BY PAUL LAGAN at ADAMS PARK
Beth England scored the winner in a 3-2 goal-fest against Reading that saw the west Londoners finish their WSL1 season in third place at Adams Park this afternoon
The champions failed to ignite this season, and due to a flurry of 0-0 draws early on, effectively lost their title before Christmas.
But they finished with a flourish, taking an early lead through So-Yun Ji before a flurry of second half goals saw them pegged back through Natasha Harding. Karen Carney restored the lead before the Blues lost the again when Fara Williams levelled. But England, who rattled a post notched the winner taking advantage of a suicidal back-pass from Jade Moore.
Beth England should have scored after just two minutes when the striker had a great chance to stroke home a right-win cross by Erin Cuthbert but she mistimed her close range effort. Then Sophie Ingle saw a header from the resultant corner cleared off the line by Fara Williams as the Blues, playing in yellow, went for the jugular early.
Two minutes later and the visitors went justly ahead – a fine left-footed half-volley by So-Yun Ji, from just inside the Reading penalty area, took a minor deflection, but, her on target blaster rippled the back of Grace Moloney’s net, giving the goalkeeper no chance.
Williams he a great chance on 18 minutes, her scuffed left-footer was cleared away to safety by Maren Mjelde as the home side finally got a foothold in the game.
Jade Moore tried a long-ranger to try and disrupt the Chelsea back four, but here effort went wide.
England saw her right-footer inch past goal after excellent set-up play by Kirby.
Emma Hayes replaces Erin Cuthbert for Adelina Engman at half-time.
Kirby had the first chance of the second half but Moloney was on hand to parry the ball away.
The first yellow of the game fell to Fara Williams for a needless handball on 47 minutes.
But then a mad five minutes saw three goals.
With Reading’s first attempt one goal, they scored. A lovely through ball by William fed in-running Natasha Harding who stroked home, despite Lindahl getting a hand to the ball.
However within a minute, the Blues restored the lead through Karen Carney’s unchallenged long-range effort. On 52 minutes, Fara Williams headed home after Harding’s shot hit the crossbar. Lindahl in her final match for Chelsea failed to clip the ball away.
England somehow managed to miss from six yards out on 59 minutes. Kirby went on a mazy run, sh managed to cut the ball across goal, to the far post, where England had only to stretch her lg to slot Horne. yet she smacked the ball against the post.
But she made up for it four minutes later, when she took advantage of a feeble back pass by Jade Moore allowed England to intercept and cut a low, left-footer past Moloney to make it 2-3.
Hayes’s second subduction saw Jonna Andersson replaced by Hannah Blundell on 68 minutes.
Ji came off the pitch with 14 minutes left, Maria Thorisdottir taking her place.
Chelsea: Lindahl, Bright, Ingle, Carney, Ji, Kirby, England, Eriksson, Mjelde, Andersson, Cuthbert
Subs: Thorisdottir, Blundell, Carter, Engman, Bachmann, Spence, Telford
Reading: Moloney, Pacheco, W Lilian’s. Pearce, Furness, Allen, Bruton, Harding, Farrow, Moore, Howard
Subs: Janes, Davison, Estcourt, Woodham, Laws
Referee: Abigail Byrn