Brave cup display
Reading FC Women bravely bowed out of the FA Cup at the fifth round stage with a narrow defeat to a Manchester City side packed full of international talent.
The Royals travelled to the Manchester Regional Arena knowing that a win would take them to the quarter finals for the first time in their history, a perfect precursor to the start of the Super League season the following Wednesday.
However two goals from City's prolific England international Toni Duggan was enough to settle the contest on a balmy afternoon packed full of top class football.
She steered home expertly within the first ten minutes, before the visitors equalised through Lauren Bruton - finishing after excellent work by last season's top scorer Fran Kirby.
With the likes of Team GB's Olympic hero Steph Houghton putting pressure on the Royals backline, Jayne Ludlow's ladies admirably held their opponents for the majority of the tie - only for Duggan to bag her brace in the 79th minute as a long range shot was spilled by goalkeeper Davies, allowing the forward to bundle home.
Plenty to be positive about however against a team a league about this new Royals set-up - and certainly no dent to the confidence ahead of the league opener against Yeovil Town at Madejski Stadium.
Worrall, Lipman, Houghton (c), Nightingale, Marsh, Holbrook, Scott, Hassett, Johnston (Flint 70 mins), Christiansen, Duggan.
Brooks, Harding, Turner, Young.
Hassett (49 mins), Houghton (82 mins)
Reading FC Women:
Davies, Grant, Chambers, Williams (Fletcher 70 mins), Pond, Jane, Roche (Giddings 46 mins), Kirby, Bruton, McGee, Bartrip (Haines 81 mins).