READING FC Women secured their highest ever league finish after a 1-1 draw at Birmingham City Ladies.

Sunday’s result at St Andrew’s means Royals finished fourth in the Women’s Super League 1 table after an excellent season under head coach Kelly Chambers.

The visitors led through Brooke Chaplen but were pegged back by an Ellen White equaliser in their final game of the campaign.

Chaplen said: “It was a scrappy game and I don’t think our quality came through as much as we would have liked.

“Sometimes games are like that and you’ve got to graft until the end.

“Obviously a point meant that we finished fourth and that was important to us. Three points would have been better, but finishing fourth is good for us a team.

“We started the first 20 minutes with a really high tempo. We were really good on the ball and obviously the goal came off the back of that. But I just think we dropped our standards a little bit after that.”

Royals burst out of the traps and took just four minutes to open the scoring against the Blues.

Remi Allen’s excellent pass sent Chaplen in the clear and she kept her cool by slotting past Ann-Katrin Berger.

But the hosts equalised in similar fashion just before the half-hour mark when the in-form White collected a Charlie Wellings pass before rounding Grace Maloney and slotting into an empty net.

It was nip and tuck from there and the game was held up for several minutes following a nasty injury to Birmingham’s Rachel Williams, who was stretchered off.

Her replacement, Lucy Quinn, went close in the second half when she stung Maloney’s hands from all of 30 yards.

Then Maloney came to Royals’ rescue in the 67th minute with a sensational point-blank save to thwart Quinn again from a Kerys Harrop cross.

However, Royals almost snatched all three points late on when the unmarked Fara Williams headed Lauren Bruton’s cross over the woodwork.

The draw saw Reading finish fourth, one place above Birmingham, with Chelsea winning the title in front of Manchester City in second and Arsenal in third.

Chaplen added: “A fourth-place finish is brilliant for the club – it just shows the direction we are heading in.

“Obviously it’s difficult to compete with Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City, but I think we’ve done a really good job this year to take points off all three of them.

“Hopefully next year we can compete even higher up the table to where we already are.”

Birmingham City: Berger, Mayling (Westwood 85), Carter, Mannion, Harrop, Ladd, Ewers, Wellings, Williams (Quinn 39), Follis, White. Subs not used: Hampton, Scofield, Cuscak, Stringer, Ayisi. Booked: Ladd 45, Carter 82.

Reading: Moloney, Jane, Pearce, Potter, Harding, Rowe, Furness, Allen, Burton, Williams, Chaplen. Subs not used: Earps, Green, Fletcher, Reynolds, Linnett, Harries. Booked: Allen 72.

Referee: Declan Bourne.

Attendance: 1,120.

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