It’s been a little while now since Reading Women FC secured their place in the top flight for the new-look Winter WSL1 season starting towards the later stages of 2017. For those of you that may have forgotten what happened in the 2016 season, Reading finished in 8th place out of 9, with Doncaster Belles ending quite a way adrift and being relegated straight back to WSL2 as a consequence.
It was a steady first season in the top flight for the Royals, competing well in virtually every match and collecting 9 points along the way. They earned plaudits from some of the top managers in the game for their organisation, commitment and work ethic and never really looked threatened by relegation at any stage.
It was very much about being hard to beat last season and 6 draws were a good indication of that! There wasn’t quite the attacking flair and goalscoring threat that some fans may have hoped for, clearly evidenced by the team only finding the net on 15 occasions in 16 matches.
‘There was a lot of effort and commitment and it paid off well with safety secured a few weeks before the season ended’
But there was a lot of effort and commitment and it paid off well with safety secured a few weeks before the season ended. With that being the primary aim at the start of the season it was clearly a successful campaign.
Since the anti-climactic last game of the season where we suffered defeat against relegated Donny at Adam’s Park a lot has changed in terms of personnel. So with the first competitive game ahead of them in the FA Cup away to Manchester City Women this Saturday what has changed and who should we be looking out for? Let’s have a gander…
Quite a few players left Reading at the end of last season, predominantly because they hadn’t featured much and weren’t looking likely to play a part in the new look WSL1 Spring Season. In no particular order:
Jade Boho-Sayo returned to Spain
Helen Ward left and has since joined Yeovil
Lois Roche left and has since joined Aland United in Finland
Laura-May Walkley left and has since joined London Bees
Nia Jones left and has been getting successfully back into international netball
Amber Keegan-Stobbs left and has since joined Everton
Emma Follis left to join Birmingham
Sophie Perry left and has returned to Brighton
Shelly Provan left and has since joined Notts County
In addition, Kylie McCarthy is due to have a little one in the next few months so will be missing from action in the Spring Series.
Despite the ten mentioned above that we won’t be seeing this season, manager Kelly Chambers says that the squad now has much more depth than last season. So who has joined and who should we watch out for?