Kelly Chambers’ Royals are back at Madejski Stadium for the first time in exactly a month, as they take on Tottenham on Sunday.
Reading FC Women will be looking to bounce back from a bitterly disappointing loss on Monday against Bristol City, a result that saw them snap a four game undefeated streak that included draws with Arsenal, Aston Villa and Everton as well as a momentous win away to Manchester United.
In an exciting back-and-forth affair that has been dubbed by some publications as the best matches of the women’s season so far, Reading took the lead through Emma Harries, who scored her first goal for the Royals. The match then saw Kelly Chambers’ side go behind through a pair of goals from the Robins, draw level through Rachel Rowe, before eventually losing 3-2 due to a late goal from Bristol’s Ebony Salmon.
A result against Bristol would have seen Reading on level points with Everton, prior to the Toffees playing their game in hand on Thursday evening. However, the loss and a subsequent mid-week win for Everton, sees the Royals in 6th place, now six points behind Everton in 5th.
Tottenham’s recent form guide
It has certainly been a season of ups and downs for the North Londoners. They went into their home fixture with the Royals in November on the back of four straight defeats. Draws with Reading and Bristol City followed before things got a lot better with a run of three consecutive victories. Now they arrive at the Madejski on Sunday following a second run of four straight defeats. Away defeats at Chelsea (4-0) and at Aston Villa (1-0) were followed by a 3-2 home defeat to Everton and their most recent outing last Sunday resulted in a 2-0 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion. They are currently in 8th place with seven points less than the Royals, but they have played two games less. Their 15 league goals have been shared between 10 players – with two own goals. The side’s top scorers, with two goals each, are Angela Addison, Ashleigh Neville, and last year’s on-loan striker Alex Morgan, both of which came from the penalty spot.
The Tottenham squad – an update
Since the Royals’ visit to The Hive last November, Rehanne Skinner has replaced former Head Coaches Karen Hills and Juan Amoros. Rehanne joined from the FA where she had been England Women's National Team Assistant Head Coach to Phil Neville since September, having initially joined them three years earlier as Women's National Head Coach (U18-U21s). One of her early pieces of business was the permanent signings of the loanees Alanna Kennedy and Shelina Zadorsky from Orlando Pride. Abbie McManus has also been signed on loan for the remainder of the season from Manchester United. The 28-year-old England defender had previously spent more than a decade at Manchester City. Another player arriving on loan is So-hyun Cho from West Ham United. The 32-year-old playmaker is one of South Korea’s most decorated women’s players and currently holds the record for most caps for the national team with 126. Whilst Alex Morgan has returned to the United States, 18-year-old Esther Morgan has stepped up from the club’s Academy and made her debut at right-back against Everton at the end of February. First choice goalkeeper is currently Norwegian Aurora Mikalsen who moved to North London from Manchester United last July.
Last season’s home fixture with Tottenham revisited
Tottenham arrived at Adams Park on December 15th, 2019 after a successful start to their first season in the WSL. Four wins and one draw from their first nine fixtures had put them in 6th place and they had two points more than Kelly Chambers’ side.
Reading started strongly and would have been ahead in the fourth minute if not for a spectacular double save by Becky Spencer, with both efforts from Fara Williams. Other than that, the first half was generally a quiet affair with neither side able to take control. The deadlock was broken however, in the 53rd minute when the visitors’ Kit Graham cleverly took her corner to the edge of the box where Dutch international Siri Worm took one touch and brilliantly curled the ball into the top left-hand corner.
Reading stepped up a gear and levelled in the 78th minute when Spencer fumbled a Williams corner and the ball fell to Jo Potter who made no mistake from close range.
With the game heading for a draw, three minutes from time Remi Allen reacted first to poke home a bouncing ball in the box. With Tottenham throwing bodies forward in added time, Amalie Eikeland broke clear and slotted past Morgan to clinch an excellent 3-1 win for the Royals. The three points saw Reading leapfrog Tottenham in the table as they moved up to 6th place.
Reading FC Women v Tottenham Hotspur Women | Sunday 14th March | 12.30pm | Madejski Stadium | Live on FA Player.