Wokingham Today

Royals see the Blues after lead slips away


Chelsea Ladies 2 Reading Women 2

RACHEL FURNESS admitted there were mixed emotions as Reading picked up an impressive point at unbeaten league leaders Chelsea.

The pair shared the spoils in the reverse fixture back in October and the Royals ensured they would end the campaign without losing against the Blues after another 2-2 draw at Kingsmeado­w.

But it could have been so much better after going 2-0 up thanks to goals from Brooke Chaplen and Fara Williams, only for Jonna Andersson and Fran Kirby to find the net for Chelsea.

“We are obviously disappoint­ed to let the lead slip,” said midfielder Furness.

“Yes we have got a very good point away from home but we felt we gifted Chelsea the goals.

“We are disappoint­ed in ourselves but obviously we are happy to come away with a point.

“We can definitely compete with the top teams.

“It is about game management and we know ourselves we had five or 10 minute spells where we could have been better on the ball.

“We are improving every week so we will look at that moving forward.”

Having not played since February, Kelly Chambers made just one change from that team which beat Bristol

City as Natasha Harding filled in in an unfamiliar left-back role with Anna Green dropping to the bench.

And the deadlock was broken on 26 minutes after a moment of madness from Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert.

A deep Williams corner bounced all the way through to Jade Moore on the far side of the box and in a desperate attempt to clear the danger, Cuthbert swiped and connected with Moore’s stomach.

Referee Helen Byrne had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot and Chaplen made no mistake, sending Carly Telford the wrong way.

Kirby wasted a great chance to level the contest just before half-time, exchanging passes with Eni Aluko before blazing over the crossbar.

And that proved costly as the Royals came flying out of the traps after the restart.

Harding’s through ball deflected kindly into the path of Williams, who curled low from the edge of the box and found the bottom corner.

As one of just two sides to take points off Chelsea all season, Reading looked well-placed to become the first side to defeat them.

And that would have become even more likely had the visitors been awarded another penalty when Magdalena Eriksson appeared to have brought down Chaplen, but Byrne waved away the protests.

Just moments later, Chelsea had halved the deficit as Andersson swept in at the back post from Kirby’s cross.

Goalkeeper Mary Earps had to be alert to thwart both Cuthbert and

Kirby as the Blues turned the screw, but Reading were not without threat themselves with Lauren Bruton’s rising drive brilliantl­y tipped onto the bar by Telford.

And the game was levelled up 13 minutes from time when Kirby found space down the right and buried her one-on-one opportunit­y.

Seeking to extend their lead at the top of the table, Chelsea ended strongly with Earps tipping a Drew Spence header over the bar before the substitute then missed the target from close range.

Kirby was the next to fluff her lines, charging clean through but only managing to clip the ball into the arms of a grateful Earps.

There was drama right to the final whistle when a Chelsea free-kick deep into stoppage time was bundled in by Spence, but the referee ruled out the goal for a foul on Earps.

Reading were due back out last night against bottom side Yeovil Town, knowing victory would lift them into the top half of the table ahead of a tricky trip to Manchester City on Sunday (2pm).

READING: Earps, Rowe, Pearce (c), Potter, Harding, Allen, Moore, Furness, Williams, Bruton, Chaplen (Linnett 90).

Subs not used: Moloney, Gane, Green, Fletcher. Goals: Chaplen (pen) (26), Williams (47)

Yellow cards: Harding (44), Moore (81)

CHELSEA: Telford, Bright, Mjelde, Eriksson,

Davison (Blundell 59), Cuthbert, Chapman (c) (Thorisdott­ir 72), Ji, Andersson, Kirby, Aluko (Spence 61).

Subs not used: Lindahl, Flaherty, Rafferty, Bachmann.

Goals: Andersson (50), Kirby (77)

Yellow cards: Eriksson (17), Chapman (17)

Referee: Helen Byrne

Attendance: 1,652

 ?? Pictures: Neil Graham ?? Brooke Chaplen looks to outrun Millie Bright
Pictures: Neil Graham Brooke Chaplen looks to outrun Millie Bright
 ??  ?? Kirsty Pearce competes with Eni Aluko
Kirsty Pearce competes with Eni Aluko
 ??  ?? Mary Earps celebrates
Mary Earps celebrates
 ??  ?? Reading have not lost in two meetings with Chelsea this season
Reading have not lost in two meetings with Chelsea this season
 ??  ?? Fara Williams celebrates putting Reading 2-0 up
Fara Williams celebrates putting Reading 2-0 up
 ??  ?? Fara Williams is squeezed out
Fara Williams is squeezed out

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