Reading FC Women took all three points on a rainy afternoon in Dagenham with a 1-0 win against West Ham in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.
A first-half goal for Lauren Bruton and a second-half penalty save from Grace Moloney saw Reading seal back-to-back wins.
The first attempt on goal came from the home side, when former Royal Maz Pacheco received the ball on the left-hand side of the Reading box, but her shot sailed over the bar.
Reading experienced a lot of possession in the final-third towards the ten-minute mark, through a combination of Danielle Carter, Fara Williams and Amalie Eikeland, but were unable to get past the West Ham backline, and it was West Ham who had the second attempt on goal, with another lofty effort, this time from Kate Longhurst.
Williams took a knock midway through the half and was replaced by Brooke Chaplen, who saw her first minutes of game-time this season due to injury.
The deadline was broken just before the half-hour mark when the Royals broke down the right-hand side following a West Ham corner that was cleared mightily at the front post by Captain Natasha Harding. Harding ended up on the end of the ball out wide on the right, deep into the West Ham half and delivered an inch perfect ball that was met by Lauren Bruton, who slotted it onto the home side’s net for her second goal in two games, to get Reading off the mark.
There were strong penalty shouts from Reading moments later, when goal-scorer Bruton was seemingly brought down West Ham keeper Mackenzie Arnold, but it was waved away by the referee, as was a alleged foul which floored Deanna Cooper, much to the amazement of Royals players.
Reading kept looking to double their lead going into the break, coming closest when Chaplen sent a floating ball into the box for Carter who stretched but was just unable to get enough to send it into the back of the next.
Half-time: West Ham United Women 0 – 1 Reading FC Women
The second half began at a much faster pace than the first, with chances at both ends early on. Grace Moloney made a fantastic stop at the front post to deny Adriana Leon, the athleticism involved resulting in her receiving treatment afterwards.
Moments later, Moloney was deemed to have fouled in the box and a penalty was awarded to West Ham to the uproar of Royals players and staff alike. Hammers skipped Kenza Dali stepped up and placed her penalty low to Moloney’s left, by the Royals keeper was down early and palmed the ball away with a fantastic save.
On the 80th minute, two Royals debutants took to the field when new signing Jeon Ga-eul and academy standout Emma Harries replaced Eikeland and Carter, respectively.
Both teams continued to press the other’s goal as the rain began to pour over Dagenham & Redbridge FC, but the Royals kept plugging away and looking for the goal that would put the game out of the Hammers’ reach.
However, by the time the Fourth-Official indicated that a minimum of seven additional minutes would be played, the deficit was still just one goal, but Reading kept their composure and dug deep to see out the rest of the game, securing a hard fought three points.
Full-time: West Ham United Women 0 – 1 Reading FC Women
West Ham United Women:
Arnold, Redisch, Pacheco, Lehman (Kiernan ‘55), Longhurst (Grant ‘70), Cho, Leon, Dali, Fisk, Van Egmond, Daly
Substitutes not used: Brosnan, Mustafa, Joel, Dunbar-Bonnie, Cruickshank
Reading FC Women:
Moloney, Mitchell, Williams (Chaplen ‘16), Bartrip, James, Fishlock, Eikeland (Harries ’80), Bruton (Rowe ’68), Harding, Cooper, Carter (Jeon ’80)
Substitutes not used: Nayler, Leine, Woodham, Skeels, Roberts
Goals: Bruton (‘26)