 3-2 thanks to a 94th minute winner from forward Jade Pennock.
What should have been a routine win for the Reds turned into a classic cup underdog story as Sheffield managed to secure the win with only seconds remaining.
The Reds took the lead courtesy of Ashley Hodson and required Niamh Charles to restore the advantage after Katie Wilkinson levelled it.
Maddy Cusack thundered in the second equaliser with only three minutes on the clock and the pressure was further ramped up when Liverpool’s Jade Bailey was sent off.
The pressure told as Liverpool’s defence was breached for a third time as Sheffield completed the comeback with Pennock scoring the injury-time winner.
Meanwhile, Conti Cup holders Manchester City got their campaign off to a winning start with an impressive 5-0 win over Leicester, Caroline Weir and Pauline Bremer both netting doubles before Tessa Wullaert added the fifth.
Chelsea endured a tough first half against a resilient West Ham side but eventually completed a 2-0 win with goals from Bethany England and Guro Reiten to get them up and running.
Tottenham endured a horrible afternoon against Reading as they conceded four at home. Brooke Chaplen bagged a brace, with Ashleigh Neville scoring an own goal and Millie Farrow rounding off the scoring.
Rachel William scored the game’s only goal as Birmingham edged a close encounter with Everton.
Durham secured a 3-0 win against Aston Villa following a Molly Sharpe double, while Palace managed to edge Lewes with a 3-2 victory and Kayleigh Green converted two penalties in Brighton’s 3-0 win over Charlton.
Coventry required penalties to secure a bonus point against Blackburn as they played out a 1-1 draw over the 90 minutes.
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