With the strongest possible start to their Barclays FA Women’s Super League campaign under their belts – a 1-0 win away to Liverpool in the opening weekend of the season – Kelly Chambers’ Reading FC Women were looking to keep the considerable momentum going into their first home game of 2019-20 last Sunday.
The Royals met Nick Cushing’s Manchester City Women side, who came runners-up to Arsenal last season and were also coming off a 1-0 victory in their opening fixture, in the attendance breaking Manchester derby.
Unfortunately, a strong possessional performance from the visiting side and a goal in each half for Pauline Bremer saw City leave Adams Park with all three points, their intentions as serious contenders to the FAWSL title very clear.
Chambers said: “City are a very, very good side, but we look back now at the game and we can say that the two goals we conceded were mistakes on our part.”
Chambers doesn't sugar-coat a Reading performance that she clearly feels could have been better. “I truly believe we didn’t turn up and do what we are capable of," she continued.
"The part of us that’s brave in possession, we didn’t show that. We’ve always been a possessional team, we’ve shown that over the past couple of years. We can’t be like that, we need to be brave, stand up and say, ‘we are a passing team’.”
There were notable absences from the side as both Jo Potter and co-vice-captain Remi Allen were recently side-lined due to injury.
“They’re massive misses for us, especially when you have to make a change the morning of the game,” Chambers said, regarding Potter who received an injury the day before the City fixture and had a late fitness test only hours before the kick-off. “We were disjointed from the start. When you’re missing the likes of Jo Potter, Remi Allen, Lauren Bruton and Molly Bartrip due to injury, it’s frustrating. Against City we missed someone like Jo who is calm on the ball and settles the play.”
But Chambers is not making excuses for a loss that she doesn’t feel should have been as cut-and-dry as it was. “I have a squad that is strong enough to compete in this league, whoever it is. I truly believe we didn’t turn up and play to our abilities against City and it’s something we need to change. We are a lot stronger than that performance.”
Reading FC Women’s next match comes this Sunday against Tottenham in the Continental Cup at The Hive. Reading’s next home game comes on October 13th when they host Everton at Adams Park, followed by their long-awaited return to the Madejski against Lewes in another Continental Cup clash on October 20th.
Did You Know: Reading Season Ticket holders can gain entry to any Reading FC Women home game at either Adams Park or Madejski Stadium for FREE. Full fixtures are available here.