Reading FC Women were bested 3-0 at Chigwell Construction Stadium at the hands of West Ham in the second group game of the Continental Cup.
A first-half goal from Alisha Lehmann, second-half strikes from Emily Van Egmond and Rachel Daley, and a penalty miss in each half for Reading’s Lauren Bruton and Danielle Carter completed a a disappointing evening for the Royals.
There was early pressure from the Royals as they look to get off the mark straight from kick-off. The game was just two minutes old when Reading won their first corner, which was swung in from the right by Emma Mitchell, but met at the front post by West Ham keeper McKenzie Arnold.
The first attempt on goal came five minutes later when Jess Fishlock unleashed a shot from 25 yards, which sailed just wide of the West Ham net.
Reading got forward and threatened through Danielle Carter and Lauren Bruton, and it was one of these attacks that caused West Ham to break and find Alisha Lehman in space to slot past Erin Nayler and give the home side the lead on 14 minutes.
Reading kept the pressure on and consistently broke through into the home side’s box, but on two occasions when Amalie Eikeland put Bruton through, she was just unable to hit the target.
Just after the half-hour mark, Emma Mitchell was brought down in the box and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Bruton stepped up and placed the ball to Arnold’s right, but the West Ham keeper dived the correct way and palmed the spot-kick away to deny the Royals their equaliser.
A pair of fouls on Carter and Fishlock halted play for a few minutes, but Reading were unable to get the equaliser before the referee blew for half-time.
Half time: West Ham United Women 1-0 Reading FC Women
The second-half was to be more significant for the Royals, but not for the right reasons. West Ham had more of the ball, but Reading came out strong and were attacking from the get-go. Unfortunately, following a fantastic run from Eikeland that cut right through the middle of the West Ham defence before she fired a shot just over the bar, West Ham broke and scored again. Very much like their first goal, they hit Reading on the break and switched the play to the other end of the field, where Emily Van Egmond was able to slot the ball past Nayler.
Once again, Mitchell was brought down and Reading awarded a penalty. This time, Carter stepped up, but her shot was just wide of the West Ham goal.
Things worsened as West Ham scored their third, through Rachel Daley, who was in the right place at the right time and placed the ball into the back of the net.
Reading couldn’t really get a foothold in the game and it became a little scrappy in the middle of the park as they looked for a comeback akin to the infamous come-from-behind victory against West Ham last season, but alas, it was too much of a task and Reading left Dagenham with the loss.
Full time: West Ham United Women 3-0 Reading FC Women
West Ham United Women:
Arnold, Joel (Leon 59’), Flaherty, Fisk, Vetterlein, Van Egmond, Cho, Svitkova (Longhurst ’80), Daly, Thomas (Nor 69’), Lehmann (Kiernan 80’)
Substitutes not used: Brosnan, Redisch, Cissoko, Grant, Dali
Goals: Lehmann (14’), Van Egmond (52’), Daley (58’)
Reading FC Women:
Nayler, Mitchell, Cooper, Harding, Bartrip (Leine 64’), Fishlock, James, Rowe (Harries 72’), Eikeland, Carter, Bruton (Chaplen 61’)
Substitutes not used: Woodham, Skeels, Childerhouse, Quirk, Jeon