A goal early in the second half by Chelsea Women midfielder Ji So-Yun was enough to end the Royals’ winning run and condemn Reading to a defeat at Kingsmeadow on Saturday.
In turn it extended the Blues’ winning streak to five on the bounce and taking them above the Royals in the FA WSL league standings.
Reading midfielder Fara Williams went close on a couple of occasions in the opening moment of the match. She curled a shot narrowly wide within a minute of kick-off, and soon after she drew a save from Hedvig Lindahl from the edge of the area. Between those efforts, Chelsea struck the post through Magdalena Eriksson.
And Brooke Chaplen almost had a clear-cut chance when Millie Bright conceded possession cheaply – the defender just about made a recovery tackle.
But Chelsea’s bright start after the break was converted into a lead – Ramona Bachmann played in Ji and she found the bottom corner with a clean strike.
Reading threw everything at it to try and earn a leveller, but the hosts held on to a clean-sheet win. Remi Allen’s overhead kick was saved and a goalmouth scramble was somehow kept at bay.
Full-time: Chelsea FC Women 1-0 Reading FC Women
Chelsea FC Women: Lindahl, Blundell, Bright, Ingle, Carney (c), Ji, Eriksson, Andersson, Cuthbert (Engman 90), Bachmann (England 76), Spence.
Unused subs: Durack, Cooper, Carter, Asante, Bailey.
Goal: Ji (49).
Reading FC Women: Moloney, Pacheco, Williams, Pearce (C), Furness, Allen, Davison (Jane 84), Harding, Estcourt (Bartrip 64), Chaplen, Potter.
Unused subs: Laws, Woodham, Harries.