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Women's Football News
London Bees 1 (Loomes 41) Reading FC Women 8 (Kirby 1,78, Bragg 46,64, Fletcher 74,88, Bruton 75, Williams 82)
London Bees suffered an emphatic defeat in the Continental Cup on Sunday as Reading FC Women beat them 8-1 at The Hive to maintain their challenge for a place in the semi finals.
There were bright moments for The Bees, who gave debuts to new signings Amy Cooper and Becky Anderson in a new midfield partnership, and they were even level as late as half time. But a calamitous second half in which seven goals were conceded meant that it was another afternoon of frustration for the home side, managed by Rebecca Sawiuk for the first time since Tom Donati's departure as Head Coach this week.
The Bees had the worst possible start when they fell behind after just one minute. Francesca Kirby received the ball wide on the right and showed good trickery to cut inside Emma Davies before finishing with the outside of her right foot from the corner of the six yard box.
The home team were further rocked when their captain Dawn Mallett was stretchered off after five minutes after suffering a nasty collision in which she sustained a suspected concussion.
Yet after such a difficult opening period, the Bees began to find their composure and started to grow into the game more and more. Mallett's replacement Lucy Loomes was particularly prominent in attack while another new arrival in Paula Howells was also showing some bright touches up front.
Reading continued to fashion the better chances however and went close to doubling their lead after 21 minutes when new signing Bianca Bragg struck the post with a powerful right foot drive from the edge of the box. Fifteen minutes later another debutant was denied, this time Bonnie Horwood after Sam Chappell blocked her close range effort.
Four minutes before half time the Bees were finally rewarded for their perseverance. A corner floated over everybody before falling to Loomes at the back post, where the 17-year-old produced a moment of magic to ghost beyond her marker and curl a wonderful effort over the goalkeeper to make the score 1-1.
Unfortunately the Bees were not level for long, as another disastrous start to the half saw Reading regain the lead just two minutes after the break as Bragg stole in at the back post to sidefoot the ball past Sophie Harris.
The goal took the wind out of the home team's sails as half time substitute Melissa Fletcher nearly scored in identical fashion but her finish was dragged wide of the far post.
Once again the Bees showed good determination to recover from the setback, and nearly drew level when Anneka Nuttall spun her marker and played an excellent through ball for Howells, but Nicola Davies was quick out of the Reading goal to steal the ball off her toes.
Reading increased their lead on 64 minutes however when Bragg scored a sublime second, controlling the ball on her chest and unleashing a superb volley that flew just inside the left hand post.
As the second half wore on, Reading's superior fitness began to show as the Bees visibly tired. Substitute Melissa Fletcher grabbed a fourth after 74 minutes when she was left alone in the box and Lauren Bruton added a fifth just a minute later with a curling shot over Harris' head.
Kirby also bagged her brace after 78 minutes when she fired a low right footed effort across goal and into the far corner. Four minutes later another substitute got in on the act, Cheryl Williams being given the time and space in the box to bring down a cross with her right foot before turning and lashing a half volley into the net with her left.
The Bees' misery was compounded with just two minutes remaining when a deflected cross landed on the head of Fletcher who became the third Royals player to score a brace and make the final scoreline 8-1 on a difficult day for the Bees.
London Bees: Sophie Harris, Samantha Chappell, Samantha Carson, Amy Cooper (sub Aoife Hurley 56mins), Billie Brooks, Emma Davies, Amber Gaylor, Rebecca Anderson, Anneka Nuttall, Dawn Mallett (sub Lucy Loomes 6mins), Paula Howells (sub Sydney Hinchcliffe 71mins).
Reading FC Women: Nicola Davies, Rebecca Jane, Shelly Cox, Bonnie Horwood, Molly Bartrip, Georgina Giddings, Kirsty McGee, Laura May Walkley (sub Melissa Fletcher 45mins), Francesca Kirby (sub Rebekah Haines 79mins), Bianca Bragg (sub Cheryl Williams 68mins), Lauren Bruton.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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