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