Re­lent­less Read­ing are history mak­ers

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Thomas McIl­roy

READ­ING made history last week­end, be­com­ing the first-ever WSL 2 side to reach the quar­ter-fi­nals of the FA WSL Con­ti­nen­tal Tyres Cup.

The Roy­als fin­ished as one of the best third­placed teams, end­ing up on nine points in Group One af­ter a 3-1 vic­tory over Wat­ford.

The visi­tors were 2-0 up in the first ten min­utes, thanks to goals from Laura May Walk­ley and Bianca Bragg.

The hosts pulled a goal back be­fore half-time through Sta­cie Don­nelly and could have equalised early in the sec­ond half, but Emily Heaslip blazed her penalty over the bar.

Emma Fol­lis made Wat­ford pay in the 49th minute, be­fore Lois Roche was sent off late on.

Striker Bragg said: “It’s some­thing that we’ve never achieved be­fore, so it’s a great step for Read­ing.

“We’re just happy to have got through.”

Read­ing’s group was topped by Ar­se­nal, who fin­ished with a 100 per cent record af­ter beat­ing Mill­wall Lionesses 4-0, while Chelsea came sec­ond af­ter an 8-0 de­mo­li­tion of Lon­don Bees.

Sun­der­land be­came the only WSL 1 side not to qual­ify for the quar­ter-fi­nals, los­ing 3-2 to Don­caster Rovers Belles.

The WSL2 lead­ers also failed to progress, de­spite fin­ish­ing third in Group Two on nine points, due to an in­fe­rior goal dif­fer­ence.

But striker Court­ney Sweet­man-Kirk in­sists con­fi­dence is still high in the camp as they push for pro­mo­tion.

She said: “There is def­i­nitely a quiet con­fi­dence in the camp. We know if we play our game, like we have here, we can beat any­one on the day.”

Ever­ton got their first vic­tory in the tour­na­ment this sea­son, beat­ing Durham 2-0.

Cur­rent hold­ers Manch­ester City main­tained their win­ning record in Group Two, beat­ing Liver­pool 2-0, who fin­ished sec­ond and also progress.

Toni Dug­gan and Iso­bel Chris­tiansen, both left, scored in ei­ther half as City made it 11 games un­beaten in all com­pe­ti­tions.

And man­ager Nick Cush­ing said: “We want to dom­i­nate the ball, we want to play an at­trac­tive style of football and we haven’t changed that in any games we’ve played.”

Ellen White scored a brace as FA Cup run­ners-up Notts County’s 5-0 vic­tory over Yeovil en­sured they won ev­ery match in the group stage.

The game marked de­fender Fern Whe­lan’s re­turn to the start­ing line-up af­ter a frus­trat­ing few in­jury-filled months.

Birm­ing­ham City fin­ished sec­ond in Group Three af­ter their 2-0 vic­tory at Bristol Academy, who also qual­i­fied as one of the best third-placed teams.

Ox­ford fin­ished their cup cam­paign with­out a sin­gle point af­ter their 3-1 loss to As­ton Villa.

The quar­ter-fi­nal draw will see two of the group win­ners, Ar­se­nal and Manch­ester City, face each other, while Read­ing’s re­ward is a trip to Notts County.

FA Cup win­ners Chelsea will travel to Birm­ing­ham, while Bristol Academy will en­ter­tain Liver­pool.

PIC­TURE: The FA

READ ‘EM AND WEEP: Read­ing are through to the quar­ter-fi­nals of the Cup, where they will travel to Notts County

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