READING Women were edged out 3-2 by Chelsea in a close encounter on the final day of the season.
A second half filled with goals eventually saw Chelsea run out as winners as Bethany England scored the decisive goal.
Chelsea took an early lead through Ji So-Yun who latched onto a cleared header and drove a fierce volley which bounced into the ground before nestling into the top right hand corner.
The visitors continued to threaten Reading and came agonisingly close to doubling their advantage as they worked a good opportunity in the box to cut the ball back for former Royal Fran Kirby, but her shot was deflected onto the post and then cleared from danger.
In a manic two minutes which saw three goals scored, Reading began the half by scoring the equaliser as Fara Williams scooped a delightful through ball to Natasha Harding who squeezed her shot past Hedvig Lindahl.
But Chelsea quickly restored their lead as Karen Carney’s cross inadvertently found its way into the side of Moloney’s net.
The extraordinary few minutes continued as Reading found their way back into the game again. Harding raced onto a long through ball and exquisitely chipped the ball over the goalkeeper but watched on as the ball bounced off the crossbar but Williams was quickest to react and she headed in the rebound.
Kirby dribbled seamlessly into the box past two Reading defenders and squared the ball for England who slid in at the far post but from just three yards out her shot cannoned back off the post.
But England would make amends for her missed opportunity as she latched onto a loose touch by Jade Moore in the box and rolled the ball into the bottom corner to snatch all three points.
The defeat means that the Royals finished fifth in the table while Chelsea’s win saw them overtake Birmingham City to finish third.
“I thought it was an even game, we gave a good account of ourselves especially after our last game which we’re disappointed with,” said Reading manager Kelly Chambers.
Reading: Moloney, Harding, Pearce, Howard, Pacheco, Moore, Furness, Williams, Allen, Farrow (Jane 45’), Bruton.
Unused substitutes: Davison, Estcourt, Laws, Woodham
Chelsea: Lindahl, Mjelde, Bright, Eriksson, Andersson (Blundell 68’), Ingle, Ji (Thorisdottir 77’), Carney, Kirby, England, Cuthbert (Engman 45’).
Unused substitutes: Carter, Bachmann, Spence, Telford.
Goalscorers: Ji (8’), Harding (50’), Carney (51’), Williams (52’), (England 64’).