Chelsea Ladies dropped their first points of the season as Reading Women dramatically grabbed a last minute equaliser at Adams Park. In what was an end to end game with great chances for both teams, a point looks like a fair result.
Emma Hayes surprisingly kept the changes to her starting line up down to a minimum from the midweek Champions League game. In came Gemma Davison, Drew Spence and Karen Carney in the only three changes to the side. Karen Carney played in the hole behind the front pairing of Fran Kirby and Drew Spence as Chelsea lined up in a 3-4-1-2 formation.
The game started with Reading on the back foot and they could have found themselves behind after only seven minutes; Fran Kirby found herself one on one with the keeper but couldn’t find a finish to score against her former and hometown team. Chelsea continued to control possession but could only create half chances. Their inefficiency in front of goal cost them as Reading found the opening goal of the game 10 minutes before half time. Chelsea failed to clear their lines after a cross into the box. This led to a goal mouth scramble, Fara Williams craftily back heeled the ball into the path of Remi Allen and she finished easily in front of goal.
Chelsea experienced the novelty of conceding and being behind in a league game for the first time this season and were expected to respond. In to the second half, Chelsea came out with a renewed impetus and were quickly back on level terms. Karen Carney expertly dispatched a free kick over the wall and into the bottom corner from 20 yards out. In keeping with the even nature of the contest, Fara Williams found herself standing over a free kick for Reading from 25 yards out. Unfortunately for her, her effort cannoned back off the post; Hedvig Lindahl could only watch as the ball flew past her.
With 15 minutes remaining in the game, Chelsea thought they had clinched a hard-fought win. Substitute Eniola Aluko superbly smashing the ball into the net from the centre of the area after good work down the right from Gemma Davison and Fran Kirby. Reading pushed for an equaliser but to no avail as Lindahl kept them at bay. In to stoppage time, Reading had a free kick launched into the box. Cruelly, Magdalena Eriksson got her head to the ball first but the ball inadvertently floated behind her and looped into her own net.
Reading extended their unbeaten run to six games and became the first team to take points from Chelsea this season in what was a fantastic performance from The Royals. To compound things for Chelsea, conceding that last minute equaliser means they no longer top the WSL 1 table as Man City maintained their 100% record and move into first place. Attention for Chelsea now turns to Wednesday’s Champions League second leg in which they hold a three goal lead.
Player of the Match: Fara Williams (Reading) – The legendary striker was a threat to Chelsea’s back line throughout the match and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet with her long-range efforts. She did grab an assist though with a clever back heel.