With a strong performance under their belts against Liverpool in the opening match of the season, Kelly Chambers’ team looked to hit the ground running and keep the momentum going against Manchester City. Unfortunately, a strong possessional performance from the visiting side and a goal in each half for Pauline Bremer saw City take all three points back to Manchester.
The early part of the match saw the two sides feeling each other out in the middle of the park. A ball through from Jade Moore almost put Captain Natasha Harding through after 5 minutes, but it was cut out by the City defence.
City were next to attack with a ball played across the Reading area, but it was cleared confidently by Royals number 1 Grace Moloney.
The first attempt on goal came from Fara Williams, who was released by Angharad James and fired off a long range shot that was wide of the mark.
A long ball from Steph Houghton released Janine Beckie into the Reading area but Kristine Leine came across to make a perfectly timed challenge to force a corner for the away team. Shortly after, Reading broke as Harding laid off a nice ball for Williams who fired off another effort from range which was just wide of the target.
A scrappy back and forth match in the middle of the park ensued, that saw Amalie Eikeland released at one end of the field but City keeper Ellie Roebuck got to the ball first, and Moloney was kept busy at the other end, pulling off three back-to-back saves.
On the half hour mark, City broke through from the left and a long range effort from Pauline Bremer gave the visiting side the lead.
Reading attempted to answer straight away as Eikeland made a great run down the right and floated a cross into the City box aimed at Brooke Chaplen, who couldn’t quite get her head on the ball.
Harding forced a corner which came perfectly into Eikeland, but she collided with the referee and the ball was cleared by the City defence.
Some nice link-up play from City saw them threaten the Reading box again for a spell, before the tides turned and the first half was seen out with Reading’s best chance of the game when a beautiful cross from Maz Pacheco forced a corner, which was played into the back post from Chaplen only to be headed centimetres wide by Sophie Howard.
- Half Time: Reading FC Women 0-1 Manchester City Women
A City freekick went unanswered and flew across the Reading area early into the second half, after a tentative initial few minutes from both teams.
Bremer rattled off a shot after finding herself one-on-one in the six yard box, forcing an exceptional save from Moloney, the ball remained free and Bremer followed up, slotting it into the Reading net for her – and City’s – second.
Following City doubling their lead, Royals made their first change of the game as Brooke Chaplen made way for new signing Lisa-Marie Utland to make her debut.
Janine Beckie broke down the right-hand side shortly after, making her way into the penalty area but shooting wide.
A great move followed from Reading, as Angharad James fed through to Harding who got a shot away, but it was tipped wide by Roebuck.
The action quickly moved to the other end of the pitch as Bremer was denied her hattrick by the bar and Jill Scott was unable to follow up with a shot that goes high due to pressure from Leine.
With just over ten minutes remaining, Reading made their second substitution as Eikeland made way for Rakel Honnudottir.
The pace quickened as the clock ran down and Reading continue to press with Utland breaking free inside her own half and travelling, putting Williams through, but Williams’ pass was intercepted and City broke again. A superb through-ball put Caroline Weir in acres of space, but Moloney came out to collect the ball expertly.
Reading’s final substitution came with less than five minutes remaining as they chased a goal; forward Millie Farrow replacing defender Pacheco, but it came too late and the referee Stacey Pearson blew for full time.
- Full Time: Reading FC Women 0-2 Manchester City Women
Reading: Moloney, Leine, Pacheco (Farrow 86’), Williams, James, Eikeland (Honnudottir 79’), Harding, Moore, Chaplen (Utland 60’), Rowe, Howard.
Substitutes: Farrow, Honnudottir, Utland, Skeels
Manchester City: Roebuck, Stokes, Bonner, Houghton, Mannion, Walsh, Scott, Weir, Beckie, Bremer, Wullaert.
Substitutes: Benameur, Campbell, Coombs, Toland, Park, Geum-Min, Fidalgo.
Goals: Bremer (28’, 56’)