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Reading FC Girls Academy, which is run at the John Madejski Academy, were crowned national champions when beating Accrington & Rossendale College in the Final at Burton Albion FC.
This is the second time that the team have reached this Final in two years with Reading finishing runners-up last season. The girls have worked extremely hard this season on and off the pitch, juggling training every day and studying for their advanced levels but this all seemed to pay off when they finished the season winning the league and then being crowned champions in the National Play-Off Final.
The girls were very focused for this day and well prepared but in the first ten minutes they showed a few nerves as the game started a bit rushed but with a few first years playing, this was to be expected but Reading found their feet and started to play the way they have all season.
Reading moved the ball really well with Accrington finding it hard at times to get the ball. Reading broke through a few times the Accrington defence but couldn't finish their chances, however on 25 minutes the deadlock was broken when Georgia McGill found Francesca Kirby out on the left where she beat a player and delivered into the box which found Alice Palmer to head home.
With Palmer and Kirby causing the Accrington defence a lot of problems, it was not long then when Reading scored their second. With some great play in and around the penalty box, Stacie Donnelly found Francesca Kirby to see her turn the defender to hit home with her left foot to make it 2-0.
Accrington then started to pile on some pressure but the Reading back four consisting of Sophie Barrett, Jess Winchester, Beth Donovan and Nicole Beesley were outstanding and didn't give Accrington any chances.
The second half started the way that Reading predicted with Accrington flying out the traps to try and get a goal back. Accrington didn't fail when the ball was played over the top of the Reading defence to see Accrington's wide right player beat Reading goalkeeper and captain Grace Moloney.
This really spurred Reading on and the girls came back fighting with Grace Moloney, who was having a fantastic game, organising her players in front of her to make sure that Accrington had no way of getting through again. Reading found another breakthrough with Sophie Barrett delivering in a free kick from the right only to see Palmer's goal disallowed.
Reading stayed solid and found another opening with Palmer and Kirby still causing Accrington problems, this saw Palmer break through the Accrington back four with a pass from Kirby to finish and make it 3-1.
After this Reading were pretty much in control again and made it 4-1 when Kirby was brought down in the box for Sophie Barrett to fire home the penalty.
This was a fantastic achieved for the girls on the back end of a fantastic football display.
Manager Kelly Chambers said "This is a massive achievement for the girls today to be crowned the best college team in the country; it is something the girls really wanted to win after being runners up in two previous finals.
"For me this is the best day of my life so far in my coaching career and it truly is an unbelievable feeling. It's been an emotional day as well as we will lose a few of the girls that have been here from when it all first started as they are coming to the end of their time here at the John Madejski Academy and even more emotional for myself as I have coached a few of these girls since they were 8 years old.
"There are a few of them that I will see in the women's team but a few that have gained scholarships in America and will be out there for four years. We at the John Madejski Academy and Reading FC would like to congratulate the girls on their success and wish the girls that are leaving all the best in the future."
Reading: Grace Moloney, Sophie Barrett, Jessica Winchester, Bethany Donovan, Nicole Beesley, Jasmine Brewster, Stacie Donnelly, Francesca Kirby, Emma Jones, Georgia McGill, Alice Palmer. Subs: Melanie Saunders, Hannah Rogers, Alix Todd, Jodie Webb, Charmaine Hughes-Boyne, Jade Searle, Crystal Carrington.
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