The Wokingham Paper

Kelly Chambers feels ‘abysmal’ referee spoiled Reading FC Women’s Mad Stad return

Rebecca Welch points to the spot
Kelly Chambers was unimpressed by referee Rebecca Welch (Pics by Neil Graham)

Reading Women boss Kelly Chambers says the “abysmal” performance of referee Rebecca Welch ruined her side’s clash against West Ham United at Madejski Stadium.

The Royals fell to a 2-1 defeat in the Women’s Super League clash thanks to an Alisha Lehmann brace and while Welch gave a second half penalty to the hosts, which was converted by Fara Williams, Chambers was unhappy with the general performance of the official.

Chambers admits her side were far from their best

“I thought she was abysmal if I’m being brutally honest,” said Chambers.

“I thought the referee’s performance was very, very poor for both sides. There’s a lot of stuff that she missed that could’ve been different.

“I think she spoiled a game of football.

“You’ve got 2,000 plus sat in the stands and you’re putting on a great game of football and one person in the middle of the pitch is spoiling it.

“You could speak to any fan, and I did after the game, everything was about the referee.”

She added: “Unfortunately it’s not (a rarity). This is probably the first time I’ve ever spoken out about it because I actually think that was one of the worst ones I’ve had, ever.

Rachel Furness suffered a head injury

“The game is growing. We’re professional and we need to do something about the officiating to bring that up to speed and make sure that those referees can stay up with the speed of the game and can make decisions.

“You’re in the middle of the pitch to make decisions and there were no decisions made.

“I know the FA are trying to do something about it and they’re using this season to do it, but it’s spoiling the season.

“Everybody needs to get up with what women’s professional football is now.

“This is probably the second week in a row now that we’ve had bad refs and I know previously Matt Beard (West Ham manager) has had questions about that referee (Welch) and has sent stuff in.

“We can send stuff in (to the FA) and we will be, because we’re not someone that normally does it. When we’ve had it, it takes a lot of work to do but it’s whether anything gets done about that.”

REACTION: Every word from a frustrated Jose Gomes after Reading are held by Rotherham

As for the game itself, Chambers believes a slow start proved costly as the Royals failed to replicate their impressive display to beat Birmingham in the FA Cup three days earlier.

“I think we were a little bit lacklustre in the first half,” she said.

Over 2,000 fans came to Madejski Stadium

“Whether it is down to tiredness, obviously the performance and result probably took a lot out of us against Birmingham and then to have that turnaround in a few days is hard.

“I think we lost the game in the first half.”

Reading face no game now until March 13 against Manchester City due to the international break before their FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United on March 17.

And Chambers also feels the league needs to address the lack of regular matches.

“Our last league game before this was January 27, then you go here (February 20) and then the next one is March 13, so it’s crazy,” said the Royals boss.

“That’s where the league needs to change. We need to have more games, more games consistently.

“I understand the international breaks but it’s not right to have these big breaks in the league and you can’t get a run of form.

“If you do get a run of form, you can’t stick to it and that’s the frustrating thing.”


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