Reading FC Women were on the wrong side of a 3-1 score line at The Pure Stadium when Chloe Kelly opened the scoring for the Blues before a penalty from Fara Williams got the Royals back in the game. But Kelly struck twice more in the second half to complete her hat-trick and seal all 3 points for Everton.
Reading started strong down the left, with some nice link-up play between Captain Natasha Harding and Remi Allen. The Royals were the first to have a shot on target, just before the 10 minute mark, as Fara Williams held the ball up nicely and laid it off to Brooke Chaplen whose shot forced Everton keeper Alexandra Mciver to punch away for a corner.
The Royals broke moments later, directly from an Everton corner and Chaplen got a shot away again, but it took a deflection and was easily collected by Mciver.
It was the home side’s turn to break next as they drove into the Reading half down the right and a ball was played into Chloe Kelly, who tucked the ball away from close range to give Everton the lead on 11 minutes.
Reading began pressing and looking for the equaliser, but Everton continued to come, catching the Royals out with balls over the top down the right.
On the half hour mark, one of several attacking chances saw Reading break into the Everton box as Allen won the ball with a strong challenge and fed it into Amalia Eikeland. Eikeland put the ball though to Angharad James, who was brought down in the box and the referee pointed to the spot.
Williams stepped up and there was no doubt in any minds that she was going to convert the spot-kick. She blasted the ball to Maciver’s right, rippling the back of the net and levelling the score.
The remainder of the first half was spent in the middle of the park without too much separating the two sides.
Half time: Arsenal Women 1 - 1 Reading FC Women
With no changes at half-time, Reading looked to gain the upper-hand early, but after the game settled, Everton had the better of the early play, eventually forcing a corner. Kelly’s corner managed to evade everyone and sailed into the Reading net for her second and to put Everton back on top.
Everton continued to press and on 65 minutes, Captain Lucy Graham teased a ball into the box, which was tapped in by Kelly to complete her hat-trick.
Reading made all three changes within the next five minutes as Maz Pacheco, Millie Farrow and Lisa-Marie Utland came on for Rachel Rowe, Eikeland and Williams, respectively, as they looked to get something from the game, but it wasn’t Reading’s day and a scrappy Everton saw out the rest of the game to seal all 3 points.
Full time: Everton Women 3 –1 Reading FC Women
Everton Women: Maciver, Turner, George, Boye-Hlorkah (Cain), Magill, Kelly, Stringer (Pike), Morgan, Graham, Finnigan, Clemaron
Substitutes not used: Levell, Korpela, Hinds, Van Es, Kaagman
Goals: Kelly (11’, 58’, 65’)
Yellow Cards: Stringer
Reading FC Women: Laws, Williams (Utland 71’), Bartrip, James, Allen, Eikeland (Farrow 68’), Harding, Moore, Chaplen, Potter, Rowe (Pacheco 66’)
Substitutes not used: Pacheco, Farrow, Utland, Bennink, Howard, Stewart
Yellow Cards: Allen (81’)
Goals: Williams (31’)