Kelly Chambers’ Reading FC Women put on a display of heart that perfectly sums up the latter part of their year with a 3-1 victory over Totttenham after being 1-0 down with only 15 minutes of the game remaining. Goals from Jo Potter, Remi Allen and a debut Royals goal for Amalie Eikeland topped off a great afternoon to send off 2019 in style.
A double save from Becky Spencer denied captain Fara Williams from opening the scoring inside 4 minutes. Brooke Chaplen’s shot was just above the visitor’s bar a couple of minutes later as Reading attempted to get a grasp of the game early.
Kit Graham volleyed wide of Grace Moloney’s goal at the other end of the field before Kristine Leine made a perfectly timed challenge to deny Josie Green a chance at going one-on-one with Moloney.
Reading came even closer to opening the scoring when a beautiful cross from Chaplen was almost met right in front of goal by Amalie Eikeland, but she didn’t get the desired contact with it, and the ball skimmed off the top of her head and carried on travelling out for a throw.
A long period of the first half was contested in the middle of the park as both teams looked to create chances that would break the deadlock, but despite Chaplen getting into great positions on the edge of the Spurs 18-yard box on a few occasions, ultimately the sides were tied going into the break.
Half-time score: Reading FC Women 0 – 0 Tottenham Hotspur Women
The second-half began in very much the same way as the first ended, with both teams feeling each other out in the middle of the park, but in the 52nd minute, Siri Worm picked up the ball on the edge of the Reading box after a short corner and curled a shot into the back of the net to put the visitors ahead.
Williams went galloping through the middle and into the Tottenham box, laying off a great pass to Eikeland, but her first-time, close-range shot was straight at Spencer. This was the catalyst for a barrage of Royals chances, as they tried to find the equaliser. Eikeland was put into space again by Williams again, but her shot was blocked and Chaplen had an attempt just outside the 6-yard box that was just over the bar.
The equaliser finally came after the second of two corners in a row was swung in by Williams, there was a goalmouth scramble and Jo Potter tapped in from the back post for her second goal in as many games for the Royals, on the 77th minute.
Reading didn’t let up, as Remi Allen hit the underside of the crossbar one minute later with a thunderous header.
In a moment reminiscent of so many matches over the last couple of months, Reading’s tenacity and heart showed through when a long-ball from the back came into the box and was eventually poked in by Allen to give Reading the lead on the 88th minute.
Despite the 10 minutes of additional time after the end of the 90, Reading kept their cool and deep into the 10 additional minutes, Willaiams released Eikeland from her own half, the Norwegian international travelled half the length of the pitch with the Spurs defence in hot persuit, kept her cool, slotting away to get herself off the mark with her first Royals goal and to finish off a tremendous game and a promising 2019.
Full-time score: Reading FC Women 3 – 1 Tottenham Hotspur Women
Reading: Moloney, Leine, Pacheco, Williams, James, Allen, Eikeland, Moore, Chaplen, Potter, Howard (Rowe 64).
Subs not used: Laws, Farrow, Utland, Bennink, Reynolds, Quirk
Goals: Potter (77), Allen (88), Eikeland (90+9)
Yellow Cards: Allen (55), Eikeland (75)
Tottenham: Spencer (Morgan 83), Godfrey, Neville Percival, Green, Fibey, Davison, Peplow (Addison 90), Dean, Worm (Quinn 90) Graham
Subs not used: Morgan, Leon, Schillaci, Wynne, Ayane
Goals: Worm (52)
Yellow Cards: None