Taylor refuses to brag as City beat rivals to Europe
At the Select Car Leasing Stadium
Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor refused to taunt the club’s neighbours despite beating Manchester United in the race to the Champions League. City secured a spot in the elite European club competition thanks to a comfortable win over Reading, but Taylor refused to make the achievement all about local bragging rights. “I’m pleased to have got over the line because it probably didn’t look as though it would happen early in the season amid some iffy results,” Taylor said. “It’s a great achievement, but it certainly doesn’t give me any extra satisfaction that we pipped our local rivals. It’s got nothing to do with the rivalry.” City were soon into their stride yesterday as they set their sights on securing third spot in the Women’s Super League. Georgia Stanway’s 20-yard daisy-cutter was saved by Grace Moloney before Khadija Shaw shot wide. Mid-table Reading defended diligently and threatened in attack thanks to impressive striker Deanne Rose, who saw her shot fly wide after she outpaced City right-back Lucy Bronze. That let-off invigorated City, and Lauren Hemp eased their nerves in the 33rd minute by sliding the ball past Moloney following smart work by Keira Walsh. The second goal followed seven minutes later. Caroline Weir cleverly worked her way to the byline before teeing up Shaw, who finished from close range. Rose continued to be a handful but, after getting the better of Alex Greenwood and cutting in, she put her shot over the bar. City slowed play down after the break, but Canada international Rose kept the defenders on their toes, although she failed to test City goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck. At the other end, Moloney brilliantly denied Chloe Kelly in what was turning into a perfect warm-up for City’s FA Cup final showdown against WSL champions Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday. Substitute Ellen White, on for Shaw, effectively settled matters when she rose above Reading’s defence to nod in Vicky Losada’s 85th-minute corner. Greenwood ensured that City’s WSL campaign ended on a high by converting a stoppage-time penalty after Lily Woodham fouled Hayley Raso. Reading manager Kelly Chambers paid tribute to Brooke Chaplen, 33, who was treated to a pre-match guard of honour to mark her retirement after scans revealed a bone tumour in her right leg. “I was bawling my eyes out because it’s so tough seeing her career finish in this manner,” Chambers said. She also praised captain Natasha Harding, 33, who is leaving after four years. The Wales international has made more than 80 WSL appearances for the club. “Tash has been a huge part of our club’s growth and a true leader, and she’ll be missed,” Chambers added.