Lehmann Double bursts the Bubble
Reading beaten 2-1 at the Madejski by West Ham
Alisha Lehmann scored twice for West Ham as they beat Reading 2-1 on the girls' return to the Madejski Stadium. Fara Williams' second half penalty wasn't enough to spark a Royals comeback.
It was a quick turnaround for the Royals as they welcomed West Ham United to the Madejski Stadium, following their progression into the FA Cup Quarter-Finals just three days prior.
The visitors started well but didn't put too much pressure on the Royals goal in the opening stages. The closest they came was through a tame Jane Ross shot which was comfortably held by Grace Moloney. At the other end, Natasha Harding managed to work some space before forcing Hammers goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse into a routine save.
The deadlock was broken on the 20th minute and it went the way of West Ham United. Cho So-Hyun played it through to Alisha Lehmann, who finished past Moloney, having raced clear of the Royals defence.
With 8 minutes remaining in the first half, the hosts almost levelled. Fara Williams' corner met the head of an unmarked Rachel Furness, who forced Moorhouse into an important save, as she tipped it over the bar.
Into the second half and West Ham doubled their advantage. It was scored in very similar fashion to the first as Lehmann collected a pass from Cho before dispatching confidently into the near top corner.
Reading did halve the deficit on the 66th minute. Lauren Bruton threaded a cute ball into the path of substitute Rakel Honnudottir, who was brought down by Moorhouse, resulting in a penalty. Fara Williams stepped up and calmly slotted into the bottom corner.
Williams wasn't far away from levelling for Reading but Moorehouse was equal to her long-range effort. Meanwhile, Honnudottir's dangerous delivery somehow wasn't steered home from close range, with the visitors defensively all at sea before clearing the danger.
After the game manager Kelly Chambers said:
"It's real disappointment. If you watch the first half, I truly believe that's where we lost the game today. We were a little bit flat footed and on the back foot. We didn't come out all guns blazing like we did on Sunday which was disappointing."
Forward Lauren Bruton said:
"It was fantastic on Sunday, beating Birmingham. But today I think we were lacking in loads of different areas. We need to pick ourselves up again. We don't like making excuses. We're fit enough to be able to sustain the same performance for two games in four days."
Reading: Moloney; Pacheco, Bartrip, Potter (C), Harding, Furness, Allen, Moore (Pearce 69), Williams, Bruton, Chaplen (Honnudottir 56)
Subs not used: Jane, Davison, Bailey, Estcourt, Laws
Scorers: Williams (Pen, 66)
Yellow cards: Allen
West Ham United: Moorhouse, Percival, Simon, Hendrix, Flaherty (C), Lehmann, Kiernan (Sampson 90), Ross, Longhurst, Reichardt (Visalli 73), Cho So-Hyun
Subs not used: Spencer, Kmita
Scorers: Lehmann (20,53)
Referee: Rebecca Welch