The late Chloe Kelly winner for Manchester City kept her Women’s Super League title challenge on track after a thrilling encounter with Reading at the Academy Stadium.
Lauren Hemp’s great solo run got Kelly to play from close range in the 87th minute.
An eleventh WSL win in a row gives City one point over title rivals Chelsea, who will face Aston Villa on Sunday.
The reading dropped to seventh place, one point behind Brighton.
City looked like a frustrating evening as chance after chance begged in the first half. Reading goalkeeper Grace Moloney showed an impressive performance and scored numerous saves.
Hemp hit the post when it was set up by Georgia Stanway before they missed a golden opportunity from close range.
There were also chances for Lucy Bronze and Caroline Weir, while US international Rose Lavelle tipped a Moloney shot over the bar early on.
Reading’s Amalie Eikeland forced a smart save against opposing goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck as the Royals posed a threat to counterattack and wanted to earn a point for their relentless defensive efforts before Kelly finally broke the impasse.
City boss Gareth Taylor had called for a reaction after his side’s defeat in the Champions League quarter-finals to Barcelona, and despite the wait, that result gave City a strong hold in a two-horse race for the title.
Their time at the top could be short, however, as defending champions Chelsea will return to the summit should he win against relegation fighter Villa.
The only downside to City’s win was the replacement of recently-returned defender Demi Stokes just before the second half. She suffered an obvious injury before immediately walking down the tunnel with a staff member.
Man city women
- 20thbronzeBooked at 45 minutes
- 3StokesReplaced byMorganat the 59 ‘protocol
- 21LavelleReplaced byMewisat the 62 ‘protocol
- 10StanwayReplaced byWhiteat the 68 ‘protocol
- 11HardingBooked at 40 minutes
- 5Bar tripBooked at 90 minutes
- 14thcooperBooked at 86 minutes
- 28WoodhamBooked at 47 minutes
- 4thWilliamsReplaced byCarterat the 68 ‘protocol
- 23RoweReplaced byHarriesat the 82 ‘protocol
- 9EikelandBooked at 78 minutes
- 32Children’s home
End of game, Manchester City Women 1, Reading Women 0.
The second half ends with Manchester City Women 1, Reading Women 0.
Molly Bartrip (Reading Women) receives a yellow card for a bad foul.
Chloe Kelly (Manchester City Women) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Molly Bartrip (Reading Women).
Gate! Manchester City Women 1, Reading Women 0. Chloe Kelly (Manchester City Women) shot her left foot into the lower left corner at close range. Prepared by Lauren Hemp.
Deanna Cooper (Reading Women) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Esme Morgan (Manchester City Women).
Danielle Carter (Reading Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Manchester City Women. The corner was caused by Grace Moloney.
Substitution, women reading. Emma Harries replaces Rachel Rowe.
Foul by Alex Greenwood (Manchester City Women).
Natasha Harding (Reading Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Ellen White (Manchester City Women) right footed shot from the center of the box is blocked. Prepared by Caroline Weir.
Missed attempt. Caroline Weir (Manchester City Women) left footed shot from the center of the box misses to the right. Prepared by Chloe Kelly.
Amalie Eikeland (Reading Women) receives a yellow card for a bad foul.
Lucy Bronze (Manchester City Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Amalie Eikeland (Reading Women).
Missed attempt. Samantha Mewis (Manchester City Women) header from the center of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Lauren Hemp with a cross.
Missed attempt. Ellen White (Manchester City Women) right footed shot from the center of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Lucy Bronze with a cross.