#FAWSL 1: Reading Women rise to third

Reading captain Kirsty Pearce netted an acrobatic third goal for the Royals. (Photo: Joe Toth for FA)

Reading rode to an impressive 3-0 victory over Everton at a sweltering Adams Park.

Second half goals from Remi Allen, Lauren Bruton and skipper Kirsty Pearce secured the three points.

The triumph sent the Royals to third in the league, overtaking Birmingham, Liverpool and Arsenal to sit only four points behind second placed Manchester City.

Attendance: 263

KEY MOMENTS

Everton started the game strongly, pressing Reading into mistakes. Courtney Sweetman-Kirk almost put the Toffees ahead after just six minutes, latching on to a weak back pass by Rachel Furness, but her attempted chip was saved by Mary Earps.

It was a fiercely fought game with tackles flying in, and Natasha Harding, Brooke Chaplen and Fara Williams all having efforts saved by Kirstie Level.

On the stroke of half time, Reading almost broke the deadlock.

Bruton won a free-kick on the left wing, and rose highest from the resulting cross but her header hit the crossbar, meaning it remained goalless at the break.

Two minutes after the restart, Reading took the lead.

Rachel Rowe floated in a looping cross which Pearce headed against the bar, with Allen prodding home the rebound.

Reading started to dominate the game, but just before the hour mark Everton almost equalised after Chloe Kelly surged forward, only to see her effort parried by Earps.

Furness and Bruton then went close for the Royals, and Williams had two efforts saved by Levell in quick succession.

Reading doubled their lead with 15 minutes left after Bruton latched onto a Jo Potter through ball, rounding the keeper and slotting home.

GOAL OF THE MATCH

Reading’s third and final goal was the pick of the bunch as captain Pearce netted five minutes from time.

A corner from Potter was headed back into the danger zone by Furness, before Pearce acrobatically leaped into the air and volleyed the ball over her head into the net to seal the three points.

WHAT THEY SAID

Reading captain Kirsty Pearce said: “We’re feeling really positive after that.

“We were looking to bounce back after the result in midweek, but we set up really well, we’ve got three points and a clean sheet.

“The three points are the most important, although a goal and a clean sheet are great. It’s really positive and hopefully now we can finish the season on a high.

“At half time the coaches told us to remain positive. We knew we had to be patient, Everton were good in the first half, we knew how disciplined they would be so we just had to keep patient but we came out and scored three goals.

“We’ve worked hard in the week with our tap and play and it really came off for us. I thought the front three and their movement was brilliant, there aren’t many defences in the division that could cope with how they played today.”

Everton captain Danielle Turner said: “We’re really disappointed. I thought the first half was even.

“We should have taken the lead and maybe scored three or four chances. We certainly had the better of the chances, although they did hit the bar.

“But in the second half we never woke up. We didn’t come out and start playing straight away, and that’s really disappointing.

“We just didn’t wake up at all or for the rest of the game and that’s really disappointing.

“We know we’re better than that and it hurts. Credit to Reading, they have punished us and scored three goals but we are really disappointed with our performance – we should have played a lot better.”

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