READING FC Women fell to their second successive defeat after losing a seven-goal thriller against Manchester City.

Royals played their full part in an enthralling home clash at Adams Park, but it was City who clinched the victory last night to extend their lead at the top of the FA Women’s Super League table to five points.

Kelly Chambers’ Reading took the lead in the fourth minute through Brooke Chaplen.

However, they were 3-1 down before the interval after Nikita Parris notched a first-half hat-trick.

The City striker equalised on 15 minutes after being set up by Jill Scott.

Reading, though, wasted two excellent chances to regain the lead only for Fara Williams and Remi Allen to both fire wide of the target.

They were costly misses as Parris scored two more goals in a three-minute burst to put City in control.

She converted from a cross in the 36th minute for 2-1 then completed her hat-trick on 39 minutes by bursting forward before tucking the ball past Royals keeper Grace Maloney.

The task got even harder for Chambers’ side when City grabbed a fourth nine minutes after the interval, this time Parris turning provider with a neat one-two with Demi Stokes who slid the ball home.

But Reading refused to lie down and were handed a lifeline on the hour when Allen was fouled in the box, allowing Williams to send Ellie Roebuck the wrong way from the spot.

And hopes of salvaging something from the night were raised when Kirsty Pearce scrambled home a third three minutes from time to set up a nervy finish.

But the visitors weathered some late Reading pressure to hold on for the victory.

Reading midfielder Rachel Furness admitted: “It was a frustrating evening for us. We did enough to get a result, we had enough chances, we caused Man City enough problems.

“We scored three goals and could have had another two or three, we were just unlucky at the end of the day.

“We’ll look at our strengths. We know when we’re on form we can beat anyone in this league.

“We’ve come up against Man City, who are top of the league and in my opinion, we should have got something.”

Parris stated: “We knew Reading were a tough team away with their physicality We had to continue to score goals but defensively we had to stay structured.”

Royals, seventh in the league standings, can now look forward to their Women’s FA Cup quarter-final home clash against Manchester United Women this Sunday.

The tie against a United side form the division below takes place at Adams Park (2pm ko) followed by a fortnight’s break.

Reading: Moloney, Williams, Bartrip, Pearce, Allen, Harding, Honnudottir (Bruton 52), Bailey, Moore (Pacheco 70), Chaplen (Furness 85), Potter. Subs not used: Jane, Davison, Howard, Laws.

Manchester City: Roebuck, Stokes, Beatie, Houghton, McManus, Scott, Walsh, Lawley (Recnie 73), Wullaert (Bonner 88), Parris, Stanway. Subs not used: Bardsley, Bonner, Hemp, Weir, Campbell, Emslie. Booked: McManus 68, Parris 90.

Referee: Tom Reeves.

Attendance: 449.

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