Manchester City Women shook off an early set-back to beat Reading 4-1 at the Academy Stadium as we continued our title push.

We found ourselves behind in the opening minute at the Academy Stadium when Sanne Troelsgaard fired past Ellie Roebuck

Chloe Kelly drew us level inside a quarter of an hour before Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw’s header saw us hit the front before the half-time whistle. 

Lauren Hemp struck early in the second half to put us firmly in control before Steph Houghton‘s sweet free-kick rounded off the scoring in a well-deserved victory for Gareth Taylor‘s side. 


With the gulf between the teams in the Women’s Super League table at the start of play, you could have been forgiven for believing that City were in for a fairly comfortable afternoon at the Academy Stadium. 

But our clash with the Royals got off to the worst possible start when Troelsgaard picked the ball up on the edge of City’s area and drove a sweetly taken shot past Roebuck to stun the Blues crowd within the opening minute. 

Behind on the scoresheet, Taylor’s troops retaliated by settling themselves down into a rhythm as we hunted down an equaliser. 

A well-worked free-kick routine between Alex Greenwood and Kelly saw the latter float an inviting ball into the area, captain Houghton rose to meet it but Reading stopper Grace Moloney reacted well to collect her downward header. 

City kept flying forward, utilising the pace of Lauren Hemp and Kelly to get behind the Reading defence, and the two linked up to almost draw us level, Kelly robbing Emma Mukandi high up the pitch before rolling to Hemp who saw a shot deflected wide from a tight angle.  

Our pressure did finally pay off with a quarter of an hour on the clock, our goal came as Hemp’s cross from the left-hand side deflected fortunately into the path of Kelly who managed to poke the ball past Moloney to draw us level against Kelly Chambers’ side. 

We kept up the pressure on the visitors as we looked to take the lead, with Laura Coombs testing from range but her low shot was easily stopped by Moloney. 

But we made our dominance count on the 25th minute, when a corner found Shaw rising high inside the area, heading goalwards and despite Moloney getting a hand to it, the Reading stopper couldn’t prevent us taking the lead. 

Having taken the lead on the scoresheet, City were able to dictate the pace of the game, and though Reading put our defence under pressure using a high press, we were well worth their lead as we went into half-time ahead. 

If the first-half started with a nightmare for City, the second-half started like a dream when Filippa Angeldahl played through Kelly inside the area.

The winger could’ve gone for goal but curled the ball into the path of the on-rushing Hemp who slid in at the back post to strengthen our lead just one minute into the second 45.  

Our Lionesses linked-up again with Hemp springing a mazy run off the left-hand side, cutting in before releasing Kelly one-on-one with Moloney, but she dragged her effort wide. 

With a two-goal cushion over the Royals, Taylor’s side started playing with far more freedom, looking dangerous everytime they went forward. 

Shaw fired wide following a lightning counter-attack set up by Kelly before Hemp saw a powerful first-time effort cannon off the post and out of danger. 

Despite our threat going forward in open play, our fourth game via a set-piece, Houghton stepping up to curl a fabulous effort over the Reading wall and past a helpless Moloney as we put the result beyond all doubt with 20 minutes to play. 

Though the win was all but secured, we kept flying forward in search of more goals, with Shaw, in particular, looking to add to her impressive goal tally, but Moloney stood firm to keep the gap to three goals. 

In the end, we had to settle with four goals to show for a fine display as Taylor’s troops sealed a critical three points in the WSL title race. 


Chloe Kelly proved instrumental in our comeback at the Academy Stadium. 

She caused the Royals problems all afternoon with her pace and dribbling ability, rounding off a fine display with a goal and an assist. 


Gareth Taylor only made one change from our win over West Ham, as Ellie Roebuck returned to the starting XI to keep net for the Blues.  

That means we kept the same back four of Kerstin Casparji, Steph Houghton, Alex Greenwood and Esme Morgan.

Our midfield was made up of Yui Hasegawa sitting deep behind Filippa Angeldahl and Laura Coombs.

Lauren Hemp lined-up on the left wing opposite Chloe Kelly with Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw up front. 

City XI: Roebuck, Casparij, Houghton (C), Greenwood (Ouhabi 75’), Morgan, Hasegawa (Fowler 75’), Angeldahl, Coombs (Castellanos 75’), Kelly, Hemp (Raso 65’), Shaw. 

Substitutes: Keating, Stokes, Dahou. 

Reading XI: Moloney, Mukandi (C), Wellings, Eikeland, Harries (Wade 73’), Mayi Kith, Caldwell, Rowe, Vanhaevermaet (Perry 87’), Primmer (Moore 55’), Troelsgaard (Hendrix 87’). 

Substitutes: Poulter, Bryson, Evans, Hendrix, Jane, Alexander. 


With our clash against the Royals the only game in the WSL, we were guaranteed to remain in second place no matter the result. 

Victory has seen us move three points off leaders Manchester United with the same amount of games played. 

We are also now four points ahead of Chelsea, although the reigning champions have three games in hand. 


After today’s game, we have just three games left of our WSL campaign. 

The first of our final run-in is an away trip to Liverpool next week. 

Kick-off at Prenton Park is scheduled for 14:00 (UK) on Sunday 7 May. 


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