A wholly successful season for Reading FC Women ended with an entertaining defeat, as Chelsea Women took a 3-2 win at Adams Park.
It wasn’t a result that made any difference to the Royals’ standing in the Women’s Super League table, as fifth place was confirmed before kick-off. But a win for the visitors ensured they would pip Birmingham City to third.
Chelsea looked sharp in the early exchanges and within five minutes they had the lead; Ji So-Yun’s deflected effort from inside the area resulted in the first goal of the game.
Jade Moore and Fara Williams both shot off target as they looked for a response, and former Royal Fran Kirby sent in a dangerous delivery which Maz Pacheco defended well as the margin remained at one.
Becky Jane came on as a sub at the break for her final appearance in a Reading shirt – that allowed Tash Harding to push further upfield. And it had the desired effect, as within minutes of the restart Harding latched on to Williams’ clipped ball over the defence to slot beyond Hervig Lindahl for her first Royals goal.
Parity was short-lived for the Royals; having worked hard to get level, they again trailed through a bit of luck for Chelsea as Karen Carney’s overhit cross looped into the far corner.
But almost directly from kick-off Reading were level again. A quick move forward by Reading saw Harding chip past Lindahl but onto the crossbar, but it was Williams who reacted quickest to stab in from close range.
The winner came on the hour as over-playing was punished; a short back-pass in the box was cut out by Bethany England, who poked instinctively past Grace Moloney.
Reading’s best attempt at a leveller came when Player of the Season Rachel Furness met Pacheco’s cross, but it was straight at the goalkeeper.
Full-time: Reading FC Women 2-3 Chelsea FC Women
Reading FC Women: Moloney; Pacheco, Williams, Pearce, Furness, Allen, Bruton, Harding, Farrow (Jane HT), Moore, Howard.
Unused subs: Davison, Estcourt, Woodham, Laws
Goals: Harding (49), Williams (52).
Chelsea FC Women: Lindahl; Bright, Ingle, Carney, Ji, Kirby, England, Eriksson (Thorisdottir), Mjelde, Andersson (Blundell), Cuthbert (Engman).
Unused subs: Carter, Bachmann, Spence, Telford.
Goals: Ji (3) Carney (51) England (60).