REPORT: Reading Women 4-0 Watford Ladies – Dominant Royals end home win drought

Molly Bartrip
Molly Bartrip netted her first goal of the season (Pics by Neil Graham)

Reading Women ended their 20 month home win drought with a 4-0 victory over Watford Ladies.

Royals had won just once since permanently moving to Adams Park, in their first game there way back in March 2016 against Millwall Lionesses.

But they finally ended the unwanted streak thanks to strikes from Fara Williams, Molly Bartrip and Kirsty Linnett before a late own goal to make a perfect start to their Continental Cup campaign.

Kelly Chambers made some changes from the weekend 5-0 league win over Bristol City with Mandy van den Berg, Anna Green, Rachel Furness and Linnett all earning recalls, while there was a rare start for goalkeeper Grace Moloney.

Kirsty Linnett grabbed her first Reading goal

But Moloney would have little to do for the entirety of the contest.

Reading took an early lead with less than five minutes on the clock as Williams guided the ball into the bottom corner from close range.

But any hopes that the hosts would run riot were quickly quelled as Watford dug in and made Reading work.

The game was being played almost entirely in the Watford half with Rachel Rowe seeing a shot blocked while Williams was denied by goalkeeper Fran Kitching and Linnett blazed wide when she should have done better.

The visitors did make one dangerous break forwards through Rinsola Babajide, but van den Berg recovered well to make a strong challenge.

And the lead was doubled on the stroke of half-time when a deep cross to the back post was met by the unmarked Bartrip to head home.

Chambers made two switches at the break, bringing on Becky Jane and Brooke Chaplen for Rowe and Allen and Reading began the second half brightly.

A short corner from Jo Potter was fired over from 20 yards by Williams before a golden chance was wasted as substitute Chaplen somehow scooped over from close range with an open goal at her mercy.

And the Royals continued to turn the screw as Watford tired with Linnett having a goal ruled out and being denied by a fine Kitching stop before finally netting her first Reading goal with a well-placed effort.

Reading were content with their lead, almost adding a fourth goal when Furness’ header hit the crossbar.

The visitors did almost grab a consolation when Babajide curled towards the bottom corner, but the ball crept just wide of the post.

And the hosts added some gloss in stoppage time when Green’s low cross was turned into her own net by Merrick Will.

Reading continue their cup campaign with a trip to Arsenal on Sunday.

READING: Moloney; Rowe (Jane 45), Potter (c), van den Berg, Green; Bartrip, Allen (Chaplen 45), Furness; Bruton, Williams, Linnett.
Subs not used: Earps, Scott, Pearce, Clifford.
Goals: Williams (5), Bartrip (45), Linnett (68), Will (OG) (90+1)

WATFORD: Kitching; Cudone (Ward 66), Nuttall (c), McCarthy, Jones, McKeag; Maple (Fatuga-Dada 66), Will, Puddefoot; Murray (Petkova 79), Babajide.
Subs not used: Baranowska, Kerr, Bell.
Yellow card: Murray (70)

Referee: Sian Massey-Ellis
Attendance: 211

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