Semis beckon for Royals
Everton Ladies 1 Reading Women 1 (Reading win 4-3 on pens.)
KIRSTY LINNETT was the hero as Reading Women beat Everton Ladies on penalties to book their spot in the Continental Tyres Cup semi-finals.
Linnett has struggled for goals this season for the Royals, but she produced when it really mattered, coming off the bench to lash home from 25 yards.
After a goalless 90 minutes this strike in extra time looked like being enough, only for Everton to equalise in the 112th minute through Chloe Kelly.
The game moved to a shoot-out and while Lauren Bruton missed, with Brooke Chaplen, Mel Fletcher and Remi Allen all scoring and Grace Moloney saving two kicks from the hosts, all eyes turned to Linnett.
The striker stepped up and tucked home her spot kick to send Kelly Chambers’ side into the last four where they will play Arsenal at Adams Park in January.
“I had a knock in the week so had not trained in the few days before the match,” explained Linnett.
“They put me on pretty early so it was nice to get on and gave me time to get into the game and I got my rewards.
“I normally take the first penalty, but this time I was asked to go fifth and I was happy about that.”
Chambers made just one change from the side which beat Millwall 5-0 last time out with Harriet Scott replacing Molly Bartrip in defence.
And Reading started well in Merseyside with Fara Williams going close while at the other end Courtney Sweetman-Kirk failed to convert.
Allen looked to have given Royals the lead as she tried to bundle in, but referee Benjamin Speedie deemed the ball to have not crossed the line.
Jo Potter also went close to sealing a winner in normal time but the game needed an extra 30 minutes.
Linnett then struck four minutes after the restart, lashing high into the net from outside the box for just her second goal of the season.
But Kelly levelled up towards the end of extra time, tucking home from close range to send the game to spot kicks where Moloney and Linnett ensured progression to the last four.
“We didn’t perform very well,” said manager Chambers.
“I’m just glad we’ve managed to grind out a result even if it’s through penalties.
“It just shows the character we have in our team and making sure we’re in a semifinal.”
Reading now take a break from action until hosting Manchester City in WSL 1 on January 7.
READING: Moloney, Jane, Scott (A. Green 76), Pearce (c) (Fletcher 119), Potter (van den Berg 90), Furness, Williams (Linnett 72), Rowe, Allen, Bruton, Chaplen.
Subs not used: Earps, Clifford.
Goal: Linnett (94)
Yellow cards: Bruton (26), Williams (56)
Pens: Chaplen (scored), Fletcher (scored), Bruton (missed), Allen (scored), Linnett (scored)
EVERTON: Levell, Boye-Hlorkah, Worm, Brougham, George, James, Brett, Turner (c), Magill (M. Green 102), Kelly, Sweetman-Kirk. Subs not used: Durack, Munsterman, Doyle, Chance, Bryson, Hughes. Goal: Kelly (112)
Yellow card: Kelly (97) Pens: Kelly (missed), Sweetman-Kirk (scored), Green (scored), Turner (missed), Boye-Hlorkah (scored)
Referee: Benjamin Speedie Attendance: 155
Kirsty Linnett helped Reading beat Everton on penalties.