Reading FC Women and Everton shared a 1-1 draw at Madejski Stadium in a match that would have seen the winner sitting comfortably in fifth place in the Women’s Super League table.
In a clichéd assessment, it really was a game of two halves, as the Royals dominated the first frame but were only able to net once thanks to Rachel Rowe. Everton then went onto control the majority of the second-half, with a goal from Nicoline Sorensen levelling the score.
There was an early chance for Reading as Danielle Carter laid a perfectly weighted ball through to Amalie Eikeland, who arrived in the box to get a shot in. The shot was batted away by Everton keeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela, but only as far as Rachel Rowe who almost converted the rebound, but her effort was deflected away for a Reading throw.
Eikeland made herself busy in the first-half, constantly causing the Everton back-line problems. She received the ball in the away-side’s box following a Royals attack, turned and got in a first time shot that was collected by Korpela.
However, Eikeland’s following effort just before the half-hour mark was closer, as a deep free-kick from Rowe found her, but her touch hit the Everton post. The rebound was dealt with by the Everton back-line for one of several corners that the Royals earned in the opening frame.
Ten minutes before half-time and following a strong spell of possession and pressure from Kelly Chambers’ side, the deadlock was lifted. Lily Woodham fired a cross over from the left, which Carter challenged for, but Korpela got a hand to it. However, the ball fell perfectly for Rowe, who volleyed into a largely unoccupied net to give the Royals the lead and ensure they entered the break with the advantage.
Half-time: Reading FC Women 1-0 Everton Women
The second-half didn’t start as frenetically as the first, with both sides taking a much more measured approach.
Everton began getting the better attacking chances, as they went forward, breaking into Reading’s box more frequently. At times the Royals defended frantically, but always effectively; Molly Bartrip making a pair of important and incredibly well-timed challenges to keep the home side in the lead.
The barrage on the Royals goal did eventually bear fruit as substitute Nicoline Sorensen rose to meet a cross and nodded into the Reading net to level the score with ten minutes left to play.
Reading seemed to lose the momentum that had put them in a comfortable position in the first-half, and were in more of a survival mode as the match approached the ninety minute mark.
With five minutes of additional time indicated by the Fourth Official, Reading had two excellent chances, as they turned up the heat and looked for the winning goal. Bartrip’s attempt the closest of the pair as it trickled agonisingly wide of the Everton post moments before the referee blew the whistle and the points were shared.
Full-time: Reading FC Women 1-1 Everton
Reading FC Women: Moloney, Mitchell, Bartrip, Cooper, Woodham, James, Fishlock, Eikeland, Rowe, Carter, Harding
Substitutes not used: Nayler, Leine, Roberts, Childerhouse, Flores, Bruton
Goals: Rowe (35’)
Yellow cards: Bartrip (90’)
Everton Women: Korpela, Moe Wold, Turner, Sevececk, Christiansen, Lehmann (Raso 60’), Emslie (Sorensen 70’), Stringer, Scott, Gauvin (Magill 60’), Finnegan
Substitutes not used: Pedersen, George, Boye-Hlorkah, Sorensen, Graham, Clemaron, Clinton
Goals: Sorensen (77’)