FA Cup Quarter Final: Reading v Chelsea
Chelsea advance to the semi-finals as they hunt down a third successive FA Cup after cruising past Reading 3-1.
19 March 2023
Current FA Cup champions, Chelsea, booked their place in the FA Cup semi-final thanks to goals from Jess Carter, Maren Mjelde and Guro Reiten.
With a busy week ahead on the road for Emma Hayes’ side she named a line-up with six changes to the team that beat Manchester United last weekend. Amongst others, attacking duo Sam Kerr and Lauren James dropped to the bench with Niamh Charles leading the line.
Kelly Chambers, who was keen for her side to bounce back after their 4-0 defeat to Arsenal last week, made just three changes with Lily Woodham returning to the side following a spell out with injury.
The last time the Blues travelled to Berkshire, Reading inflicted a rare 1-0 loss to the current WSL champions. The Royals’ will be hopeful for a similar scoreline as they aim to make the FA Cup semi-final again after a penalty loss in the same stage in 2019.
It was a relatively quiet start from both sides with both teams enjoying spells of possession, although nothing to test either keeper. Charles’ had the first chance of the game as she took advantage of Grace Maloney’s poor pass, but the striker struggled to find the target.
Reading had their fair share of chances, with most joy coming from the wings but the quality in the final third was lacking. Chelsea started to grow into the game and control the majority of possession.
The visitors broke the deadlock midway through the first half when an initial corner was not dealt with by the Reading defence. Reiten picked up the ball before delivering an inviting cross to unmarked Carter at the back post who was able to tap it in.
Minutes after Chelsea opened the scoring the visitors had a chance to add a second. Brooke Hendrix conceded a penalty after clattering into the back of Charles. Mjelde was able to calmly send the ball in the bottom left corner after sending Grace Maloney the wrong way.
Reading responded well to going two behind and pulled one back for themselves only for it to be ruled offside. Sanne Troelsgaard Nielson picked up on a loose pass before emphatically thumping it home after a long wait the referee chalked it off for offside.
Lily Woodham was a threat down the left hand side and delivered a good ball into the box, but the final finish was missing from Charlie Wellings whose header went just wide.
Halftime: Reading 0-2 Chelsea
Chambers made one change a half time with Gemma Evans replacing Brooke Hendrix.
Chelsea found their third, just five minutes into the second half following a clinical passage of attacking play. A pinpoint through ball by Johanna Rytting Kaneryd was met by Alsu Adbullina who unselfishly squared it to Reiten to make it 3-0.
Following the third goal the home side struggled to see much of the ball and Chelsea looked to dominate and see out the game. Maloney had to remain switched on as she made a strong save to deny Charles her goal and Chelsea’s fourth.
Charlie Wellings found herself in space after a Chelsea defensive error but fired her shot across goal.
After her goal was ruled out offside earlier Troelsgaard found the back of the net for the second time, and this time it stood. Wellings did well to keep the ball in play before finding Troelsgaard who did well to hold of Millie Bright and find the left corner.
Reading continued to look for a second to increase the pressure on Chelsea, but the visitors remained stubborn in their defending and Reading struggled to find the qualify in the final third.
Fulltime: Reading 1–3 Chelsea
The current FA Cup champions profess to the semi-finals, despite Reading’s chances they struggled to make them count and their focus will now turn to the WSL. Chambers’ side will now prepare for two crucial games against Brighton and Leicester.
Meanwhile, Emma Hayes’ will prepare for her sides’ trip to Lyon in the first leg of their UEFA Women’s Champions league quarter final, before travelling to Manchester City in the WSL.
Reading: Moloney, Bryson (Wade 65’), Mukandi (c), Wellings, Eikeland, Hendrix (Evans 45’), Mayi Kith, Moore, Rowe, Woodham, Troelsgaard
Substitutes: Burns, Evans, Wade, Caldwell, Jane, Vanhaevermaet, Meadows Tuson
Goal: Troelsgaard 70’
Chelsea: Musovic, Bright, Ingle (Akpan 65’), Carter, Reiten (Claypole 65’), Eriksson (c), Fleming (Blades 89’), Mjelde, Rytting Kaneryd (Brown 90’), Charles (Leupolz 80’), Adbullina
Substitutes: Berger, Leupolz, James, Kerr, Buchanan, Claypole, Akpan, Blades, Brown
Goals: Carter (23’), Mjelde (25’), Reiten (50’)