Cardiff City Ladies 2-1 Reading FC Women
FA Cup 4th Round
Sunday, 24th of February
An undeserved winner in the last minute of extra time from Cardiff City Ladies’ Nadia Lawrence saw Reading FC Women crash out of the FA Cup in the fourth round.
An expertly taken free kick from Reading’s Cheryl Williams 10 minutes from time leveled the tie and took the game into extra-time. But Reading Ladies were made to pay for a momentary lapse in the 120th minute, conceding a sloppy goal that dumped the away side out the cup.
The Royals started much the better side and nearly got the game off to a flyer in the 3rd minute, Stacie Donnelly burst through the home teams defence but saw her shot saved by Cardiff keeper Rhian Nokes, the rebound falling to Reading’s Alice Palmer but again the Cardiff keeper was equal to her shot.
Just a few minutes later, Reading were awarded an indirect free kick in the Cardiff penalty box after a blatant pass back to the keeper. The ball was teed up for Cheryl Williams but her powerful effort was blocked by the Cardiff defence.
Reading continued to dominate the game and their best chance of an opening goal came in the 23rd minute, a great ball over the top from Rebecca Jane found Beth Lloyd in behind the Cardiff defence, her low strike beat the keeper but then rattled off the post and rolled out for a goal kick.
The home side eventually carved out a goal scoring chance for themselves on the half-hour mark, Cardiff’s Kelly Alderidge only had the keeper to beat but a crucial last ditch block from Readings Grace Moloney kept the game at 0-0.
Reading went into half time by far the better side, troubling the home keeper on a number of occasions and dominating possession, the only thing missing from all their hard work was a goal.
However, Cardiff appeared rejuvenated in the second half and nearly opened the scoring themselves with captain Lauren Townsend forcing Grace Moloney into a fantastic save low down to her near post.
The second half appeared much more even following Reading’s first half dominance, and on the 71st minute Cardiff City Ladies took the lead through Cori Williams who struck a sweet volley which Grace Moloney could only parry into the back of the net.
With time running out for The Royals they would’ve taken any sort of goal, but on the 81st minute Cheryl Williams smashed in a fantastic 25-yard free kick low into the bottom corner to level the game and force the tie into extra-time.
Extra-time was definitely one to forget, with both teams failing to trouble the opposition goalkeepers and you could sense both teams were feeling nervy with a penalty shoot-out looming.
Penalties seemed inevitable as the game reached the 120th minute, but Cardiff managed to win themselves a corner in the dying seconds of the game. The corner game to nothing and the referee looked moments from blowing the final whistle but the ball was played back into the Reading box and - after a huge goalmouth scramble, Cardiff's Nadia Lawrence poked the ball in from close range to give her side a dramatic 2-1 win.
Reading can take pride in defeat, having been the better side for large periods of the game and deserved much more from the tie. Having been knocked out of the cup the Royals can now set their focus on the league, with a trip to Colchester on Sunday 3rd March.