Watford Ladies head coach John Salomon felt his side’s 4-0 defeat against Reading was a tighter game than the scoreline reflected after the Hornets’ suffered their first Women’s Super League 2 loss in two months.

The Royals, who leapfrogged Watford to move into third place, proved too strong for Salomon’s side to handle as England international Fran Kirby netted a hat-trick.

Speaking to the club’s website, Salomon said: “It was a tighter game than the final score suggests but we have made mistakes that have cost us.

“When you play against teams like Reading they will punish you when you make those mistakes and that’s happened today.”

He added: “We’re at that half way stage now, we’re nine games into our 18 game league season.

“It is important for us to take stock of where we are.

“We need to look at every game we’ve played - we’ve faced each team once - and start to set our sights on the second half of the season.”

Despite the final scoreline, the game started in an even fashion, with Watford well on top for long periods before eventually succumbing to the rampant Royals.

But Kirby, who netted on her England debut against Sweden earlier this month, opened the scoring for Reading in the 11th minute.

In driving rain, she held off the challenge of two Watford players before firing over Lauren Davey and into the top corner of the Hornets net from 25 yards.

Watford had the chance to level later on in the half when Megan Wynne tried to play in Jo Wilson but Reading keeper Nicky Davies was quickly off her line to clear under pressure.

The second period saw Reading struggle to test Watford keeper Davey initially but the visitors’ superiority told when Kirby notched her second with 20 minutes remaining.

A defence-splitting pass picked out the striker who slotted beyond Davey.

The Royals were then in the ascendency and added to their scoreline with a Lauren Bruton goal.

A backpass to Davey left the keeper in no-man’s land, allowing Bruton to steal in and slam home.

Kirby completed the rout in injury time and earned her hat-trick when she stole the ball from the Watford defence and planted her shot beyond Davey at the near post.

Watford Ladies are in action on Sunday when they travel to Aston Villa.