Late strike seals Third Round winA late strike from Fran Kirby helped Reading FC Women progress to the Fourth Round of the FA Women's Cup at the expense of Millwall Lionesses.
The Royals came from behind to secure the victory, as Lauren Bruton equalised with a first half penalty before last season's top scorer Kirby scored a delightful late chip to win it.
New manager Jayne Ludlow gave Nicky Davies her debut in goal, resting Grace Moloney - who has been carrying a slight injury.
Reading were bright in attack but somewhat apprehensive at the back in the early stages, their normal passing patterns affected by the physical game adopted by their hosts.
Kirby and Bruton both had opportunities in the opening stages, but were not clinic enough.
Millwall took the lead against the run of play in the 29th minute when Lillie Bilson picked out Emma Whitter to head home from close range.
Reading continued to pressure the Millwall back line, and they eventually got the break they needed when Lauren Bruton was clearly tripped in the area on 41 minutes by Millwall’s Rutherford.
Bruton stepped up to slot the penalty home, coolly sending the keeper the wrong way moments before the half time whistle blew.
The second half saw Reading get into their stride, knocking the ball around well with their 4-2-3-1 formation clearly coming to the fore - though Millwall were resolute at the back, thwarting everything Reading threw at them.
Ludlow's ladies continued to exert their authority on Millwall, and had efforts via skipper Georgie Giddings, Kirsty McGee, Helen Ward, Lois Roche, Bruton and Kirby.
The manager freshened things up by introducing Melissa Fletcher who replaced Lois Roche on the right.
The game looked to be heading for extra time when on 82 minutes, Ward caused problems in the box and drew the Millwall keeper before laying the ball to Kirby on the edge of the area who chipped the ball over the keeper and into the far corner of the net.
Reading then kept the ball well and ran the clock down for a hard fought, well deserved FA Cup Third Round victory.
Reading: Davies, Jane, Cox, Keown, Grant, Giddings, McGee, Bruton, Kirby, Ward, Roche (Fletcher, 78).
Millwall: Quantrill, Perry, Lennon, Boyer, Kiobel, Cole, Rutherford, Lamb, Whitter, Stenning, Billson.