Women’s Super League champions Chelsea suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at Reading as Deanne Rose’s early strike proved the only goal at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.
Emma Hayes’s side fell behind in the fourth minute when they lost possession and the Canada forward Rose advanced from her own half, played a one-two with Emma Harries, and slotted past Zecira Musovic.
Chelsea’s response included a Sam Kerr header which went wide and Joanna Andersson sent a shot over the crossbar before Royals defender Gemma Evans came to the fore around the half-hour mark, making crucial blocks to deny Millie Bright, Beth England and Kerr.
Evans’s fine work continued after the break as she got in the way of another Kerr effort and then made a last-ditch tackle when substitute Fran Kirby was played in. That was either side of the Wales international going down in the visitors’ box after contact from Bright, with nothing given by referee Louise Saunders.
As Chelsea’s search for a leveller continued, Pernille Harder sent two headers off-target and the Reading goalkeeper Grace Moloney dealt with efforts from Guro Reiten and Melanie Leupolz.
Harder then saw another tame header grabbed by Moloney, and Kirby curled the ball over before the final whistle confirmed victory for Kelly Chambers’ side, Reading‘s first-ever WSL win over Chelsea.
While they move up to fifth in the table, having made it four wins in a five-match unbeaten run, second-placed Chelsea’s first defeat since their opening match of the campaign leaves them a point behind leaders Arsenal, who host bottom side Leicester on Sunday.