Reading Royals Women were handed a shock first defeat of the Women’s Super Series Tier Two on Saturday, as they were beaten by London Genesis Futsal.
The Royals beat Genesis in the first half of the season 8-1 in a televised BT Sport fixture, in which Hedda Ejnarsson scored four, and Daisy Mifflin, Karima Elouath and Sammy Nazif also got on the score sheet. However, more recently, in a friendly tournament, a new look Genesis side looked much stronger, drawing and narrowly losing in the two matches.
Reading went into Saturday’s fixture with a strong side. Captain Sarah Thompson returned to the fray, with top-scorer Alicia Povey also available. New signings Eva Ramsey and Becky Scott were joined in the side by Cristina Sarmiento-Carrasco, Molly Ripley, Sammy Nazif, Sophie Bone, Louise Pullan and Shauna Giltinan.
Coach Fernando Silva’s starting-five of Thompson, Povey, Ramsey, Scott and Sarmiento looked bright in the opening exchanges, creating a number of chances but failing to put any past the Genesis keeper.
It was the London side that opened the scoring, with Ashleigh Lewis-Shodeinde sliding a ball under the onrushing Sarmiento, much to the frustration of the Royals bench.
Lewis-Shodeinde continued to cause issues for the Royals, and Reading had to keep their cool as a number of fouls from the number 11 broke up play, and nearly broke players…
Louise Pullan levelled the score as her shot ricocheted into the back of the net, and it looked like Reading would go on to really take control of the game, as they hit the post, had shots saved and saw efforts fly just wide or high with little response.
Despite Royals having the lion’s share of opportunities, Genesis were clinical with the limited chances they had, and Lewis-Shodeinde scored twice before the end of the first half to make it 3-1.
Half-time: London Genesis Futsal 3-1 Reading Royals
Fernando Silva sent his opening five players to kick-off the second half, and it was a near miracle that they didn’t at least quadruple their score in the opening five minutes. The Royals hit the post numerous times, Povey missed an open goal, and they saw countless shots saved by an in-form keeper.
Finally, Thompson found a breakthrough, as her stinging strike hit the back of the net to reduce the deficit.
Frustrating refereeing decisions made the second half an uphill battle for the Royals, and it was a relief when Genesis were finally handed a number of yellow cards.
Lewis-Shodeinde scored her fourth for Genesis late in the second period, beating Molly Ripley in the Royals goal.
Becky Scott brought Reading close to level terms as a well-worked corner routine saw the new signing smash a shot into the top-corner and the side continued to push for the all-important winning goal.
However, it was not meant to be, and Genesis took all three points in the hard-fought game. A frustrating defeat for the Royals, who dominated possession and shot stats but who weren’t clinical enough to secure the win.
Full-time: London Genesis Futsal 4-3 Reading Royals
Reading have the weekend off the National Futsal Series, and return with a friendly match against Bloomsbury Futsal on Saturday 26th February – an opportunity to give a number of players more game time, after two close opening matches which have put them second in the league.