Reading FC Women bowed out of the Continental Tyres Cup at the Quarter-Final stage on a bitterly cold night at Kingsmeadow, with former Royal Fran Kirby starring with a brace as hosts Chelsea ran away 4-0 victors.
Anita Asante and Ali Riley added the other two for the hosts, who progress to the final four of the competition, while the result spelled the end of the Royals’ involvement for this season.
Chelsea’s lead was established as early as the third minute when Maz Pacheco’s sliding challenge fell rather unfortunately into Kirby’s path, allowing her to slot past Grace Moloney to give the hosts the advantage.
Reading gained a foothold, but nearly fell foul of a counter when Kirby drove downfield and teed up Bethany England, who drew a near-post stop from Moloney. And then the Royals were denied an equaliser as Pacheco’s corner was met by Remi Allen’s head – straight at goalie Carly Telford.
However Chelsea struck the game’s second, doubling their advantage before half-time as Asante was played through and finished well across goal.
With a second half reaction needed, Reading weren't far away from halving the deficit but Brooke Chaplen’s header was off target following some excellent link-up play down the left.
But Chelsea’s pressure told in the final stages; Kirby added the third three minutes from time as she struck a fierce shot into the far corner from the right side of the penalty box, and then a win was then sealed by Riley, capping off another devastating break by tucking the ball home into the opposite corner.
After the game, Royals manager Kelly Chambers said: “It's really disappointing to lose, and lose by that many. But, I think if people saw the game, in the second half, we controlled the game, and controlled the possession. We had chances, but didn't take them.”
Full-time: Chelsea FC Women 4-0 Reading FC Women
Chelsea FC Women: Telford, Bright (c), Ingle, Asante, Carter, Riley, Kirby, England (Bachmann 78), Eriksson, Cooper, Cuthbert (Ji 81).
Unused subs: Lindahl, Blundell, Carney, Engman, Andersson.
Goals: Kirby (3, 87), Asante (38), Riley (90).
Reading FC Women: Moloney, Pacheco, Williams, Bartrip, Furness, Allen, Bruton (Jane 74), Harding (c), Moore (Potter 67), Chaplen, Woodham (Farrow 75).
Unused subs: Pearce, Davison, Estcourt, Kite.
Referee: Abigail Marriott