Welcome to our first monthly round-up of all things Reading FC Women. Kelly Chambers’s side got their 2019/20 season underway in September, featuring in both the Women’s Super League and the Continental Cup as they won two out of three games.
Liverpool 0-1 Reading: Reading’s opening match against Liverpool was settled by a likely Goal of the Season contender from Fara Williams, as the 35-year-old hit a stunning 30-yard free-kick into to the top corner of the net just before half-time. The Royals could perhaps have considered themselves unlucky not to win by more than one goal, with Reds goalkeeper Anke Preuss needing to be on top form to deny Williams in the first minute and then Jade Moore and Angharad James in the second half.
Reading 0-2 Manchester City: Their first home game of the campaign was a rather more difficult encounter against last season’s runners-up Manchester City. A double from German international striker Pauline Bremer was enough to secure all three points for the visitors at Adams Park. Reading struggled to get into the game, and only registered one shot on target when Tash Harding forced a good save from Ellie Roebuck.
Tottenham Hotspur 0-4 Reading: The Royals bounced back in perfect fashion however, as they began their Continental Cup campaign with a 4-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur. They led by just the one goal at half-time following an even 45 minutes in which Brooke Chaplen lashed home from the right hand side after a neat passing move. In the second half though the visitors dominated proceedings, with Chaplen grabbing her second before an own goal from Ashleigh Neville and Millie Farrow’s strike made it a comfortable victory.
Birmingham City P-P Reading: Reading were scheduled to have a third WSL match in September against Birmingham City, but the game was postponed after heavy rain made the pitch at Solihull Moors unplayable. It leaves Reading seventh in the table, with a game in hand over the teams around them at this early stage.
Star Player - Grace Moloney
Fara Williams’s free-kick made the headlines and Brooke Chaplen impressed with a brace against Tottenham, but Reading had goalkeeper Grace Moloney to thank in all three of their games in September.
The 26-year-old kept two clean sheets as she proved to be comfortable and reliable between the sticks. The Royals may have been runaway winners against Tottenham, but Moloney kept them in the game in the first half with a couple of strong stops.
Even in the defeat to Manchester City she made a number of important saves, particularly in the opening 45 minutes, to keep the score down. The month ended with Moloney earning a well-deserved call-up to the Republic of Ireland squad.
Following the current international break, Reading return to action against fourth place Everton at Adams Park on Sunday (kick-off 2:30pm). Tickets, priced at £6 for adults and £3 for children and concessions, can be purchased for that one here.
The following weekend, Kelly Chambers’s side are at the Madejski Stadium for the first time this season for one of three scheduled fixtures in RG2. They’ll be aiming to continue their electric start in the Continental Cup as they face Lewes of the Championship, the first football club in the world to pay their women’s team the same wages as their men’s team.
Finally, the Royals will round off October with a visit to Manchester United, the winners of last season’s Championship who have begun life in the top-flight with one win and two defeats. The game at Leigh Sports Village will be shown live on the BBC.
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After the win over Liverpool, Reading bolstered their squad further with the signing of Lisa-Marie Karlseng Utland, who played and scored for Norway at the World Cup in the summer.
The forward was called up for her national side for the current international break alongside compatriots and fellow new signings Kristine Leine and Amalie Eikeland, while captain Tash Harding, Angharad James and Rachel Rowe are all included in the Wales squad. As mentioned, Grace Moloney has been selected for the Republic of Ireland. Maz Pacheco and Kiera Skells are with the England Under 21s and Under 19s respectively.
September also saw the women’s team head to Bearwood for the first time for their 2019/20 squad photo on the same day as all of the men’s sides. They currently train at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre, but will move into the new state-of-the-art complex next summer, seeing all Reading FC teams unite in one location.