Reading FC Women manager Kelly Chambers has been giving her thoughts on her side’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday and how the result, amongst others over the weekend, has opened up the Barclays FA Women’s Super League table.
Reading and Manchester United ended all square in their league clash at Adams Park, but Chambers feels her side could have walked away with all 3 points, after a second-half full of chances. A saved penalty from Fara Williams failed to put the Royals level after Lauren James opened the scoring in the first half for the visitors, but Williams converted her second attempt from the spot, to level the score and ensure Kelly Chambers’ side walked away with a point.
“It was fantastic to take a draw,” Chambers said, “If you look at the second half performance I think we should have probably taken all 3 points; we need to be more clinical in and around goal but to be fair to the girls, I changed things at half-time and they adapted brilliantly. I couldn’t have asked anything more from them in the second-half.”
Chambers changed tactics after a slow first-half, where the majority of the play happened in midfield, with both sides cancelling each other out. But the game changed when Norwegian striker Lisa-Marie Utland replaced Angharad James, leaving Williams to drop back into James’s deeper position with Utland going upfront. Captain Natasha Harding and Rachel Rowe swapped positions down the left, leading Harding to push further forward and cause the United defence problems in the box.
“We changed shape and personnel in different positions in the second-half. When you look at the first half, I think we needed a bit more on the ball in deeper areas and that’s why we moved Fara back as that’s what her game was about before she came to us, so we knew that’s what she could do and the quality she has, so fair play to the girls for adapting and dominating a bit more in the second-half. But for the chances we’re having, we need to be scoring more goals.”
On Fara Williams’ two penalties, of which she scored the second, having the first saved brilliantly by United keeper, and former Reading shot-stopper Mary Earps, Chambers said, “Fara has been in those situations probably more so than anybody in their career, whether that be at international level or club level, so she’s dealt with those pressures so there was no thought of changing that. I think she’ll be beating herself up that she hasn’t scored the first one more than she’ll be happy about scoring the second. Credit to her, she’s put that second one away, it’s just disappointing to not get the three points”.
Just a single point separates Manchester United in 4th place and Reading in 6th, with Everton sandwiched between them, unable to get off of 5th place after losing 1-0 away to Brighton.
“It’s fantastic, the league is wide open and so competitive, right from the top to the bottom,” Chambers continued, “You see teams at the bottom who are still picking up points against teams that are mid table. For me, it makes the league so much more exciting and people can drop points everywhere, so everyone needs to stay on their toes and make sure they’re putting in the performances to get the results and that’s what we want to be doing”.
Reading are next in action on Sunday against Bristol City in a league clash at Stoke Gifford Stadium, followed by a midweek fixture as West Ham visit Adams Park on Wednesday 12th, finished up with an FA Cup Fifth-Round trip to Leicester on Sunday 16th.
“For us, that’s a big week. We’ve got 3 games in a week, finishing with an FA Cup game. We need to be mindful and look after the squad, rotating when we can. First up is Bristol, and we were disappointed with our last result against them when we drew 3-3, but we know they’ve recruited really well in the transfer window so it will be a tough game but one we want to go to and come back with the 3 points.”
Tickets to Reading FC Women’s remaining 4 home fixtures against West Ham United on Feb 12th, Brighton & Hove Albion March 22nd, Liverpool March 29th and Chelsea April 26th are available here, priced at £6 Adults, £3 Children/Concessions, Family (2 Adults, 2 Children) £12.