Reading FC Women Manager Kelly Chambers has been giving her thoughts on her side’s solid defensive performance against title challengers Manchester City and the late goal that changed it all.
Reading looked to be on the way to their ninth draw of the season at The Academy Stadium, until a flash of brilliance from Lauren Hemp set up a tap-in for Chloe Kelly in the 87th minute to seal the 1-0 win for the home side.
“I’m gutted we didn’t get something from the game, if I’m completely honest,” Chambers said. “I said to the girls all week that we needed a strong, resilient defensive performance and the girls gave me that. They were magnificent. We changed shape fifteen minutes into the first half and adapted that really effectively, which threw Man City.”
Chambers’ team withstood a barrage of attempts from a world class City side, dealing with everything that the title challengers threw at them.
“We defended our box very well,” Chambers continued. “Don’t get me wrong, there were moments where we were on the backfoot, but in terms of getting to first-balls and second-balls, we did our job.
“In the second half we were outstanding at the back as well. We had moments in front of goal; a couple of clear cut chances that maybe we should have put to bed, but the sucker-punch was Lauren Hemp going on that amazing run and we didn’t defend that one moment which ultimately cost us the game.”
The loss sees Reading sat in 7th place in the league table, in what has been an up-and-down season so far for the Royals. Draws at home against City and Arsenal and a standout away victory against Manchester United have been peppered with disappointing results against Bristol City and Birmingham. But Chambers knew her side would rise to the occasion against Manchester City, who knew themselves that a win against Reading would take them top of the FA Barclays Women’s Super League.
“I feel that this season we’ve shown that we can perform against the likes of City. In fact, I think that Saturday was the first time that we’ve lost at The Academy Stadium in the last four seasons, so it’s definitely a place we like to come. I’m glad that the girls came off the pitch disappointed because I truly believe – as they do – that they deserved something from the game. I can’t give enough credit to them.”
Reading FC Women are next in action on Saturday April 3rd when they host West Ham United Women at Madejski Stadium for a 2pm kick-off, with all the action being shown live on the FA Player.
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