First-half goals from Lauren Bruton and Vivianne Miedema see Reading FC Women bounce back from loss against Chelsea with outstanding 1-1 draw against title challengers Arsenal.
In a start that couldn’t have been any more different to the previous week, it took Reading just four minutes to open the scoring and go ahead.
Anna Patten fouled Captain Natasha Harding on the left, forcing a free-kick for the Royals. Emma Mitchell swung the ball in, which was met by Lauren Bruton as she advanced into the box. Bruton flicked the ball on, beating Manuela Zinsberger to put Reading ahead.
Not content on sitting back once they had the advantage, the Royals continued to attack and attack; piling on the pressure and pressing high, constantly breaking into the away-side’s box.
Amalie Eikeland was put through on a couple of occasions before being challenged by the Arsenal defence.
Rachel Rowe came close too, as she dispossessed the last defender and almost went around Zinsberger, before the Arsenal keeper managed to clear the ball for a Reading corner.
Arsenal had flashes of attacks; two shots by Vivianne Miedema were blocked by a resilient Reading defence, but the away-side’s attacks came few and far between in the first-half.
Unfortunately, however, one of the attacks did prove fruitful with just 5 minutes of the first-half remaining. Patten crossed into the Reading box and Jill Roord headed towards goal forcing an incredible save from Grace Moloney, but the ball was tapped in at the post by an opportunistic Miedema who levelled the score just before half-time.
Half time: Reading FC Women 1 – 1 Arsenal Women
Joe Montemurro made a triple substitution at half-time, clearly wanting a vast improvement on the first-half performance. Patten, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Malin Gut made way for Leah Williamson, Jennifer Beattie and Beth Mead, respectively.
Arsenal began the half in much more attacking form than they had been in for the majority of the first frame, but it was Reading that had the best early chance. Jess Fishlock won the ball with a strong challenge and rampaged through the middle, in front of goal. Selflessly she laid a pass off to Bruton, but her touch was slightly too heavy and Bruton couldn’t get a shot in.
The game became a little scrappy towards the hour mark as it was largely contested in the middle of the park with both sides jockeying for position.
Moloney pulled off an incredible save to deny Jill Roord from point-blank range and Kristine Leine made a crucial challenge to halt an Arsenal attack with a well-timed tackle on Miedema.
This would prove to be one of Leine’s final acts in the match, as she went down in agony in the Reading box and play was halted for almost 10 minutes while she sought medical attention before eventually being stretchered off.
With the Fourth-Official announcing 9 minutes of injury time, Reading dug deep and kept attacking, not happy with simply sharing the points with Arsenal after such a solid performance. However, no more goals came and Reading saw out a great draw on paper to title challengers Arsenal.
Full time: Reading FC Women 1 – 1 Arsenal Women
Reading FC Women: Moloney, Leine, Cooper, Mitchell, Bartrip, Fishlock (Harries 83’), James, Rowe, Eikeland, Bruton (Carter 64’), Harding
Substitutes not used: Nayler, Stewart, Skeels, Roberts, Childerhouse, Williams
Goals: Bruton (5’),
Yellow cards: Fishlock (59’)
Arsenal Women: Zinsberger, Patten (Williamson 46’), Wubben-Moy (Beattie 46’), McCabe, Gut (Mead 46’) Walti, Little, Roord, Evans, Miedema, Van De Donk (Foord 70’)
Substitutes not used: Williams, Stenson, Maier, Maritz, Mace, Mead.
Goals: Miedema (40’)
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