Reading FC Women defeated Liverpool FC Women in their Women’s Super League season opener at Prenton Park, with the lone goal coming from a superb free-kick from Fara Williams.
A match that was end-to-end with action from the start saw both teams have spells of pressure and possession, but ultimately it was the Royals that returned to RG2 with three hard-fought points.
Reading showed their intentions early as they broke straight from the kick off, Williams blasting the ball just over the bar after less than thirty seconds on the clock.
The true back-and-forth nature of the contest became evident minutes later as the culmination of a spell of Liverpool pressure saw the home side awarded a free-kick in a dangerous area.
The momentum shifted in favour of the Royals as continued possession saw them repeatedly threaten the Liverpool box with smooth link-up play down the right between captain Natasha Harding, Millie Farrow and Williams.
Liverpool forced the first save of the game as they experienced their own spell of possession down the right and a shot was released, but relatively easily dealt with by Reading 'keeper, Grace Moloney.
Another attack from the home side followed after they regained possession from Reading and a shot was fired over the bar.
Just after the half-hour mark, Harding almost put Reading in front as she received the ball just in front of goal, but was just unable to take a touch before Preuss managed to clear the ball.
Royals were awarded a free kick on the 40-minute mark and both Jo Potter and Fara Williams stood over the ball. It was Williams who struck it and guided the shot expertly past Preuss and into the top right of the net to give the visiting side the lead, with what will surely be a very early contented for Goal of the Month, if not Goal of the Season.
Liverpool saw out the rest of the first half attempting to break down the left, but to no avail before the whistle blew for half time.
Half time | Liverpool FC Women 0-1 Reading FC Women
Both teams came out aggressively as Courtney Sweetman-Kirk went through one-on-one, but her touch was heavy and Moloney managed to be the first to the ball, before Chaplen lifted the ball over the bar at the other end just moments later.
Chaplen made herself busy in the box again shortly after, continuing to get into space to cause the Liverpool defence problems.
The Royals made their first change as Millie Farrow made way for Amalie Eikeland just before the hour mark. Liverpool followed suit and their second substitution saw Ashley Hodson replaces Courtney Sweetman-Kirk.
Substitute Rinsola Babajide made an impact after replacing Jess Clarke, skimming the top of the bar for the home side with an incredible chance as Liverpool continued to look to level the score, before Sophie Howard cut out two more attempts from Liverpool as the pressure began to increase.
Angharad James had a fantastic effort from long range saved by Preuss, before she was penalised for a challenge and awarded what was to be the only yellow card of the game on 83 minutes.
The 90th minute approached and goalscorer Williams made way for Rakel Honnudottir as the referee's assistant indicated three minutes of injury time would be added. This wasn't enough for Liverpool, however, as Reading saw out the added minutes - and the game - to secure the points.
Full time | Liverpool FC Women 0-1 Reading FC Women
Liverpool FC Women: Preuss, Jane, Bradley-Aukland, Fahey, Robe, Bailey, Rodgers (Linnett 86), Charles, Clarke (Babajide 65), Lawley, Sweetman-Kirk (Hodson 77).
Subs: Kitching, Kearns, Purfield.