Women’s FA Cup – Reading Ladies 3 -2 Manchester United Ladies
Manchester United Ladies fell to a narrow defeat against Women’s Super League outfit Reading Ladies in this weekend’s Women’s FA Cup Quarter Final.
The Royals started the game brightly, dominating proceedings thanks to some slick passing, but Casey Stoney’s Red Devils ensured that Reading had nothing to show for their efforts. England international Siobhan Chamberlain was called into action just before the 30-minute mark, tipping Rachel Furness’ goal-bound header over the bar to keep the scores level. United had their chances at the other end, with Millie Turner’s effort scraping past the post after a pinpoint delivery from Alex Greenwood.
Just after the break, United were lucky not to be one down. An intricate set piece routine from Reading saw England legend Fara Williams pick out striker Brooke Chaplen just outside the penalty area, but her blistering shot was deflected out for a corner off the ever-present Millie Turner, much to the delight of United’s travelling Barmy Army.
With extra time beckoning, Reading had two chances to seal the victory. The first saw Remi Allen blaze her first-time effort over the bar, whilst William’s testing free kick was saved thanks to some incredible acrobatics from Chamberlain. Somehow, the scores were level when Will Finnie blew his full-time whistle.
The Royals started brighter in the first half of extra-time, but gave away a penalty in the 97th minute thanks to some tricky footwork from midfielder Lauren James. United skipper Alex Greenwood stepped up to take the spot-kick, firing it past Moloney’s fingertips – sending the United faithful into hysterics. However, the Red Devils were only able to keep the lead for two minutes, with Remi Allen scraping the ball over the line from a Rachel Furness cross.
As the side’s entered the final 15 minutes, it was United who took the lead. Former Doncaster Rovers striker Jess Sigsworth sent a teasing cross into the box, which was diverted into the net by Readings Tasha Harding. Kelly Chambers side saw the tie slipping away from them, but levelled the score moments later as Rachel Furness scored from inside the box. England veteran Fara Williams thought she’d scored the winner directly from a corner, but her effort was ultimately ruled out due to an infringement in the box. Despite some heroic defending from United, Icelandic international Rakel Honnudottir scored with what was the last kick of the game, ending The Red Devils debut season in the FA Cup.
Speaking after the match, United manager Casey Stoney said: “Extremely proud of the effort by the players today. Not our finest performance in possession and we have lots of lessons to learn. Win, lose or draw we learn together. We are all extremely disappointed but we will analyse, learn and bounce back. Thanks to the best fans around”.
United are in action this Sunday, as they take on Charlton Athletic in the FA Womens Championship. The Red Devils are currently second in the league, but could replace Tottenham Hotspur at the top of the table with a win against The Addicks.