Reading FC Women do all they can with fantastic 2-0 win away to Brighton & Hove Albion, leaving qualification to the knock-out stage of the Conti Cup up to the outcome of other fixtures.
With a question mark still remaining over qualification, Reading knew they had to win at the People’s Pension Stadium and that was exactly what they did, with a great team performance that saw goals in each half for skipper Natasha Harding and Amalie Eikeland
Reading were aggressive early, knocking the ball around nicely in the Albion half for in the first fifteen minutes. Captain Natasha Harding had the first and second attempts on goal, looking to recreate some of the magic that was there last Sunday when she produced her wonder-goal against Everton. Harding went through the middle on both attempts, the first was saved by Brighton keeper Cecilie Fiskerstrand and the second was blocked by the Albion defence.
The home-side then had a spell of possession which culminated in Emily Simpkins’ shot being blocked almost on the line by Molly Bartrip to stop Brighton taking the lead.
Bartrip was busy at the other end minutes later, as Reading attacked. Brooke Chaplen played Rachel Rowe into the box, but she was surrounded by blue shirts and was forced to play the ball back out. It ended up with Bartrip, 25 yards out, and the defender unleashed a great shot that was just wide of the Brighton goal.
Just before the half-hour mark, the deadlock was broken by the Royals and it was Harding on the scoresheet again. Rowe received the ball on the right and fired in an inch perfect cross that was met by the skipper who headed the ball home with authority to open the scoring.
Brighton attempted to pull one back straight away, as Simpkins launched a dangerous ball across the Reading goalmouth, but the blue shorts in the box were not able to get on the end of it.
Half-time: Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 Reading FC Women
The second-half began in a scrappier manor than the first, as both sides battled it out in the middle of the park, trying to assert their dominance early on. Reading had a decent chance when the half was 10 minutes old, as Lily Woodham, who made her first start for the Royals, went galloping down the left, but her first-time cross was just out of Harding’s reach.
Brighton came very close to an equaliser when Aileen Whelan headed centimetres over the Reading bar half-way through the second-half, but it was Reading that struck again, their lead doubled by Amalie Eikeland as her well taken, close range effort stung the Brighton net.
Reading saw the rest of the game out in control, three points secured in Group D, but with West Ham winning their match against Charlton and topping the group, and other games needing to be played before qualification is determined, all the Royals could do was enjoy a solid performance, clean-sheet and three points.
Full-time: Brighton & Hove Albion 0-2 Reading FC Women
Brighton & Hove Albion Women:
Fiskerstrand, Gibbons, Bowman (O’Sullivan 56’), Kerkdijk, Le Tissier, Whelan, Lee (Jarrett 56’)Heroum, Green, Barton, Simpkins (Kaagman 65’)
Substitutes not used: Walsh, Scott, Brazil, Longhurst, Nokuthula, Brance.
Reading FC Women:
Moloney, Leine, Woodham, Bartrip (Mitchell 69’), Rowe, Harding (90’), Fishlock, James, Eikeland, Bruton (76’), Chaplen (Williams (90’)
Substitutes not used: Nayler, Skeels, Cooper, Roberts, Childerhouse.
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