Reading FC Women have drawn Arsenal in the Quarter-Final of the Continental Cup, with the match being played at Meadow Park on the 15th or 16th of January.
Having qualified from Group D in second place and unable to draw Chelsea who qualified from the group in the top spot, Kelly Chambers’ Reading knew they would play either Arsenal, Manchester United or Sheffield United. The Royals were handed arguably the most difficult task of all Conti Cup quarter-finalists, having to travel to Meadow Park in mid-January to take on the team that sits at the top of the WSL going into the Christmas break.
Reading opened their Continental Cup campaign back in September when they travelled to The Hive to take on Tottenham in the opening fixture. A strong all-round team performance with two goals from Brooke Chaplen, one from Millie Farrow and an own goal from Ashleigh Neville saw Reading dominate Spurs 4-0 away from home to go straight to the top of Group D.
The Madejski Stadium hosted the next Conti Cup fixture, as the Royals took on Championship side Lewes in late October. A Fara Williams hat-trick saw Reading take all 3 points against a gutsy Lewes side in a well contested 3-2 victory.
RG2 was the stage once again a fortnight later as Reading had a frustrating afternoon at Madejski against West Ham, which saw them fail to capitalise on a barrage of chances, eventually falling the wrong side of a 1-0 scoreline, for their first loss in the competition.
The trio of Continental Cup fixtures at the Mad Stad was completed in style with an all-Norwegian scoresheet, as Lisa-Marie Utland netted 5 times and her fellow international teammate Kristine Leine scored her debut goal as Reading dominated Crystal Palace 6-0.
Reading needed a win to top Group D when they travelled to Kingsmeadow to take on Chelsea last week on the final day of the group stages, but a draw would be good enough to qualify in second place, with Chelsea top, unless West Ham could beat Crystal Palace by 9 goals. Kelly Chambers’ Royals decided not to leave anything up to chance and put on a solid display against Chelsea, with Jo Potter putting them ahead from a free-kick on the quarter-of-an-hour mark, with several chances had at either end of the pitch before half-time. Rachel Laws pulled off some fantastic saves for the Royals, but Chelsea managed to get the equaliser with 25 minutes of the game left with a fantastic long-range effort from 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 2-4 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.
Now, with Quarter-Final opponents determined, Kelly Chambers' side will have the chance to improve on their December 8th 3-0 loss at Adams Park to Joe Montemurro's Arsenal, a game which provided many positives for Manager Kelly Chambers. Reading stopped Arsenal playing the sort of football and creating the kind of chances they had being doing prior to the game, and in the second-half Arsenal were on the back-foot as Reading pressed them high and stopped them from getting out of their own half.