Reading FC Women produced arguably one of their greatest results in their history this weekend, winning 2-0 at FA WSL1 high flyers Manchester City on Sunday afternoon.
For the second time in a week, Kelly Chambers' side took valuable points from a top two side, opening up the title race in the process; after a 2-2 draw with league leaders Chelsea last Sunday and a win over Yeovil Town sandwiched in between in midweek, a confident 2-0 win in Manchester was Reading's reward for a fine run of form.
A win for the hosts, who had only lost once all season before the visit of the Royals, would have meant leapfroggin Chelsea and returning to the top of WSL1, but Reading Women were to prove no pushovers.
The Royals started on the front foot and showed that they meant business, in front of attending England Women's team manager Phil Neville. There were chances for both teams, before Remi Allen’s impressive bicycle kick opened the scoring for the Royals in the 34th minute.
City searched for an equaliser but could not find a way through; the Royals had former City forward Natasha Harding to thank for their lead at the break when the Welsh international blocked spectacularly on the line to keep Nikita Parris’ goal-bound strike out minutes after the opener.
The SSE Women’s FA Cup semi-finalists began the second half well, hitting the crossbar courtesy of Parris. But Reading doubled their lead on 61 minutes when Potter’s cross found unmarked defensive partner Pearce, who headed home!
City were handed half a lifeline when Reading’s Potter was sent off for dragging down Parris, deemed to be in a goalscoring position, but the away side managed to hold on to their two-goal advantage and pick up their fifth win of the season!
“The football that we played, the way that we defended today, was outstanding," Chambers said after the win. "I think the girls deserve the result."
“We need to make sure that this run of form continues and we keep competing with the best in the country. We just need to kick on and see if we can finish as high as we can in the league.
"The international break is going to kill us a little bit, just because we are on a good run of form. And the players will go away, they will try and look after themselves, as hard as it is, because international teams are preparing for some big games.
"But we will get them back in and we will make sure that we will look after them and be ready for the Arsenal game.”
Full time: Manchester City 0-2 Reading
Manchester City (4-3-3): Roebuck, McManus, Houghton, Beattie, Stokes, Scott (Christiansen 49), Walsh, Stanway, Parris, Ross (Nadim 56), Lawley (Emslie 62).
Substitutes not used: Bardsley, Jans, Middag
Reading (4-4-2): Earps, Rowe, Potter, Pearce, Harding, Moore, Furness, Williams, Allen, Bruton, Chaplen (Green 88).
Substitutes not used: Moloney, Linnett, Fletcher, Gane
Referee: Helen Conley