Man City ease to 4-1 win over Reading to close gap at top of WSL

Manchester City closed the gap at the top of WSL back to three points after a dominant 4-1 win to bottom-of-the-table Reading at the City Football Academy.

Chasing down their local rivals Manchester United, City were dealt an early blow when the Royals took the lead less than a minute in. A mess from the kickoff, there was little the hosts could do to scramble clear as they were pressed by the visitors with Sanne Troelsgaard picking out the far side of Ellie Roebuck's goal with an eye-catching finish.

- Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

The hosts responded well and began to dominate the proceedings and pulled level with a scrappy goal on the quarter hour after Bunny Shaw hounded Diane Caldwell with Chloe Kelly the one to nudge the ball home.

The hosts doubled their lead two minutes later when Alex Greenwood's corner was met in the air by Shaw who took her tally to 18 WSL goals in 19 games this season, taking her one goal ahead of Aston Villa's Rachel Daly in the golden boot race.

Reading continued to dig out chances on the counter with Troelsgaard left frustrated after failing to take her chance to make it 2-2 after she'd pulled Roebuck clear to leave the goal open.

It proved to be a costly mistake as just two minutes into the second half, City made it three when Lauren Hemp turned the ball home from very close range after being found by Kelly's low cross.

City could have had many more had it not been for a combination of Reading's defending and their own poor finishing but they did manage to find a fourth through captain, Steph Houghton. The centre back grabbed her second goal of the season with a trademark free kick.

Still just three points adrift of United, City have strengthened their position in second place although they sit just four points clear of Chelsea who have three games in hand, as well as six points on Arsenal who have played two less than the Citizens.

Pushed down to 12th after Leicester City's win yesterday, the score is an additional blow for Reading as their goal difference is now at -23 and could easily factor with how tight the relegation race is getting.