It was late heartbreak for Reading Women on Saturday afternoon as an 87th minute goal succumbed them to a 1-0 defeat at title-chasing Manchester City in the Women’s Super League.

Royals stopper Grace Moloney pulled Reading ‘through many dangers, toils and snares’ with a heroic performance as Kelly Chambers side spent the majority of the game on the defensive foot.

The Irish international goalkeeper denied World Cup-winning American, Rose Lavelle early on.

She then denied Lucy Bronze from point blanc range as Gareth Taylor’s Citizens continued to pile on the pressure.

Amalie Eikeland had a chance to give the Royals a surprise lead when the Norwegian was played in by Jess Fishlock.

A perfect through ball from the Welsh star found Eikeland who could only fire at England stopper Ellie Roebuck.

Manchester City used 14 players in the tie with all of them having been internationally capped by their countries as they completed 565 passes and had 70% possession at the Academy Stadium.  

It was another England star in Georgia Stanway who missed the best chance of the first half as she diverted a Chloe Kelly cross wide from a few yards out.

City forward Lauren Hemp then hit the post before the referee called time on the first period.

The heroic Moloney continued to impress for the Royals as ‘T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far’ denying Lavelle again before Lily Woodham cleared up any danger.

World Cup winner Sam Mewis come off the City bench before sending a headed effort wide as City continued to up the pace of the tie.

Caroline Weir was the latest to waste a golden chance seeing her effort sail over after being unmarked in the box.

Moloney made Reading believe for the first hour as she tipped a looping cross away before the breakthrough eventually came on the 87th minute.

A magical run from Hemp split the Royals defence before a low cross picked out Chloe Kelly to tap home from a yard out.

Molly Bartrip picked up her fifth yellow card of the season so will miss next weekend’s visit to WSL bottom side West Ham United to the Madejski Stadium.

Chambers’ Reading remain 7th in the Women’s Super League while Man City go top of the division ahead of Chelsea playing on Sunday.

Reading: Moloney, Woodham, Cooper, Bartrip, Leine, James, Fishlock, Eikeland, Williams (Carter 68), Harding ©, Rowe (Harries 82).

Bench (Unused): Nayler, Childerhouse, Roberts, Jeon, Flores.