KELLY CHAMBERS slammed the performance of referee Christopher O’Donnell as Reading Women slipped to their heaviest league defeat since she took charge of the club three years ago.
Royals trailed 1-0 to Chelsea Ladies at half-time at Adams Park thanks to a Karen Carney header and three goals in 15 second half minutes from Drew Spence, Ji So Yun and Hannah Blundell sealed a 4-0 victory.
The hosts struggled to create many chances throughout, going closest in the final minute after a goalmouth scramble was deemed to have not crossed the line, while Harriet Scott was one of three Royals players booked by O’Donnell.
And Chambers could not hide her frustration.
“If you look at the goals, I believe a couple of them were offside,” she told The Wokingham Paper.
“We’ve scored, it’s gone over the line and the ref hasn’t given it.
“I don’t think it was a very good refereeing display which cost us a few things.”
She added: “Yes it’s a big defeat, but should some of the goals have stood? No.
“And that’s the frustration that’s come out in a lot of our girls, which it shouldn’t, but when you have a display like that from the referee then it’s only going to get you up tight.”
While some of the goals may have been dubious from a Reading perspective, the bigger focus is on trying to bounce back from two disappointing defensive performances.
Last campaign, Royals were synonymous with making life tough for their opponents, but Wednesday’s 4-0 reverse against Chelsea was preceded by a 4-2 loss at Liverpool Ladies on Friday night.
And Chambers says that while the new 3-4-2-1 will take some time to get used to, the team must stop shipping so many goals.
“We need to tighten up defensively,” admitted the manager.
“That’s something I need to assess after tonight and the Liverpool game and see what I do going forward.
“That’s what the Spring Series is about. At the end of the day, there’s nothing to win in the Spring Series.
“It’s about developing our players and developing different things so when we come to the competitive season we have different options and we’re not just one dimensional.”
She added: “It’s difficult because all of last season we never got defeated this heavily.
“But when you change something, people need to learn it, people need to adapt to it and that’s what we’re doing.
“We just need to make sure I reassess how we defend in that shape and what we do with the players that we’ve got and see how we go forward now.
“We need to make sure now that this doesn’t happen again.”