Kelly Chambers’ Royals were on the losing end of a back-and-forth game at Kingsmeadow, scoring first through Fara Williams before goalkeeper Grace Moloney was dismissed for a challenge on woman of the moment Sam Kerr. Reading fought valiantly, but the numbers advantage against a side like Chelsea was too much and the blues equalised before half-time and netted twice again in the second half to seal victory as their hunt for the WSL title continues.
There was an early chance for Chelsea's new signing Sam Kerr, who got free from the Reading defence with just 2 minutes on the clock, but her shot was high and soared above Grace Moloney’s bar.
A chance for Reading came just before the 10 minute mark as Maz Pacheco won a strong header and the ball flew through to Brooke Chaplen, who got a shot away, but it was collected by Ann-Katrin Berger.
The scoring was opened at the quarter-of-an-hour mark as Rachel Rowe’s longball found it’s way into the box and was chested down by Chaplen into the path of Fara Williams, who powered the ball away to give the Royals the lead.
Moments later, Grace Moloney came off her goal-line and collided with Kerr, being shown a straight red card by referee Stacey Pearson. Play was halted for several minutes while Kerr was seen by medical staff and Chaplen made way for goalkeeper Rachel Laws.
Laws had an incredible game at Kingsmeadow 3 weeks ago and was called into action straight away, denying Beth England and later Kerr with two fantastic saves, to keep Reading in front.
The goal, however, did come for the home-side after a clever backheel from Kerr to put England in front of goal and she slotted the ball away to Laws’ left to bring the score level going into half-time.
Half time: Chelsea FC Women 1 – 1 Reading FC Women
There was a slower start to the second half, as both teams looked to impose their will in the middle of the park.
Before the hour mark, there were crazy scenes on the Reading goal-line as the Royals resiliently managed to keep the ball out in a frenzied goalmouth scramble, the final touch coming from Laws, who went down following the melee and had to receive medical attention.
Laws pulled off another fantastic save as Kerr went one-on-one in front of goal, but the ball fell to Guro Reiten who volleyed into the net, over Laws' head to put Chelsea in front for the first time in the game.
Reading struggled to get the ball moving forward for a period and the home side capitalised as a move from the left brought an instinctive save from Laws again, but the ball fell to the feet of Erin Cuthbert to tap in from close range to give Chelsea their third of the afternoon, sealing three points.
Full time: Chelsea FC Women 3-1 Reading FC Women
Chelsea FC Women: Berger, Bright, Ingle (Cuthbert 63), England, So-Yun, Reiten, Eriksson, Mjelde, Kerr (Blundell 77), Spence, Andresson.
Unused subs: Orman, Carter, Cooper, Cuthbert, Napier, Murphy.
Goals: England (40), Reiten (65), Cuthbert (75).
Reading FC Women: Moloney, Pacheco, Williams (Harding 70), James (Farrow 82), Allen, Eikeland, Moore, Chaplen (Laws 18), Potter, Rowe, Howard.
Unused subs: Bartrip, Utland, Bennink, Skeels.
Goal: Williams (15).