Reading FC Women and fellow WSL side Tottenham put on an entertaining 5 goal, 120-minute thriller at Madejski that saw the Royals sadly bow out of the FA Cup graciously due to an Extra Time winner from the visiting side.
The last time the two sides met was several weeks before and the result was a goalless draw, but it was clear from the early frenetic pace, that both teams were eager to get on the scoresheet.
So-Hyun Cho went close for the visitors, but her long range effort clipped the top of Grace Moloney’s bar.
The side’s went from end-to-end until Reading broke the deadlock; Fara Williams delivering a classic strike from her repertoire to ripple the Tottenham net and put the Royals ahead on twelve minutes.
Williams was on duty at the other end of the pitch several minutes later, making a crucial challenge to thwart a Tottenham attempt on goal.
However, Tottenham were to equalise but not from open-play, as Alana Kennedy converted a free-kick, placing the ball perfectly to Moloney’s left to level the score midway through the first half.
The pace of the game didn’t die down, as the goals had given both sides a taste for attack, and Angharad James had a shot pull just wide of the Tottenham post, while Spurs’ Rachel Williams found herself in on goal, but couldn’t keep her shot down and the ball sailed over the Reading bar.
Despite a chance from Kennedy to get on the scoresheet again as her first-time shot rose over the bar and out for a goal-kick, both sides went into the break on level pegging.
Half-time: Reading FC Women 1 – 1 Tottenham Hotspur Women
Just two minutes into the second-half and it was evident that there had been no letting-up on the pace, as Tottenham went ahead for the first time in the game through Williams. She received the ball on the edge of the Royals’ area and picked her spot perfectly, sending the ball looping over Moloney and into the Reading net.
The Royals were quick to counter, however, as a minute after conceding, Rachel Rowe powered through into the Tottenham box and slotted the ball to Rebecca Spencer’s left to level the score.
Free-kicks in dangerous positions were had at each end; Kennedy’s was high and flew over the bar, whereas Williams’ was low, going under the Spurs wall, only to be cut out by the visiting defence.
Royals keeper Moloney made an important sliding save at the other end of the pitch, intercepting the ball before Rianna Dean did, taking a knock that required some brief medical attention in the process.
It was defender Lily Woodham’s turn to make an important save, as her goal-line block denied Tottenham for taking the lead for a second time as the final fifteen minutes approached. Moloney’s ecstatic embrace of her afterwards was testament to its importance.
Eventually, the clock ran down with both sides unable to add to the scoreboard, leading the game to go to Extra Time.
Full-time: Reading FC Women 2 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur Women
Extra Time began as the second-half did, with Tottenham scoring early. Just three minutes had gone when Jessica Naz galloped towards the Reading goal and the approaching Moloney, but she kept her cool, calmly slotting the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal to yet again put Tottenham ahead.
Reading weren’t able to offer a swift reply as Rowe had in the second-half, but they attempted to turn up the pressure once again. However fatigue seemed to be setting in for both sides as the first period of Extra Time ended.
Reading had a renewed urgency in the final fifteen minutes as they tried to get Harries and Williams in behind the Tottenham backline. The Royals kept a high line and threw everything and every player behind the ball, but unfortunately the goal that would have taken the tie to penalties never came and Reading’s FA Cup campaign was brought to a disappointing end.
Full-time (AET): Reading FC Women 2 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur Women
Reading FC Women: Moloney, Bartrip, Cooper, Woodham, Roberts, Rowe, Harding (Leine 85’), James, Williams, Carter (Eikeland 70’), Harries.
Substitutes not used: Nayler, Childerhouse, Jeon, Flores.
Goals: Williams (12’), Rowe (49’)
Tottenham Hotspur Women: Spencer, Williams, Dean (Addison 71’), Kennedy, Cho, Harrop (Green 103’), Morgan (Neville 91’), Naz (Worm 103’), Zadorsky, McManus, Graham.
Substitutes not used: Mikelsen, Godfrey, Davison.
Goals: Kennedy (20’), Williams (48’), Naz (93’)
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