Reading 3-2 Lewes
FA Women’s League Cup
Sunday 20 October
A cagey start for both teams was interrupted after Reading’s second early corner, when Utland turned in the box and fired the game’s first shot on target into Faye Baker’s arms.
Lewes were clearly testing the field for counter attacking opportunities as Powell and O’Rourke’s wide play brought the Reading defence into action.
But Lewes were victims of their own ambition at 15 minutes. A loose ball back to Baker was pounced upon by Farah Williams and while Baker excellently saved with her feet, players of William’s experience don’t miss twice.
Lewes however were undeterred, especially a lively Zoe Ness who beat the Reading defence and shot low to Rachel Laws’ left side. Laws dived right, but her feet did the work for her.
With a spring in their step, Lewes executed counter attack after counter attack. It paid dividends when Powell’s drive from the left side opened up an opportunity for Donovan. She collected the pass into midfield, took a touch and fired in to the bottom left corner with the Reading keeper rooted to the spot.
Lewes knew not to let up. Another counter and O’Rourke found half of the Madejski in front of her. She cut in and laid it back to Noble, who, from some 30 yards, lofted her shot over a helpless dive from Laws. It flew into the bottom corner for 2-1 Lewes.
With five minutes of the half remaining, Baker once again proved a formidable opponent with a point blank save with her feet. Reading’s James had attempted to fire in a loose ball but was thwarted as the last meaningful action of the first half.
Reading came storming out for the second half and immediately forced a goal line clearance from Caitlyn Hayes.
Farah Williams proved to be the catalyst for change again. A ball into the Rooks’ box was cleared to the Reading captain and from what can only be described as ‘Williams’ Range’ she launched a strike that was too powerful for a diving Faye Baker who got a hand to the shot but was unable to keep it out.
Baker had to stay focused shortly after when Moore attempted a volley from close range. Reading maintained their pressure with some fierce running from substitute Eikeland. Cleverley’s attempt to wrestle her off the ball earned her the first booking of the match.
Eikeland continued to cause havoc as her low cross was deflected, requiring a save from Baker. The Rooks keeper continued to impress by tipping over from a corner.
The pressure, in the end, proved too much to handle for the Rooks. In the 93rd minute, another jinking Eikeland run took her to the byline and she chipped over all onrushing players bar Fara Williams, who was on hand to nod in.
With that, Williams completed her hat-trick and Lewes’ chance of taking something from a penalty shootout was shattered.
Lewes Captain Faye Baker said: ‘I’m extremely proud to say that we’ve just held a WSL1 side for 92 minutes. The main thing this week was to show some fight and show that we can work hard and match teams’ intensity.’
‘I think we shocked Reading in the first half and we frustrated them. It took a big second half for them to come out and beat us. Everyone put their bodies on the line so I think the girls can be proud.’
Fran Alonso said: ‘It was a very positive performance against one of the best teams in the country. Losing in the 93rd minute can be heartbreaking but I said to the girls that they worked hard and it was a good performance. They can be very happy and proud today.’
Lewes Starting XI:
Baker, Cleverley, Taylor (Howell 88), Hayes, Powell, Noble, O’Rourke, Savva, King (Rowbotham 82), Donovan, Ness
Unused Subs:, Rood, Jones, Lane
Reading Starting XI: Laws, Leine, Pacheco (Moore 45), Williams, James, Honnudottir (Eikeland 45), Utland (Farrow 65), Chaplen, Rowe, Howard, Skeels
Unused Subs: Moloney, Roberts
NEXT HOME MATCH: FA Women’s League Cup
Lewes v Chelsea
SATURDAY 2 November, 2pm KO
Tickets on sale HERE