A DISASTROUS end to the first half cost Reading dear as they suffered a 4-1 defeat at home to Blackburn Rovers in the Barclays FA Women’s Championship.

Keira Flannery had given the Royals the lead after 16 minutes, but they conceded twice just before the break as Megan Hornby and Hannah Coan turned the game on its head.

Reading never really recovered, with Lucy Shepherd and Hornby then stretching that lead as mid-table Blackburn pulled away to take all three points.

The defeat leaves Reading still in the thick of the relegation battle, having now lost four on the spin in the league.

Reading had started promisingly, with Rachel Dugdale hitting the post before Flannery finished off a fine move, firing home a half-volley from Madison Perry’s ball into the box.

The home side continued to dominate, but Blackburn levelled against the run of play on 43 minutes, Hornby with a smart finish on the counter-attack.

They were in front by half-time, Coan heading home a corner a minute into injury time.

That double blow appeared to take the wind out of Reading, as Rovers dominated the second half. They were rewarded with 20 minutes to go as Hornby played in Shepherd, who slotted home the third.

By this stage, it was all Blackburn and they wrapped up the win with five minutes remaining as Hornby scored her second with a smart finish after good work from Niamh Murphy to win the ball back.

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