WSL: Reading v Manchester City
Manchester City clinch the third Champions League spot on the final day of the season
Girls on the Ball
21 May 2022
Manchester City secured third place in the WSL and the final Champions League spot for next season with a 4-0 win over Reading. Lauren Hemp and Bunny Shaw scored in the first half and Ellen White and Alex Greenwood added another two goals late in the game.
Before the game started, both sides lined up and formed a guard of honour for Brooke Chaplen who recently announced her retirement from football. Brooke was presented with a framed Reading shirt in the centre circle by manager Kelly Chambers.
Knowing if they won then they would claim third spot, Manchester City started well and Hemp saw a cross blocked by the Reading defence in the 3rd minute. Reading’s Deanne Rose saw her cross go into the side netting four minutes later as they attacked.
Georgia Stanway had the best chance of the early stages of the match when she saw her shot from outside the area pushed away by Grace Moloney in the 9th minute.
Five minutes later, Shaw controlled the ball and turned but her shot from around 12 yards went wide. In the 19th minute, Chloe Kelly sent her shot over from the edge of the area. City then saw a header from a free kick go wide as they looked for the opening goal.
Reading did have the odd chance at the other end and in the 25th minute Lily Woodham shot from outside the area went well over.
It was Manchester City who were having more of the chances though and two minutes later they were back on the attack but Kelly’s shot was held by Moloney. On the half hour mark, Hemp’s low shot went into the side netting.
In the 32nd minute, Rachel Rowe played Rose through but she also sent her shot into the side netting as Reading looked dangerous on the break.
A minute later and City did take the lead when Keira Walsh’s nice chipped pass found Hemp who shot into the net.
Manchester City went looking for a second and in the 37th minute Shaw’s low shot was saved and a minute later, Caroline Weir shot wide from around 20-yards out.
They did score a second in the 40th minute when Weir got to the byline and pulled the ball back to Shaw who finished.
Reading had the last chance of the half when Rose got away down the right-hand side, cut back in but sent her shot over. City went into the break 2-0 ahead and had been the better of the sides but Reading had had a few chances with Rose looking their most threatening player.
Manchester City had a chance in the first minute of the second half when Kelly sent a low cross from the right across the goal but neither Shaw or Hemp could get a final touch on it.
Woodham sent in a really good cross in in the 50th minute that Natasha Dowie was just unable to get onto and Ellie Roebuck claimed the ball as Reading looked to get a goal back.
A minute later at the other end, Shaw shot over from just inside the area.
There were chances being created at both ends now and in the 53rd minute Reading had another opportunity when Rose sent a nice cross into the penalty area but this time Rowe was just unable to get her head onto it. Another Woodham cross two minutes later wasn’t met cleanly and the chance was gone.
In the 56th minute, it was City’s turn to have an effort when Shaw saw her shot deflected wide. Following this fairly frantic start to the second half, there was actually a quiet spell chance wise for the next ten minutes or so.
Manchester City almost scored a third in the 69th minute but Kelly saw her effort brilliantly kept out by the Moloney’s fingertips. Three minutes later, Shaw saw her shot from just inside the area saved, though this one was a lot easier for Moloney.
A dangerous Hemp cross was just missed by Lucy Bronze in the 79th minute. Alex Greenwood sent in a free kick in the 83rd minute that bounced in the penalty area before being claimed by the Reading goalkeeper.
City did score a third in the 85th minute when second half substitute Ellen White headed in a corner.
Hayley Raso was bought down in the area in the 90th minute and City were given a penalty. Greenwood stepped up to take it and sent the ball into the net from 12-yards.
The final whistle went not long after and it was Gareth Taylor’s side who finished in third place and qualified for the Champions League ahead of their city rivals. Meanwhile, Reading finished the season in eighth place. City have been on an amazing run since mid-November, losing only one game in all competitions and should go into next Sunday’s FA Cup final full of confidence.
Reading: Moloney (GK), Bryson, Harding, Evans, Cooper, Woodham, Eikeland (Primmer 81’), Vanhaevermaet (Troelsgaard 74’), Rowe (Peplow 81’), Dowie, Rose
Unused substitutes: Stewart, Poulter, Roberts
Booked – Woodham, Primmer
Manchester City: Roebuck (GK), Bronze, Kennedy, Greenwood, Blakstad, Walsh (Coombs 79’), Stanway (Angeldahl 86’), Weir (Losada 74’), Kelly (Raso 74’), Shaw (White 79’), Hemp
Unused substitutes: Keating, Mace, Benameur
Goals – Hemp 33’, Shaw 40’, White 85’, Greenwood 90’+1 pen
Referee – Elizabeth Simms