Reading FC Women were unlucky not to walk away with the win as fans returned to Madejski to watch the side draw 1-1 with Bristol City.
Over thirty attempts on goal for the Royals produced just one goal, in the form of Fara Williams’ second-half equaliser, after Emma Bissell gave the away-side the lead against the run of play with their only attack of the first-half.
Chances were had early on by the Royals, as Angharad James latched onto a well held-up ball from Danielle Carter and fired a shot at Bristol keeper Sophie Baggaley. Carter was very busy early on, causing the visiting defence problems as she powered through the middle and got onto the end of every ball she was fed.
Reading began doing their usual and forcing corner after corner, one of them resulting in one of the best early chances of the game, as Jess Fishlock forced a great save from Baggaley to deny her the opening goal.
Chance after chance came as the home-side dominated the possession and went forward again and again through Carter, Captain Natasha Harding and Amalie Eikeland.
It was the skipper Harding who came closest off all, as she received the ball after another break, and poked a shot goalward, but somehow Baggaley got just enough on it to push the ball onto the bar.
Carter went through on goal twice in very quick succession towards the end of the first-half. In the first instance, she did the legwork, but was pressured by the Bristol defence and the ball was picked up by the away-side. The second, moments later, saw Carter beat keeper Baggaley and turn, but she was unable to get a shot in before she was dispossessed.
Fishlock had another stinging effort that was once again brilliantly saved by Baggaley. The away side instantly broke as Ebony Salmon played a long one-two with Charlie Wellings who travelled before sliding a perfect pass into Emma Bissell, who powered towards goal and slotted the ball away to give Bristol the lead going into the break, against the run of play.
Half-time: Reading FC Women 0-1 Bristol City Women
After such a dominant display in the first-half, the Royals didn’t need to change the game plan, they just needed to hit the back of the net and with this in mind, they came out all guns blazing once again. Eikeland made way for Lauren Bruton at half-time and Reading carried on from where they left off.
It took just five minutes for the Royals to find the goal that had eluded them for the duration of the first-half, as an attack down the right hand side came out of the six yard area and found its way to Fara Williams who adjusted and hit a sweet shot into the back of the Bristol net.
Williams then hit the woodwork a minute later as her free-kick glanced the bar, after Fishlock was brought down outside the away-side’s area.
Carter, Harding and Bruton kept breaking through on goal, but their efforts were either cut out by the Bristol defence or Baggaley on each occasion.
Fishlock was the recipient of the final ball from another Reading attack around the 65-minute mark. She had a well-placed shot on goal, which took the merest of touches from Baggaley to have the ball trickle agonisingly wide of the post.
Carter, who had a very busy afternoon, was replaced by Emma Harries as the game approached the final 15-minutes, before Bethan Roberts made her first-team debut for the Royals when she replaced Fara Williams with ten minutes left on the clock.
Reading were relentless as they produced attack-after-attack, continually looking to get the winner, but it simply would not come before the referee blew the final whistle, signalling the end of a frustrating afternoon.
Full-time: Reading FC Women 1-1 Bristol City Women
Reading FC Women: Moloney., Leine, Woodham, Cooper, Bartrip, Fishlock, James, Harding, Williams (Roberts 80’), Eikeland (Bruton 45’), Carter (Harries 75’)
Substitutes not used: Nayler, Childerhouse.
Goals: Williams (50’)
Bristol City Women:
Baggley, Evans, Humphrey, Salmon, Daniels (Brysen 60’), Allen, Wellings, Bissel Bryl, Purfield, Layzell, Mastrantonio
Substitutes not used: Haaland, Rafferty, Collis, Wilson, Harrison, Jones
Goals: Bissell (43’)
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