BY PAUL LASGAN
A brace of goals from Fran Kirby and and a strike apiece from Anita Asante and a last minute drive from Ali Riley put Reading to the sword as the Blues raced into the semi-finals of the Continental Cup with a 4-0 win at Kingsmeadow tonight.
It took just three minutes for the Blues to open the scoring – a delightful interplay play by the Blues saw Fran Kirby, slot home from just inside the Reading penalty area. It was the Reading-born striker’s first start in two months following a persistent hamstring niggle
Kirby set up Bethany England on 18 minutes after slicing through the Reading defence. Instead of having a go at goal, she elected to pass to England, who forced a fine save from Grace Mooney.
On the break the visitors had an excellent chance two minutes later with Remi Allen getting a glancing header away. Carly Telford was on hand to snaffle the goal-bound effort.
Seven minutes before the break and the Blues doubled their lead through Asante. The defender, playing in midfield, found herself inside the penalty area and she hit a low right-footer from an angle that smacked off Mooney’s left post and into the back of the net.
She too is only just back after nine months out of action with an ACL injury sustained while on England duty.
It was the her first goal for the Blues.
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
Remi Allen should have scored for reading on 54 minutes, when a quick break saw the midfielder inch into they Chelsea penalty area. However she could not direct her header on goal and it inched wide of Telford’s goal.
Bethany England should have had a penalty awarded to her on 56 minutes when she was clearly tripped but referee Abigail Marriott waved play on.
Kirby definitely should have scored when she was put clean through. She outpaced the Reading defence but somehow conspired to screw her low, right-footer wide of Mooney’s right upright.
England was replaced 76 minutes for Switzerland international Ramona Bachmann.
Ji was next to enter the fray with Cuthbert making way on 82 minutes.
With two minutes left on the clock, England striker Kirby smashed home her second after excellent set up play by substitute So-Yun Ji.
The crowd of 973 was way down from the weekend’s 3,221 which saw the crowd given free entry to Kingsmeadow as the Blues won 3-0 against Everton.
American Riley slotted home with the clock ticking into added time. A smart left footer, at the edge of the Reading area, going across Mooney in to the far corner of her net.
Chelsea: Telford, Bright, Ingle, Asante, Carter, Riley, Kirby, England, Eriksson, Cooper, Cuthbert
Subs: Lindahl, Blundell, Carney, Ji, Engman, Andersson, Bachmann
Reading: Molineux, Pacheco, Williams, Bartip, Furness, Allen, Bruton, Harding Moore, Chaplin, Woodham
Subs Jane, Pearce, Davison, Farrow, Estcourt
Referee: Abigail Marriott