Reading FC Women were knocked out of the FA Cup at the 5th Round stage on Saturday afternoon at the Select Car Leasing Stadium as Kelly Chambers’ side missed a host of chances before West Ham scored in extra-time to end the Royals’ cup journey.

Chambers made two changes from the Royals team that was beaten 4-1 by Brighton & Hove Albion prior to the international break. 

Goalkeeper Rhiannon Stewart, who started for Reading in the last round of the FA Cup, returned to the side in place of Grace Moloney while Deanna Cooper came in for Tia Primmer with Natasha Harding moving into midfield.

Reading started the stronger of the two teams and had the first opportunity to test West Ham keeper Mackenzie Arnold when Amalie Eikeland was brought down 25 yards from goal. Faye Bryson, whose set-pieces have been so key to the Royals’ strong form this season, tried her luck with the free-kick but saw her effort saved.

Moments later, Reading had another half-chance, this time Natasha Dowie playing through to Deanne Rose but her shot was comfortably saved from a tight angle.

The hosts went even closer in the 24th minute when West Ham failed to clear a corner. Emma Harries delivered the ball back into the box and Eikeland rose highest to power a header off the post.

Reading threatened once again in the 30th minute when they ripped the Hammers to shreds with a beautiful flowing move. Harries’ dummy allowed Faye Bryson to carry the ball down the line and when her cross was met by Rose 12 yards from goal the crowd rose in anticipation, only for the Canadian’s effort to rise just over the bar.

Chambers’ side were a constant threat from set-pieces in the first half and once again nearly took the lead from a corner when Gemma Evans’ header was clawed away by Arnold when it seemed certain the net would bulge.

Lisa Evans then had a rare West Ham chance, but she couldn’t direct her header on target. A fast-paced opening half ended with a real moment of drama as Arnold came flying out of her goal and handled the ball outside the box. With the SCL crowd baying for a red card, the referee opted to only caution the goalkeeper.

Arnold then did well to smother the ball from the resulting free-kick as Harries looked to tap home in the final chance of the first half.

Reading started the second half as they had ended the first, on top and in search of the game’s opening goal. Dowie fired over the bar from a tight angle before Rose saw a shot blocked as she broke into the box with the ball.

Harding had the next Royals opportunity, yet again from a set-piece, but her header was caught by Arnold.

Arnold was forced to be at her best with 17 minutes to go when she got down well to save from Dowie after the striker turned away from her marker in the box before unleashing her effort.

Reading had one final set-piece in the last minute of stoppage time but Lily Woodham’s delivery landed just out of reach of substitute Justine Vanhaevermaet as the 5th Round tie headed to 30 minutes of extra-time.

Chambers’ team were left to pay for their profligacy in front of goal as West Ham grabbed the lead in the 15th minute of extra time. The Royals failed to clear a corner and Lucy Parker stabbed home to make it 1-0.

Reading chased an equaliser in the final quarter of an hour but just as had been the case all day, they failed to break down the Hammers, suffering a disappointing FA Cup exit at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

READING FC XI: Stewart, Bryson, Cooper, Evans, Woodham, Harries (Rowe 75’), Eikeland (Primmer 101’), Troelsgaard, Harding, Rose (Vanhaevermaet 84’), Dowie