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Yeovil Town 2 (Knapman 16, Yorston pen 66) Reading FC Women 4 (Kirby 5,41,45,89)
Star striker Fran Kirby scored all four goals as Reading got off to the perfect start in WSL 2 with a 4-2 victory away to Yeovil Town.
It took only five minutes for the England forward to make her mark on the game, capitalising on confusion in the Yeovil defence to run through on goal and slide the ball past the oncoming Charlotte Haynes for the opening goal.
A shellshocked Yeovil side had to dig in deep during the early stages and after the setback but they began to settle down and launch attacks of their own, getting the most joy through the overlapping Helen Bleazard down the right.
One such run resulted in corner and the Welsh international whipped the ball into the area where, just beyond the far post, Natasha Knapman drilled a shot past Grace Moloney for the equalising goal, despite a defender's desperate attempts to clear the ball off the line.
The home side were back in the game and working hard but Reading always looked the likelier to score, not just through Kirby but Lauren Bruton and Bianca Bragg were also looking sharp.
However Yeovil were left to regret two defensive errors just before half time which tilted matters firmly in Reading's favour. First, Nicola Cousins was caught in possession by Kirby, who picked the defender's pocket and held off her challenge as she ran through to fire into the corner of the net and restore the Royals' lead.
Then, in first half injury time, Ebony Dover overhit a back pass and this put Haynes in trouble, Kirby seized her chance and nipped in to take the ball and tucked it into the empty net to complete her hat-trick.
Reading made a double substitution at the break and Yeovil came out much stronger at the start of the second half as they attempted to repair the damage before the interval.
As the midway point approached, Yeovil were handed a lifeline when Ann Marie Heatherson broke into the area and went down under a challenge from Moloney. A penalty was awarded and Corinne Yorston stepped up to fire her shot into the corner of the net.
The goal visibly lifted the Yeovil players and they went close to levelling the scores shortly afterwards. Bleazard drilled a free kick into the area and Natalie Haigh rose highest to power a header towards goal but Moloney dived to her right to pull off an outstanding save.
Yeovil piled forward in search of an equaliser and won a number of corners but all were dealt with by the Reading defence and the impressive Moloney. Reading were content to hit on the counter attack and almost restored their two-goal lead when Kirby sped down the left and cut in to fire a shot across the face of goal.
It was inevitable that Kirby would have the final say and she netted a fourth goal with two minutes remaining, Kirsty McGee releasing her on goal down the left and she evaded one defender before firing an angled shot past Haynes and in off the far post.
Yeovil Town: Charlotte Haynes, Helen Bleazard, Corinne Yorston, Ebony Dover (sub Ellie Isaac 74mins), Nicola Cousins, Natalie Haigh, Stacey Pearston, Steph Williams, Ann Marie Heatherson, Ellie Curson (sub Paige Stewart 63mins), Natasha Knapman (sub Sarah Hill 80mins). Subs not used: Vera Bernabe Payol, Rachel Simkin, Shauna Cossens, Amy Wathan.
Reading FC Women: Grace Moloney, Rebecca Jane, Harriet Scott, Kylie Davies, Molly Bartrip, Rachel Rowe (sub Helen Ward 45mins), Emma Follis, Bonnie Horwood, Lauren Bruton, Bianca Bragg (sub Lois Roche 88mins), Fran Kirby. Subs not used: Georgie Giddings, Laura May Walkley, Charlie Estcourt, Claire Skinner.
(top) Fran Kirby breaks through to score her second goal
(middle) Ann Marie Heatherson is brought down by Grace Moloney for a penalty
(bottom) Corinne Yorston gets in a cross past Rebecca Jane
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