Reading FC Women’s training tour of Spain culminated in a match against Valencia CF Femenino on Wednesday night - a strong showing ended in a 2-2 draw, and the Royals could consider themselves unlucky not to take a win from the pre-season fixture.
A strong tour saw the Women’s team training hard in preparation for the new FA Women's Super League campaign. The Royals led twice, and were pegged back twice - and ultimately couldn’t force the winner on a hot evening in Valencia despite huge spells of possession and constantly pressing hard throughout.
Three minutes into the game, Fara Williams picked up the ball just inside the Valencia area, taking a touch and slotting home neatly to the keeper’s right to give the Royals an early lead.
An extended period of possession followed, seeing Reading breaking down the right-hand side several times with nice link up play between Natasha Harding and Angharad James.
Valencia enjoyed a short spell of possession in the middle of the park and managed to rattle off their first shot on target, but it was easily dealt with by Grace Moloney. An excellent long-range ball followed from Josanne Potter, putting Millie Farrow into space, but the ball was cut off by the Valencia defence just before Farrow could get a shot away.
At the half-hour mark Angharad James intercepted the ball from a wayward Valencia pass 30 yards from goal and forced a save from the Valencia keeper with a great effort from distance.
But then Valencia made a strong run down the left, creeping into the Reading box and releasing Claudia Jimenez who dispatched the ball into the bottom left of the net to equalise on 36 minutes.
Reading fought back and regain possession with some strong pressure. Amalie Eikeland unleashed a shot just wide, almost grabbing her first goal since joining the Royals.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first, as Reading took an early lead. Great link up play down the right-hand side resulted an pinpoint cross whipped in from Natasha Harding, and met with a perfectly placed head from Eikeland. The Valencia goalkeeper was left standing; Reading in front with only five minutes of the second half played.
Just after the hour mark, Reading conceded possession in the middle of the park and that allowed Valencia hit them on the break. A long-range effort from Bea Beltran beat Grace Moloney as the home side levelled the score.
Despite conceding, Reading kept pressing after several rolling substitutions from both sides - such were teh arrangements for this pre-season encounter - and Kelly Chambers' squad were keeping possession in the Valencia half with some fluid passing.
The Royals had a chance to win it ten minutes from time, as the Valencia stopper saw a clearance deflect off one of her defensive teammates. Harding gathered, whipped in an early cross, but Millie Farrow's snapshot was cleared agonisingly off the line.
In the the dying seconds of the game, another chance fell to Reading as Rakel Hönnudóttir found herself in space in the box but sent the ball just over the bar in what becomes the last kick of the game.
On the whole, a performance to be pleased with - and a good test ahead of the Royals' opening encounter of the new FA WSL season, which begins away to Liverpool on Sunday 8th September.
Full-time: Valencia CF Femenino 2-2 Reading FC Women
Reading FC Women: Moloney, Potter, Howard, Leine, Harding, Allen, James, Williams, Farrow, Chaplen, Eikeland.
Subs: Laws, Rowe, Pacheco, Moore, Furness, Hönnudóttir, Bennink.