FRAN Kirby scored twice on her return for Chelsea Women to condemn her old club Reading FC Women to a 4-0 defeat.

The Reading-born England striker’s brace helped Blues claim a comfortable victory in an FA Continental Tyres quarter final at Kingsmeadow to extend their unbeaten run to 10 matches.

It took Kirby just three minutes to get on the scoresheet on her first Chelsea start for more than two months with a crisp finish from six yards.

Chelsea dominated the early stages with Kirby setting up Beth England whose shot was saved by Grace Maloney.

Maloney came to the rescue again when she denied Erin Cuthbert in a one-on-one situation.

However, the home side doubled their lead on 37 minutes when Anita Asante scored from a tight angle for her first Chelsea goal.

Royals almost reduced the deficit soon after only for the unmarked Brooke Chaplen to head wide of the target from a Mayumi Pacheco assist.

Blues regained control with Kirby uncharacteristically failing to test Maloney from an excellent position.

However, she made no mistake in the 86th minute when she smashed a low finish past Maloney to make it 3-0.

And Royals’ defence was breached again in added on time when Ali Riley netted from the edge of the box to put gloss on the scoreline.

Reading forwards Natasha Harding argued: “I thought for some parts we controlled the game but Chelsea showed their quality, especially with pace on the break and they deserved to win.

“It’s tough to take because we wanted to get to a cup final this year. I thought some of the girls put in a really good performance today and we can be proud of ourselves.”

She added: “Fran played great. I said to her: ‘Why did you pick this game to come back?’

“She’s a quality player and everyone knows what she brings. We tried to nullify the balls into her but as soon as she gets half a yard in the box, there’s no stopping her.”

Kirby, who was returning from a hamstring injury, stated: “It was the best performance I’ve had this season. It felt nice to get back to scoring ways. It’s the sharpest I’ve felt in quite some time.

“I want to stay at 100 per cent. I can’t hide the fact that I want to go to the World Cup in the summer, so I will be doing everything I can to make sure I am ready for Chelsea and England.”

Chelsea: Telford, Bright, Ingle, Asante, Carter, Riley, Kirby, Eriksson, England (Bachmann 75), Cooper, Cuthbert (So-Yun 80). Subs not used: Lindahl, Blundell, Andersson, Carney.

Reading: Moloney, Pacheco, Williams, Bartrip, Furness, Allen, Bruton (Jane 70), Harding, Moore (Potter 65), Chaplen, Woodham (Farrow 72). Subs not used: Pearce, Davison, Estcourt, Kite.

Referee: Abigail Marriott.

Attendance: 973.

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