Reading FC Women travel to The People’s Pension Stadium on Sunday to take on Brighton & Hove Albion for a 2.30pm kick-off in Barclays FA Women’s Super League action for their final match of 2020, and the match is live on BT Sport.
Kelly Chambers side are coming off a disappointing loss against an undefeated Manchester United last Sunday at Madejski Stadium, when top of the league United walked away with a narrow 2-1 victory.
A first-half goal from the visiting side courtesy of Leah Galton was cancelled out in the second-half by a strike from Jess Fishlock, however, with just over five minutes remaining, Haylee Ladd nodded in from a set piece to seal the victory for the visiting side to ensure they remain unbeaten in the league.
Before Ladd netted the winner on the 82nd minute, it looked as if Reading were heading for a fifth straight 1-1 draw in the FA Barclays Women’s Super League, having walked away from matches against Manchester City, Tottenham, Everton and Bristol with the same score-line.
Recent results see Reading FC Women sat in 6th place in the Women’s Super League table, just four points behind Everton in fifth, whereas Brighton are currently in 9th.
Since the Royals’ 2-0 Continental Cup win at Crawley on Nov 18th, Hope Powell’s side had a trip to Tottenham Hotspur on Dec 6th which ended in a 3-1 defeat, the Seagulls’ goal coming from a penalty converted by Inessa Kaagman. Last Sunday they entertained Chelsea and were on the wrong side of a 1-0 score-line, Sam Kerr’s first half strike settling the contest. Head coach Powell believed her side’s performance warranted a point and they were unlucky not to score when Kaagman hit the crossbar in the second period. Powell commented, “Apart from the result itself, I thought we did very, very well. The girls tried really hard to execute the game plan and for 99 per cent of the time they did apart from the goal”.
Brighton have won two of their first nine Women’s Super League fixtures this season. On the opening day they enjoyed a 2-0 home victory over Birmingham City, their goals coming from Megan Connolly and Kaagman. Then in mid-November they won 1-0 at West Ham, Rianna Jarrett’s second half goal securing the three points. Their other points have come from away draws at Manchester City and Everton.
The Brighton Squad
The Seagulls’ line-up against Chelsea last weekend was similar to that which faced Reading in last month’s cup meeting. However, in the recent fixture at Tottenham, striker Ellie Brazil made her return after over a year out during which she underwent three knee operations. Netherlands international Kaagman, who joined from WSL rivals Everton, has two of the six goals that Brighton have scored so far in league competition. Another player returning to the squad is defender Victoria Williams, formerly with Sunderland, she has represented England at U23 level.
Midfielder Denise O’Sullivan is on loan from NWSL side North Carolina Courage and has almost 80 caps for the Republic of Ireland. South Korea international striker Lee Geum-min was signed on a season long loan from Manchester City. Midfielder Nora Heroum joined from A C Milan and has over 70 Finland caps. Finally, Centre back Rebekah Stott signed a one-year deal after leaving Melbourne City and has over 70 caps for New Zealand.
The most recent meeting between the Royals and Brighton was the aforementioned Continental Cup clash at Crawley four and a half weeks ago when Kelly Chambers’ side returned with a 2-0 victory after an excellent all round team performance. The Royals’ goals on the night came from Natasha Harding and Amalie Eikeland. Meetings in the Women’s Super League commenced in the 2018-19 season, In November 2018, the Royals won 4-1 at Albion’s Broadfield Stadium with goals from Brooke Chaplen, Fara Williams, Gemma Davison and an own goal. They completed the double with a 1-0 victory at the Madejski in April 2019, Rachel Furness scoring the decider in the 49th minute. The only meeting last season took place at the Broadfield Stadium in November. Fara Williams gave the Royals an early advantage, scoring directly from a corner, but before the interval the hosts had turned things round through goals from Aileen Whelan and Ini Umotong. The Royals pressed hard and showed typical never-say-die spirit in the second half and were finally rewarded in the 4th minute of added time when Remi Allen netted to make the final score 2-2.
A few words
“We’re going into the game with confidence,” manager Kelly Chambers said on Sunday’s encounter.
“Obviously, it’ll be a different game to when we played them in the cup a few weeks ago, but hopefully we can learn from the United game.
“We have used the week to get ready and hopefully get three points going into Christmas and enjoy the break. We need to stick together, we’re performing well and we just now need to turn it into three points against Brighton.”
Brighton & Hove Albion Women v Reading FC Women | Sunday 20 December | The People's Pension Stadium | 2.30pm | Watch live on BT Sport and the FA Player
Reading FC Women are next in action at Madejski on January 10th when Chelsea pay a visit to RG2 for a 2pm kick-off in FA Barclays Women’s Super League action.