By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow Stadium
Chelsea 5 v Reading 0
2485 in attendance
Sam Kerr and Beth England propelled Chelsea back to the top of the WSL, leapfrogging Arsenal once again by netting a brace each in The Blues’ 5-0 thumping of Reading at Kingsmeadow.
Canadian Jessie Fleming opened the score before the striking duo took over and hammered home the remaining four goals to avenge the 1-0 loss at Reading in December.
The champions are now a point ahead of the north Londoners with both sides having four games left.
It’s the international break now before the two top sides go head-to-head in the FA Cup semi-final at Meadow Park on April 17.
Chelsea had all the early pressure, Guro Reiten almost, followed up a Jessie Fleming byline cross, but the ball, inched wide of Grace Maloney’s goal.
Reading to their credit, put bodies in front of the ball as the home side peppered their penalty area – making numerous last-ditch tackles and hacking of the ball away at every opportunity.
England almost scored, and perhaps should have done on 35 minutes when she met a perfect Reiten corner. But the striker smashed her header straight at Maloney.
She had another chance a minute later, but after skipping past Maloney, the angle was too tight and she cut the ball back which was then cleared.
But with five minutes left of the half, a quick break by Chelsea saw Reiten send across, from the left a deep ball to England. She managed to nod the ball back to the centre of the area, where Fleming chested it down and smashed home a low, right-footed drive into the right-hand corner of Maloney’s net to put the champions 1-0 up.
Reading’s Deanne Rose tried a speculative 20-yarder two minutes later but it sailed over Zecira Musovic’s crossbar.
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
But it was business as usual as the Blues went for the jugular – and on 53 minutes they got it.
A fine by line cross was met by England whose brilliantly executed the perfect right-footed volley that arrowed into the back of Maloney’s net.
Number three wasn’t too far behind, and the goal difference took a hefty boost when Reiten intercepted a poor cross field pass. She raced into the Reading area, then cut the ball back and Kerr was on hand to scoop the ball home.
There was no scoop on 77 minutes when Kerr latched onto another perfect pass from Reiten. She thumped the ball past Maloney to make it 4-0.
Carter, Reiten and Nouwen were then replaced by Jonna Andersson, Niamh Charles and Maren Mjelde.
This was quickly followed by Fleming and Erin Cuthbert, with Alsu Abdullina and Drew Spence.
The Blues were awarded a penalty deep into added time and England stepped up to net her second and Chelsea’s fifth.
Teams: Chelsea, Musovic, Nouwen, Bright, Ingle, Carter, England, Reiten, Eriksson, Fleming, Kerr, Cuthbert
Subs, Katrin-Berger, Mjelde, Charles, Spence, Andersson, Abdullina, Thompson
Reading, Maloney, Bryson, Peplow, Evans, Rose, Eikeland, Harding, Harries, Cooper, Rowe, Woodham
Subs, Stewart, Dowie, Roberts, Primmer, Troelsgaard
Referee: Emily Heaslip