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Kick off 14:00 (UK)

10 January 2021 Venue Madejski Stadium Attendance

Kick off 14:00 (UK)

Reading Women
0 - 5
Chelsea Women

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Match Previews

🔜 Preview | Royals welcome Chelsea women to kickstart 2021

Reading FC Women take on champions at Madejski on Sunday

8 January 2021

Reading FC Women begin the New Year against reigning FA Women’s Super League champions Chelsea, who visit RG2 on Sunday.

Chambers’ side have had a slightly inconsistent start to the season, despite performing consistently on the field throughout. Three wins, three losses and four draws sees the Royals sitting in 6th place in the league, just a point behind Everton. Standout performances have come in the form of a 1-1- draw against last season’s runners-up Manchester City, as well as impressive 3-1 victories against Aston Villa and – in their final match of 2020 – Brighton & Hove Albion. Even in draws to Tottenham, Everton and Bristol City, Chambers’ side had the better chances, dominated play throughout and deserved to walk away with more than the shared points.

The Visitors

Current champions Chelsea have started the 2020-21 season in solid form. They are currently unbeaten and have two games in hand on Manchester United and Arsenal. The only points Emma Hayes’ side have dropped have been in 1-1 away draws against those two sides currently above them in the table. Ten different players have contributed to Chelsea’s 23 league goals that have come from just eight outings. Nine of those came against Bristol City with nine different players appearing on the score sheet that afternoon. Sam Kerr, current captain of the Australian national side, leads the way with 7 Women’s Super League goals to date.

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Perhaps the best-known recent addition to the Chelsea squad is 28-year-old Pernille Harder who became the world’s most expensive female footballer after signing from Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg. Harder is captain of the Denmark national side for whom she has made some 123 appearances scoring 64 goals. She won the UEFA Women's Player of the Year Award in both 2018 and 2020. Additionally, joining from Bayern Munich, midfielder Melanie Leupolz has 70 caps for Germany with 11 goals. Another midfielder, 22-year-old Jessie Fleming, has 77 caps for Canada making her full international debut aged just 15 years old. Finally, Chelsea recently brought in Sweden goalkeeper Zecira Musovic on a two-and-a-half year deal. Previously with FC Rosengard, the 24-year old is a full Swedish international.

Pernille Harder RS.jpg

Previous encounters

Reading took on Chelsea twice last season; once in the group stages of the Continental Cup in December and once a few weeks later in the league. Reading needed a win to top Group D, but a draw would have been good enough to qualify in second place just behind Chelsea, unless West Ham could beat Crystal Palace by 9 goals. The Royals decided not to leave anything up to chance and put on a solid display against Emma Hayes’ Chelsea. Jo Potter scored from a free-kick on the quarter-of-an-hour mark, before chances were had at either end of the pitch before half-time. Former Reading keeper Rachel Laws pulled off some fantastic saves for the Royals, but Chelsea managed to get the equaliser with 25 minutes of the game remaining with a fantastic long-range effort from a familiar face in the now Reading defender Deanna Cooper. The full-time result was 1-1 and the game went onto penalties to determine who would take an additional point. As West Ham were several goals up against Palace – eventually going on to win 7-0 – Reading went on to put qualification in their own hands and win 4-2 on penalties. Royals’ scorers came in the form of Fara Williams, Brooke Chaplen, Millie Farrow and Remi Allen. Rachel Laws first denied Beth England by tipping her shot onto the post and then goalscorer Cooper whose spot kick she saved to guarantee victory in the shootout and qualification to the Quarter-Finals of the Continental Cup.

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The WSL meeting between the clubs last season took place at Kingsmeadow on Jan 5th, 2020. It was looking good for the Royals when Fara Williams gave them the lead on the quarter hour mark. Grace Moloney’s red card though shortly afterwards made it an uphill battle and the home side took advantage with strikes from Beth England, Guro Reiten and Erin Cuthbert securing them a 3-1 victory. The last two WSL meetings at Adams Park were both closely fought encounters. In season 2017-18 a last minute own goal by the visitors’ Magdalena Eriksson tied up an eventful game at 2-2. Remi Allen had given Kelly Chambers’ side the lead, but the Londoners had replied through Karen Carney and Eniola Aluko. That season’s fixture at Kingsmeadow also ended 2-2. A Brooke Chaplen penalty and a Fara Williams goal had put the Royals in the ascendancy only for second half goals from Jonna Andersson and former Reading star Fran Kirby to salvage a point for Emma Hayes’ side. At Adams Park in 2018-19 both Natasha Harding and Fara Williams were on target for the Royals but a late strike from Beth England earned Chelsea a 3-2 victory. That season a solitary Ji So-Yun goal separated the sides in the meeting at Kingsmeadow.


Reading FC Women v Chelsea Women | Sunday 10th January | 2pm | Madejski Stadium | Watch Live on the FA Player


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Match Reports

📝 Report | Reading fall to champions Chelsea

Blues too much for Royals at Madejski

10 January 2021

A quartet of goals from former Royal Fran Kirby and a late strike from substitute Ji So-yun saw reigning champions walk away from RG2 with a 5-0 win to kick-start the new year.

Both sides had early opportunities as they pushed forward. Reading had some nice link-up play between Deanna Cooper, Kristine Leine and Fara Williams to almost get captain Natasha Harding through on goal. Moments later Emma Harries felt she was fouled in the box as the Royals appealed a penalty, but the referee waved it away.

At the other end, Sam Kerr managed to get a close-range shot on goal, but Royals keeper Grace Moloney stopped the ball perfectly, only for the offside flag to be raised anyway.

The deadlock was lifted just after the quarter-hour mark as former Royal Fran Kirby got on the end of a long-ball nodded onto her by Kerr and found herself in acres of space. She went around Moloney and slotted into the net to open the scoring for the visitors.

Reading tried to keep possession and slow the pace of the game around, forcing a corner a few minutes after the opening goal, but Chelsea broke through the middle again, through Kirby, who once again slotted past Moloney to double her and Chelsea’s tally.

Both sides saw out the remained of the first half battling it out in the middle of the park, until Chelsea won a free-kick at 30 yards on the 45th minute. It was floated in to the back post, where Kerr managed to keep it in and touch the ball back in for Kirby to nod in her third and complete the perfect first-half hat-trick.

Half time: Reading FC Women 0 – 3 Chelsea Women

Chelsea began the second-half as they ended the first, leaving Jess Fishlock to make an incredibly well-timed challenge to take the ball away from under Fran Kirby’s feet, as the striker was in front of goal and looking for number four.

The second-half was less than ten minutes old when Kirby did indeed net number four, however, again from a header, as she converted from a corner from Guro Reiten.

The substitutions began coming in thick-and-fast as both sides looked to implement their game plans through fresh sets of legs. Reading made the more attacking of changes, throwing Lauren Bruton, Rachel Rowe and Danielle Carter on the field, while Molly Bartrip replaced Lily Woodham who took a knock.

Despite their attacking output slowing considerably, The Blues were able to net number five and it was surprisingly a player other than Fran Kirby. A looping cross came into the Reading box and found its way to substitute Ji So-yun, who took a touch before finishing coolly to complete a great afternoon in RG2 for the reigning champions.

Full time: Reading FC Women 0 – 5 Chelsea Women

Reading FC Women: Moloney, Leine, Cooper, Mitchell, Woodham (Bartrip 74’), Fishlock, James, Williams (Rowe 60’), Eikeland, Harries (Bruton 46’), Harding

Substitutes not used: Stewart, Skeels, Roberts, Carter

Yellow cards: Williams (45’), Moloney (45’)


Chelsea Women: Berger, Bright, Ingle, Leupolz, Reiten (Fleming 63’), Kirby, Mjelde, Kerr (England 63’), Charles (Harder 72’), Cuthbert (Ji 63’), Andersson (Eriksson 72’)

Substitutes not used: Blundell, Telford

Goals: Kirby (16, 23, 45, 53) Ji (86’)


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