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Reading FC Women 0 Chelsea 3 (Chapman 53, Davison 90, Borges 90)
Chelsea ensured that they stayed in the WSL 1 title race with a 3-0 away win over Reading FC Women at Adams Park.
Two late goals assured the three points for the visitors who had been made to work hard by a tenacious effort from Reading, frustrating the Champions with disciplined defence and occasional counter attacks.
Chelsea found the direct route to goal well guarded in a tight first half. Their best efforts came via both wing backs, Claire Rafferty forcing a leaping save from Mary Earps with a driven cross shot on 15 minutes, then Hannah Blundell forcing a near post block by the keeper with an equally fierce effort just after the half hour.
Reading threatened a couple of times with a Melissa Fletcher effort wide of Becky Spencer's goal from a tight angle on 25 minutes their best chance of the first period.
As in the previous match against Notts County, it was skipper Katie Chapman who made the difference. Again it was a header, this time from a Karen Carney free kick, with Chapman timing her run to guide the delivery wide of Earps for the opening goal on 53 minutes.
The home team restricted Chelsea to a minimum of clear sights on goal but frustratingly were unable to mount any concerted pressure themselves on the opposition net.
It seemed that a single goal would decide the outcome but a moment of Gemma Davison magic on 90 minutes sealed the win. The winger danced her way into the area past two tackles then finished crisply past Earps, although Reading were convinced that another player had impeded a defender to clear her path to goal.
Substitute Ana Borges, with a good run and another neat finish in the third minute of added time, gave a final result a rather harsh look for a Reading team who had competed strongly throughout to limit the Chelsea threat but are still looking for that elusive first WSL 1 win.
Manchester City's win at Arsenal leaves them just three points from taking Chelsea's crown, with a clash between the two contenders to come but a Champions League spot for 2017-18 looks certain for Emma Hayes' team.
Reading FC Women: Mary Earps, Rebecca Jane, Harriet Scott, Molly Bartrip (sub Kayleigh Hines 74mins), Kirsty McGee, Emma Follis, Remi Allen, Lauren Bruton, Kylie Davies, Melissa Fletcher (sub Nia Jones 79mins), Rachel Rowe. Subs not used: Lois Roche, Jade Boho-Sayo, Laura May Walkley, Helen Ward, Chloe Sansom.
Chelsea: Rebecca Spencer, Hannah Blundell, Millie Bright, Gilly Flatherty, Niamh Fahey, Gemma Davison, Karen Carney, Eniola Aluko (sub Ana Marques Borges 66mins), Ji So Yun (sub Drew Spence 84mins), Claire Rafferty, Katie Chapman (sub Jade Bailey 70mins). Subs not used: Hedvig Lindahl, Beth England.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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