For some reason I was very confident for the Royals today. The sun was shining, the temperature warm, so surely a good omen at the second most popular event at a Tottenham Hotspur stadium this weekend (the women play at The Hive, Barnet)?
Maybe I got carried away after some great international break performances and goals, particularly from the RFC Welsh contingent including Tash Harding and Gemma Evans - with Lily Woodham on the subs bench and Rachel Rowe an unfortunate omission from the squad.
Kelly Chambers making made changes from the team that lost to Arsenal with Moloney back between the posts and giving first starts of the season for Vanhaevermaet, Rose and Dowie - who I believe is Iain Dowie’s niece, upfront (alongside Chaplen) in a family familiar role of centre forward.
Spurs kicked off and had the first decent chance of the match after 11 minutes, Kit Graham on target but with a comfortable save for Grace Moloney.
Reading’s best chance of the match (you now know in what direction this is heading) fell to the Olympic gold medallist Rose, with ex-Reading centre back Molly Bartrip helping the Royals by losing possession, centrally just outside the penalty area. Rose failed to seize upon this gift of an opportunity choosing and failing to round the keeper when it looked easier to go for goal with a shot.
Five minutes before half time, Spurs were equally guilty of missing a great opportunity, firstly with Kit Graham’s shot saved by the Reading keeper and the follow up shot, from Percival, kept out of the goal with some last ditch goal line defending from Tash Harding.
As many will know, I’m a big fan of the quality of the WSL but this half didn’t live up to the standards I expected to see. When I heard that the FA Player had gone offline for a while, it crossed my mind that they hadn’t missed much! Both managers’ half-time team talks would surely be similar?
If it was a battle of who held the best half-time team talk, the winner appeared to be the Tottenham manager. Spurs out of the starting block, in a hive of activity, dominated the next 20 minutes with shot after shot including efforts from Ubogagu and Graham. After a cross was fizzed in from the Spurs right it looked as though Williams must surely score with a header in the six-yard box, but this attempt rebounded off of the Reading keeper - an excellent point-blank block on the line.
The only real notable effort for Reading in the second half was on the 64th minute, from Rose (later replaced by Eikland), with a right-foot effort high and over the crossbar. Reading only had two corners in the whole match both simultaneously, within 30 seconds, and perhaps summing up the afternoon with Brooke Chaplen swinging the second effort directly out of play close to near post.
Kelly Chambers tried to change the momentum swapping Emma Harries for Lily Woodham, with Tash Harding moving from left back to replace Emma Harries on the right side of the attack.
The inevitable happened in the 84th minute, with Jessica Naz nicely finishing a pass through the centre of defence to slot the ball past Grace Moloney. 1-0 to the home side. And that’s how it finished.
Similar to the events at the other Tottenham Stadium last night, the Royals failed to land the necessary punches to hurt the opposition. I left the stadium feeling disappointed with both the performance and the result, leaving the Royals with zero points after three matches. Perhaps that’s a harsh reflection, with Spurs top of the league and maximum points as we travelled home through the London traffic.