Reading FC Women endured a frustrating and difficult afternoon on Sunday losing to Birmingham City Women by one goal to nil. A solitary Claudia Walker strike was enough to hand the away side all three points and leave Reading Women wondering how they could have lost a game they dominated for long periods.
Thirteen shots on target to Reading versus four for Birmingham tells the story of the ninety minutes at Madejski Stadium on Sunday, the Royals had looked to build upon impressive victories over West Ham United and Aston Villa but the Blues had other ideas.
Reading struck the woodwork twice in the first half from shots by Amelie Eikeland and Brooke Chaplen, but they came closest to a goal when Jess Fishlock’s long-range shot was palmed away by Hannah Hampton in the Birmingham goal.
The first half ended goalless, but with Reading in the ascendency. They dominated possession and Birmingham rarely troubled Reading’s goal. Grace Moloney dealing with a few crosses was all Birmingham had to show from their attacking endeavours.
It is testament to Reading’s squad building over the summer that they had the ability to bring on players of the quality of Danielle Carter, Fara Williams and Kristine Leine. The changes spurred the home side into action with twenty minutes to go and a goalmouth scramble saw the ball strike the base of the Birmingham post and roll to safety. Despite the added firepower at Reading’s disposal it wasn’t enough to stop Birmingham taking the lead on the 72nd minute. The goal coming from a breakaway after a Reading attack, a low cross from Sarah Mayling turned home by Claudia Walker.
After the goal Reading’s sense of urgency did increase, however they were unable to peg Birmingham back. A Natasha Harding glancing header from a Kristine Leine cross was the closest the home side got to equalising. The Berkshire club had made a habit last season of scoring late goals, howver they were unable to break down Birmingham’s stubborn defence and the game petered out to an away victory.
Kelly Chambers has some interesting decisions to make this week with the visit of Lucy Bronze’s Manchester City to the Madejski Stadium next Sunday. City were beaten by Chelsea this weekend and like Reading will want to bounce back quickly from their respective disappointments.
View more of Neil Graham’s photos from the fixture here.