After a pre-season that promises to be four times as long as the actual season, Reading Women embark on their WSL1 Spring Series campaign this weekend as they travel to newly-promoted Bristol.
As most people will have seen by now, this year in the WSL is a bit of a one-off as it moves to a traditional Winter schedule later this year. For now we have the never-to-be-seen-again Spring Season to bridge the gap between last year’s Summer Season and this year’s Winter Season.
The Spring Series format means that each of the 10 WSL1 teams will play each other once over a 6 week period and that there will be no promotions or relegations at the end of it. Reading will only have 4 home games this season so if you want to see any action you’ll need to be on your toes! Our games at Adam’s Park will be as follows:
- 3rd May – Chelsea
- 7th May – Manchester City
- 21st May – Notts County
- 28th May – Birmingham
But for now let’s have a ponder about Bristol v Reading on Saturday at 6pm at Ashton Gate and see what there is to look out for…
Bristol Adapting To Life Back In WSL1
Bristol dropped out of WSL1 for the 2016 season but managed to get back out at the first attempt, finishing second on goal difference to Yeovil last season. They were pretty good in front of goal netting 37 times in 18 games (with Claire Emslie and Millie Farrow picking up 19 between them), compared to Reading who hit the target 15 times in 16 games in their WSL1 campaign.
Bristol were also pretty mean in defence, giving away just 16 goals in their 18 games compared to Reading’s 26 in 16. But as we found out last season there is a pretty big gap between WSL1 and WSL2! Will Willie Kirk’s young, attacking side maintain their WSL2 style of play or will they focus on defence and keep it tight – let’s hope for the former as it’ll make for a much more enjoyable encounter! The injured Millie Farrow will be a big loss for them though.
Reading’s Attacking Options
Virtually all of Reading’s attacking options from the free-scoring, promotion-winning 2015 season have since departed and last season saw a far more defensive setup.
We looked to be heading into the new season with Melissa Fletcher as our lone forward, but the good news is that young striker Anissa Lahmari joined us recently on loan from Paris St. Germain to bolster our front line.
It’ll be really interesting to see how she adapts to the English game and could be a really important addition to the team. Fingers crossed it’ll mean a bit more action in front of goal for this season and something for the fans to shout about!
Lauren Bruton and Rachel Furness also netted in our recent friendly with Real Betis in what sounded like a pretty exciting game so I’m cautiously optimistic for an exciting season ahead!
Watch highlights of Real Betis vs Reading Women
Lauren Bruton Hitting Form
Lauren is one of our most technically gifted players, with excellent close control, an eye for goal, decent movement off the ball and a good work ethic. The goals never really came last season and most of our attacking threat came from Emma Follis on the break.
This season Emma is gone, along with quite a few of our other forwards, so the stage is set for Lauren to really take off this year. With a goal against Real Betis recently and a bit of confidence coming through she could have a great season.
Whatever happens tomorrow it’s great to see the season kicking off again and let’s hope for an exciting and successful one!
Main image: Lauren Bruton by Neil Graham.