Reading beat Clifton to finish third

Reading Finals 2014 Story 450

Reading 6 (5)
Becky Halle 1, 35, 54 (FG, FG, PC)
Jess Brooker 6 (FG)
Alex Danson 10, 19 (FG, FG)

Clifton 0 (0)

Reading brushed off yesterday’s disappointing defeat with a 6 – 0 victory over Clifton in the third/fourth Championship play-off. 

Reading got off to a flying start and took the lead in the first minute through Becky Halle. She deflected a cross from the left hand side and there was nothing Caitlin Jefferies could do in the Clifton goal, as the ball flew in just above the back board. Five minutes later Reading were 2 – 0 up as Jess Brooker controlled a loose ball in the circle and swept home on her reverse from close range.  

England international and Premier Division top goal scorer Alex Danson soon got in on the action to give her side a 3 – 0 lead, with a trademark reverse stick strike, fired low into the bottom corner. This sparked Clifton into attack and they began putting pressure on the Reading defence. However, Kate Walsh was commanding at the back and continued to release the forwards on dangerous counter attacks, resulting in Reading scoring two more before the break. Firstly, England team mates Susie Gilbert and Danson combined down the right hand side and Danson was able to get her second of the game, tipping it past Jefferies after 19 minutes. Halle then gave her side a 5 – 0 lead going into half time as she pounced on the end of a cross that was fired across the face of the goal.

Reading continued the second half as they had finished the first, pressing high and looking threatening in attack. Sam Quek was lively on the right hand side, causing problems for the Clifton defence and winning numerous penalty corners. In the 54th minute, her efforts were rewarded as Reading got their sixth and Halle her hat-trick from a penalty corner. Walsh dummied from the top of the circle and the ball with slipped to Halle on the left who slapped it goal wards. Jefferies got her pads to it but there was nothing she could do to stop the ball sneaking over the line.     

Danson almost got her hat-trick in the last ten minutes but she was unable to convert Brooker’s powerful strike at the back post and the final scored remained at 6 – 0. The victory means that Reading finish third in the Premier Division for the 2013/14 season.    

Speaking after their win, Reading's Alex Danson had this to say: "We were really disappointed after yesterday’s game; all credit to Surbiton, they played a fantastic game, but we came out today, played really well and came away with a win so we’re really happy with that. Looking ahead to Europe, we want to get to the final and the icing on the cake would be winning! It’s not been done for a while by an English team so that’s our aim and that will be our real focus."