Reading made it three wins on the bounce in the league with a narrow win over Brighton & Hove Albion at Madejski Stadium as Rachel Furness grabbed the winning goal.
Following her midweek brace, Millie Farrow was handed a first start for the Royals as Kelly Chambers made seven changes from the side that secured a convincing 5-0 win at Yeovil on Wednesday.
It was a positive start from the Royals and Remi Allen almost broke the deadlock inside the opening minutes. Fara Williams chipped a ball into the path of Allen, but her poke towards goal went just wide.
Brighton also managed to conjure a decent opportunity inside the first five minutes. Aileen Whelan met Chloe Peplow’s deep cross but nodded wide at the back post.
The visitors then had goalkeeper Marie Hourihan to thank for keeping the scores level. Farrow’s low cross following a corner deflected off a Brighton defender towards goal but Hourihan managed to tip onto the crossbar from point-blank range.
The Royals thought the deadlock would be broken when Lauren Bruton spotted Farrow on the shoulder of the last defender and sent her through one-on-one with Hourihan. Unfortunately, Farrow couldn’t hit the target after the Brighton goalkeeper narrowed her angles.
Kelly Chambers’ half-time team talk must have had the desired effect as Furness finished well to Hourihan’s left on after the ball broke to her on the edge of the area.
Remi Allen had a great chance to add a second but finished wide of the mark, while Kirsty Barton’s shot from distance came back off the bar as Brighton went in search of an equaliser.
In stoppage time, Barton’s cross evaded a couple of Brighton players lurking at the back post, as the visitors almost snatched a point at the death.
Reading: Moloney, Pacheco, Williams (Davison 80), Bartrip, Pearce, Furness, Allen, Bruton, Harding, Farrow (Bailey 61), Moore.
Subs not used: Laws, Jane, Estcourt, Howard, Woodham.
Scorer: Furness (49)
Brighton & Hove Albion: Hourihan; Gibbons, Buet (C), F. Whelan, A, Whelan, Barton, Peplow (Simpkins 65), Green, Natkiel, Connolly, Umotong (Le Tissier 58).
Subs not used: Hartley; Roe, Nilden