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Reading stay in hunt
 Women's Football News 27 Jul 2014
 
Reading stay in hunt - 27 Jul 2014 - Women's Football NewsReading FC Women 5 (Fletcher 9,66, Horwood 48, Williams 79, Bartrip 84)
London Bees 1 (Brooks 43)

Reading FC Women closed the gap on the top two as four second half strikes carried them to victory at the Madejski Stadium. 
 
The margin of defeat was a little harsh on London Bees who had battled hard all game but some excellent finishing and an impressive second half display by the Royals helped to cement them in third place in the WSL 2 table.
 
Reading started off brightly with Francesca Kirby firing a shot over the bar and the England squad member was instrumental as they took the lead with just nine minutes on the clock. A stray pass out of the defence was picked up by Lauren Bruton who fed Kirby, the striker driving towards goal before her shot was tipped onto the post by Cherie Rowlands, Melissa Fletcher being perfectly placed to tuck home the rebound for the opening goal.
 
After three recent heavy defeats, there were fears that London Bees might collapse once again but they responded well with captain Dawn Mallett shooting over at the other end. However Reading continued to look sharp going forward and almost went further ahead when another bad pass out of defence was seized on by Bianca Bragg who struck the post with a curling 20-yard shot.
 
Lauren Bruton shot wide after exchanging passes with Rebecca Jane and, following another dangerous run by Kirby, her deflected shot fell kindly for Georgie Giddings but she was denied by a fine point blank save from Rowlands.
 
The Bees rode out the storm and began to grow in confidence as half time approached, typified by Taylor O'Leary who won a number of tackles in midfield and Rebecca Anderson became more of an influence as the half wore on.
 
Mallett lifted a free kick over the bar but the Bees were to take advantage of another set piece in spectacular style just before the break. After Paula Howells had been tripped on the edge of the area by Bragg, Billie Brooks stepped up to drill an unstoppable shot into the far top corner and level the scores.
 
Reading were quick out of the blocks as the second half started and restored their lead three minutes after the restart. The Bees defence did well to avert the initial danger but Jane's ball back into the area was controlled by Bonnie Horwood who sent in a left a foot shot which Rowlands got a hand to but could not prevent from creeping just inside the far post.
 
A minute later, Kirby clipped the bar with a firm strike and then Bragg broke into the area from a long ball before her shot was parried by Rowlands. Bruton looked certain to score from the rebound but Rowlands did extremely well to get up and keep out her effort with a diving save.
 
Kirby had a shot blocked by Samantha Chappell from Shelly Cox' cross and the striker went close with another powerful effort before the pressure eventually told midway through the half.
 
A clever flick by Fletcher released Kirby on the left where she cut into the area before sliding the ball back for Fletcher to score her second goal from ten yards.
 
Reading were now producing their best form and continued to look dangerous every time they attacked. Bruton was having a fine game in midfield and almost added to their lead with a powerful strike from the edge of the area which crashed against the bar - the fourth time the Royals had struck the woodwork during the game.
 
However they were not to be denied for long and Cheryl Williams, who had only come on as a substitute a minute before, gave Rowlands no chance with a shot from 25 yards which arrowed into the corner of the net.
 
Rowlands made an excellent save, turning a 30-yard strike by Horwood over the bar, as Reading sought further goals against a Bees side which was looking very tired. They were to get another goal courtesy of a good move, Bruton's pass being dummied by Lois Roche and into the path of Molly Bartrip who finished with aplomb from fifteen yards.
 
Roche flashed a shot just wide in the dying minutes but Reading will be pleased overall with their performance which stretches their unbeaten run to seven matches in all competitions. London Bees meanwhile will be heartened by a much improved display which offers encouragement for their next games. 
 
Reading FC Women: Grace Moloney, Rebecca Jane (sub Eloise Wilson 86mins), Shelly Cox, Kirsty McGee, Molly Bartrip, Georgie Giddings, Lauren Bruton, Bonnie Horwood, Melissa Fletcher (sub Cheryl Williams 78mins), Bianca Bragg (sub Lois Roche 69mins), Francesca Kirby. Subs not used: Laura May Walkley, Megan Ryan, Rebecca Haines, Chloe Sansom.

London Bees: Cherie Rowlands, Emma Davies, Samantha Chappell, Taylor O'Leary (sub Danielle Scanlon 69mins), Billie Brooks, Aoife Hurley, Paula Howells, Amy Cooper (sub Laura Miller 86mins), Anneka Nuttall, Dawn Mallett (sub Lucy Loomes 62mins), Rebecca Anderson. Subs not used: Sophie Harris, Samantha Carson, Sydney Hinchcliffe, Imogen Riches.

Photos:

(top) Melissa Fletcher scores the opening goal for Reading
(middle) Georgie Giddings is denied by a good save from Cherie Rowlands
(bottom) Taylor O'Leary shields the ball from Shelly Cox

 
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