READING FC Women saw their five-match unbeaten run come to an end after a 3-1 defeat at Arsenal Ladies.

Royals went into last night's clash at Boreham Wood in scintillating form after picking up 13 points from their previous five Women’s Super League 1 games.

But they came up short against the Gunners and conceded third place in the table to the victorious hosts.

Arsenal flew out of the blocks with Jordan Nobbs and Danielle Carter forcing smart saved from Mary Earps.

Earps continued to frustrate the Gunners with a n excellent stop to deny Vivanne Miedema following a slick counter attack then it took a last-ditch tackle by Rachel Rowe to thwarts the same Arsenal player.

But the home side’s dominant start paid off when captain Kim Little curled an effort from the edge of the box past the despairing dive of Earps for a ninth-minute lead.

Royals were struggling to get a foothold in the game and relied on another super stop from Earps to deny Miedema.

But Arsenal’s pressure paid off again when Dominique Jansen headed in from a Jordan Nobbs corner to make it 2-0 in the 27th minute.

Reading began to fight back and finished the half strongly as Rowe fired a long-range effort narrowly over the bar then Lauren Bruton’s dangerous cross was almost touched in by one of several team-mates.

Reading Chronicle:

Reading FC Women boss Kelly Chambers, right.

Kelly Chambers’ side took that momentum into the second half deservedly pulled one back in the 49th minute with yet another Fara Williams wonder strike.

Williams, who has been named in the WSL team of the year, smacked a superb left-footed volley into the net from a right-wing corner to make it 2-1.

But it wasn’t long before the Gunners regained their two-goal cushion in the 64th minute when Danielle Van de Donk slotted past Earps.

There was no comeback for the Royals, with Chambers admitted their paid the price for a sluggish start.

“We lost the game in the first half-hour,” she confessed. “We were slow to start but the last 15 minutes we created a lot of chances and had them pinned back in their own half.

“We were loose in possession and a few players were off. We didn’t press enough and against teams like Arsenal you cannot afford to do that.”

“We started the second half brightly, nicked a good goal at a good time, but the first half hour took it out of us physically. We just didn’t have enough tonight.”


Arsenal coach Joe Montemurro said: “We probably could have finished the game off in the first 20 minutes.

“But Reading are a very good team and are always going to pose problems. They have good players and a good structure.

“We expected Reading to come out and get something out of the game. We didn’t deal with it properly, but our reaction was fantastic and we overcame them in the last 25 minutes.”

Reading, who dropped to fifth in the table, host eighth-placed Everton Ladies at Wycombe’s Adams Park this Sunday (12.30pm ko).

Chambers added: “We’ve had a fantastic run over the last five games and taken 13 from 15 points which have included games against Manchester City and Chelsea.

“We’re in our second season of full-time football and we are still building.

“We know we need to grow and develop the team more, we need to bring in more players and have a bigger squad to allow us to make rotations and change things.”

Arsenal: Van Veenendaal, Evans, Mitchell (McCabe 70), Williamson, Quinn, Nobbs, Janssen, Van de Donk, Miedema, Little (c) (Mead 78). Subs not used: Moorhouse, Kuyken, Ngunga, Cooke.

Reading: Earps, Rowe, Potter, Pearce(c), Harding, Moore, Williams, Furness, Allen (Linnett 74), Chaplen (Scott 68), Bruton. Subs not used: Moloney, Jane, Fletcher.

Referee: Christopher O’Donnell.