READING FC Women reclaimed third spot in Women’s Super League 1 thanks to an impressive 3-0 victory over Everton Ladies at Adams Park.

Royals were eager to bounce back after their five-match unbeaten run was ended by Arsenal Ladies last week.

And Kelly Chambers’ side delivered the goods with a dominant performance on Sunday afternoon.

Neither side could break the deadlock in the first half, but Remi Allen, Lauren Bruton and skipper Kirsty Pearce all netted after the break to secure all three points.

“We’re feeling really positive after that,” beamed Pearce afterwards. “We were looking to bounce back after the result in midweek, but we set up really well, we’ve got three points and a clean sheet.

“The three points are the most important, although a goal and a clean sheet are great. It’s really positive and hopefully now we can finish the season on a high.

“At half time the coaches told us to remain positive. Everton were good in the first half. We knew how disciplined they would be, so we just had to keep patient and we came out and scored three goals.

“We’ve worked hard in the week and it really came off for us. I thought the front three and their movement was brilliant, there aren’t many defences in the division that could cope with how they played.”

Reading Chronicle:

Lauren Bruton is congratulated by Fara Williams after putting Royals 2-0 ahead against Everton.

Reading knew they were in for a tough afternoon as Everton’s only league win of 2018 came against Royals in the reverse fixture.

But the hosts rode their luck early on when Rachel Furness gave the ball straight to Courtney Sweetman-Kirk on the edge of the area, but Mary Earps came to the rescue by saving the Everton striker’s shot.

Royals hit back with Natasha Harding curling an effort wide before Everton keeper Kirshie Levell bailed her side out with two excellent saved to deny Bruton from 25 yards and then Brooke Chaplen from slightly closer range.

Reading Chronicle:

Action from Reading's 3-0 win against Everton on Sunday.

Reading remained on the front foot and almost went ahead in first-half injury time when Bruton’s header crashed against the post from a Fara Williams free-kick.

But their patience was finally rewarded two minutes after the break when they took the lead.

Rachel Rowe’s right-wing cross was headed against the woodwork by Pearce, with Allen tapping in the rebound from six yards.

Reading then piled on the pressure with Bruton testing Levell before Everton winger Olivia Chance was stretchered off with a nasty injury.

Williams also brought the best out of Levell with a powerful first-time shot before the home side doubled their lead on the 73 minute mark.

Bruton collected Jo Potters perfect through ball before rounding Levell and slotting into the net.

And Royals rounded off a superb afternoon with a third goal five minutes from time when Pearce stabbed home after Everton failed to deal with a corner.

Reading almost added a fourth in injury time when Williams hit the crossbar from 18 yards before Chaplen and substitute Kirsty Linnett saw their follow-up efforts blocked.

Reading Chronicle:

Reading's Lauren Bruton stretches for the ball.

The win saw Royals climb back above Birmingham, Liverpool and Arsenal in the table and they are now just four points behind second-placed Manchester City.

Royals are back in action this Sunday when they travel to Mariners Park to take on Sunderland Ladies (12pm ko).

Pearce added: “We just need to keep building on our performances and keep building on our momentum.

“We go to Sunderland next week and I think we want a little bit of revenge because they beat us on the first day of the season.

“We just need to keep doing what we’re doing and we’ll get the results. We’re third in the league – and that’s brilliant. If you’d have offered us a spot in the top three or four at the start of the season we’d have definitely taken it.

“There’s no pressure on us – all the pressure is on Arsenal. They have got to catch us so we’re just enjoying it at the moment.”

Reading: Earps; Williams, Pearce (C), Furness, Allen (Jane 88), Bruton (Linnett 86), Moore, Chaplen, Harding, Potter, Rowe. Subs not used: Scott, Fletcher, Moloney. Booked: Moore 26.

Everton: Levell; Turner (C), George, Boye-Hlorkah, Brett (Munsterman 68), Kelly (Hughes 76), James, Chance (Bryson 60), Sweetman-Kirk, Finnigan, Green. Subs not used: Durack, Hinds. Booked: Turner 30, James 45, Musterman 79.

Referee: Rebecca Welch.

Attendance: 263.

Reading Chronicle:
Kirsty Linnett is denied by the Everton Ladies keeper.