Women's Sports: Reading pull off late comeback while Chelsea run rampant at the top of the table

Birmingham City v Chelsea - Barclays FA Women's Super League

Over the weekend the Barclays Women’s Super League commenced on its seventh week of action following a successful inaugural ‘Women’s Football Weekend’.

Chelsea travelled to Birmingham in a bid to extend their lead at the top of the table while not far behind them Arsenal welcomed Liverpool as Manchester City travelled to Bristol with the aim of keeping the gap to just the one point. Elsewhere, Manchester United hosted Brighton, Spurs travelled to Everton and West Ham went head-to-head with Reading. 

Reading leave it late

Despite goals galore in multiple fixtures across the WSL on Sunday, West Ham versus Reading was arguably the most entertaining fixture of the afternoon with the former blowing a 2-0 lead in the last 15 minutes of the game.

Reading conceded an indirect free-kick just four minutes into the game when Moloney picked up Williams’ pass to her, the referee deeming it a pass back.

Just inside the area, West Ham was presented with the opportunity to go ahead early on and it was seized, Dali laying the ball off to Baunach who fired home into the roof of the net.

Both sides enjoyed their fair share of possession and opportunities, but it looked as though the game might get away from Reading just minutes before the end of the half when Rachel Rowe was shown a red card following an aggressive push against Kvamme.

As well as being down to 10, Reading found themselves down two goals after Kiernan came out on top of a scramble in the box to deliver what looked to be the final blow in this game with 25 minutes to go.

Reading’s incredible comeback began just 15 minutes from the end when Leine reacted quickest on the goal-line to poke home the ball into the box.

Just under two minutes later Reading pulled another goal back to equalise the score as Williams played through Chaplen, the latter firing across goal and into the bottom corner.

Within eight minutes Reading’s inspired comeback was complete as West Ham conceded from yet another set-piece, this time it was Moore who reacted quickest to fire beyond Moorhouse to secure the three points.

Reading’s undoing of West Ham in the final 15 minutes see them move up to 6th in the table, two points behind United in fifth while West Ham remain in eighth place.

Chelsea hit Birmingham for six

In the weekend’s biggest win, Chelsea travelled to Birmingham in the hopes of continuing their impressive run of form while the latter had just one win in their last six games.
Hayes’ side was off the mark almost immediately thanks to Ji’s remarkable 20-yard free-kick, rocketing into the top corner.

Birmingham caused Chelsea a few problems with their long balls forward, Abbi Grant almost presented with a clear opportunity on goal to hit back but Mjelde was there with a crucial interception.

Millie Bright was at the heart of Chelsea’s resounding performance, getting on the scoresheet just after the half-hour mark – starting the move before Reiten set the former up.

Bright was involved once again just before the break after her magnificent cross-field pass was taken down with an even better touch from Beth England who fired past Hampton in goal. 

Birmingham City v Chelsea - Barclays FA Women's Super League

Chelsea started the second half as quickly as they did the first, but this time it was Drew Spence after slick passing with England allowed her to get a fourth of the game.

The win was sounded off within 10 minutes as Spence and England both got their second goals of the game, securing the three points on the hour mark – keeping their place at the top of the table while Birmingham stays in 11th place.

Elsewhere in the WSL

Both Manchester clubs were triumphant in their respective games as United welcomed Brighton and City travelled to Bristol.

Fifth place United took on ninth place Brighton in what was ultimately a convincing win for Casey Stoney’s side. After Millie Turner’s goal was ruled out for offside, United wasted no time in capitalising on their momentum and getting an opening goal through James, set up by Galton.

The latter then got her first of two goals on the half an hour mark, before grabbing her second with 20 minutes to go after a lovely worked team goal. Convincing team performance was rounded off with a captain’s goal, Zelem converting from the spot late on. While Brighton had some bright spells in moments, they were ultimately nullified by United’s defence in what resulted in yet another clean sheet for Earps in goal.  

Millwall Lionesses v Manchester United Women - FA Women's Championship

Meanwhile, the blue side of Manchester made their way down south to face a struggling Bristol City side still on the hunt for their first WSL win of the season. It took 20 minutes for Man City to get the opener through Tessa Wullaert – the only goal of the first half.

Chances for Bristol came few and far between, resulting in them only have two attempts on goal compared to City’s seven. With credit to Bristol, despite conceding a second to Ellen White on the hour mark, they held on well until the last 10 minutes when City’s next three goals came in quick succession. Pauline Bremer got a goal just minutes after coming on, followed by Weir getting the fourth before finally Bremer’s second rounded off an emphatic afternoon for City.

Tottenham Hotspur travelled to Everton for a mid-table clash as the former looked to bounce back from a North London Derby defeat to Arsenal last weekend. Willie Kirk’s rejuvenated Everton side, however, has proved to be no easy competition and took an early lead through Pike before Quinn levelled the score not long after. 

Manchester City Women v Birmingham City Women - FA Women's Continental League Cup

Anna Filbey’s own goal after half an hour restored Everton’s lead before captain Lucy Graham secured the three points. This result means Everton stay in fourth, just three/four points behind the top three while Spurs drop to seventh, just a point behind Reading in sixth.

In a bid to keep up with Chelsea at the top of the table, Arsenal welcomed bottom of the table Liverpool to Meadow Park – the latter being one of two clubs yet to pick up a win this season.

Arsenal looked a completely different side from the team who swept aside Bristol City 7-0 in the Conti Cup just days prior – it was a lacklustre performance at best, relying on a moment of magic from Vivianne Miedema seemingly from nowhere to clinch the three points in a 1-0 win. Liverpool caused them a few problems defensively but lacked any real threat going forward.

The Super League returns next week, kicking off on Friday 29th November when Brighton host Reading.

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