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Women's Football News
Reading FC Women 3 (Follis 11,72, Scott 54) Millwall Lionesses 0
Reading FC Women made a swift return to the top of WSL 2 after an excellent team performance ended the unbeaten record of Millwall Lionesses at the Madejski Stadium.
An accident on the M4 near to the ground delayed the kick off by fifteen minutes and caused severe traffic delays but a healthy crowd was in attendance, which included World Cup-bound Reading striker Fran Kirby.
Reading appeared to be making up for lost time once the game did start and pushed from the start, Emma Follis being put through on goal by Rachel Rowe's pass but Sarah Quantrill came to her side's rescue with a good save.
Just four minutes later though, the Royals made the breakthrough. Bianca Bragg's clever flick released Follis on goal for a second time and she coolly steered her shot past Quantrill and found the far corner of the net.
Buoyed by the goal, Reading continued to dominate with Rachel Rowe at the heart of most things in midfield and she was to go close with a powerful strike from the left which dipped narrowly over the bar.
Millwall began to weather the early storm and began to look more threatening themselves but without really troubling Grace Moloney in the Reading goal at this stage.
A fine move by Reading almost led to a second goal. Bragg, Rebecca Jane and Laura May Walkley all combined to set up Rowe whose firm low shot brought out an excellent diving save from Quantrill. The resulting corner was taken short and Millwall won back possession, breaking quickly with Rosella Ayane making a driving run forward before her pass found Ashlee Hincks who shot disappointingly wide.
Hincks was to go close with another effort but Reading had strong claims for a penalty turned down just before half time when Bruton appeared to be brought down by Quantrill, but play was waved on.
Just as they did in the first half, Reading began strongly after the restart with Bragg firing over and Bruton shooting straight at Quantrill but the second goal was not too long in coming.
Rowe was again heavily involved as she held the ball up on the left before laying the ball back to Harriet Scott who took a touch before unleashing a shot beyond the dive of Quantrill and into the top corner of the net to double her side's lead.
Millwall manager Dan Mlinar made a double substitution to try and freshen things up for his team and they tried to bring themselves back into the game with a long range drive from Lillie Billson which was just over. However, Reading could well have been three ahead after Bruton chased down a ball over the top and teed up Bragg whose shot was headed off the line by Dionne Lennon.
Reading were to increase their lead shortly afterwards though, Lois Roche's crossfield pass releasing Follis who dinked the ball over the oncoming Quantrill for her second goal on the night.
At the other end, Rinsola Babajide met a Hincks corner with a firm header that flew straight at Moloney who gratefully gathered.
What had been a great night for Reading was soured in the 76th minute when Bragg was tackled by Frankie Strugnell and aimed a kick at the Millwall full back. The former Arsenal midfielder was shown the red card for her reaction and the Royals were reduced to ten players.
Millwall did not give up and Hincks had a free kick saved but they could not break down a strong Reading which was well marshalled by Kylie Davies and Kirsty McGee in the centre. There will be better days for a much improved Millwall side who should not be ruled out of the promotion race just yet but Reading look set to go the distance on this showing.
Reading FC Women: Grace Moloney, Rebecca Jane, Harriet Scott, Laura May Walkley (sub Bonnie Horwood 70mins), Kylie Davies, Kirsty McGee, Emma Follis, Bianca Bragg, Lauren Bruton (sub Charlie Estcourt 83mins), Lois Roche, Rachel Rowe (sub Helen Ward 79mins). Subs not used: Georgie Giddings, Eloise Wilson, Rebekah Haines.
Millwall Lionesses: Sarah Quantrill, Leanne Cowan, Frankie Strugnell, Danielle Carlton, Naomi Cole, Dionne Lennon, Megan Goss, Grace Fisk (sub Lilli Maple 56mins), Rosella Ayane (sub Rinsola Babajide 56mins), Lillie Billson (sub Ciara Sherwood 83mins), Ashlee Hincks. Subs not used: Chantelle Mackie, Jordan Butler, Lily Agg.
(top) Lauren Bruton goes down under a challenge from Sarah Quantrill
(middle) Kylie Davies tries to block a shot from Lillie Billson
(bottom) Emma Follis scores Reading's third goal (www.jamesprickett.co.uk)
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