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Women's Football News
Portsmouth 1 Reading FC Women 2
Reading won their opening Premier League Cup group game away to the side which replaced them in the National Division this season, Portsmouth.
Two first half goals gave Reading an advantage which they protected successfully against waves of Pompey attacks, especially after the home team had halved the deficit early in the second half. Both teams created a host of chances in a thrilling game which was a credit to both clubs, their coaching staff and all the players.
Reading started well and Stacie Donnelly had a good chance to open the scoring but shot wide. Portsmouth went very close on six minutes when Leeta Rutherford blasted a 20-yard shot against the underside of the bar. Sadie Blakely denied Fran Kirby with a point blank block whilst at the other end Kaylee Schumann-Edwards went close with a far post header from a Shelly Cox corner.
Rosanna Lane nearly put Reading ahead from a corner before Grace Moloney denied Pompey with a fine save after great work down the left by Charley Wilson set up a Kirsty McGee shot.
Fran Kirby scored the opening goal with an excellent solo effort. She raced down the left before cutting back across the area past two tackles and burying a right foot shot in the bottom right of Blakeley's goal on 20 minutes. Reading looked dangerous every time they attacked at this point with Kirby, Donnelly, Becky Jane and Lois Roche moving the ball round at pace. They went close twice more in a minute around the half hour before Donnelly set up the second goal, winning a tackle in midfield before releasing Kirby for a calm finish on 32 minutes.
Portsmouth carried on pushing forward despite these setbacks and pressed for a way back. Lauren Murphy powered in a header from another teasing corner but Kirby made her third telling intervention of the half with a headed goal line clearance to preserve the two-goal lead at the break.
Pompey stepped up the pressure and twice went close on 52 minutes, from a Cox shot and a McGee header. A free kick was then cleverly guided by Murphy into the path of Gemma Hillier who finished powerfully to halve the deficit two minutes later. Reading were always dangerous, however and Blakely soon made fine saves to deny Kirby and Jane in one-on-one situations.
Portsmouth mounted a sustained assault on the Reading goal as the match moved in the last fifteen minutes. Wilson twice worked her into the box on the right to create chances and Rutherford shot over when well placed from ten yards. Moloney denied the same player with a fine save before excellent blocking on the line by Lane and Stacey Wiggins prevented a certain equaliser for the home team in a frantic scramble on 90 minutes.
After lengthy stoppage time, Reading could savour a fine victory earned by a real team effort against a Pompey side who had fought very hard to close the two-goal gap. With the other group match between Yeovil Town and Cardiff City ending in a draw, the Berkshire side are on top of their group after the first round of matches.
Portsmouth: Sadie Blakeley, Jade Kirby, Niamh Rawlins, Leeta Rutherford, Lauren Murphy, Kaylee Schumann-Edwards, Lindsey Roe, Kirsty McGee, Gemma Hillier, Charley Wilson, Shelly Cox. Subs: Sarah Kempson, Fiona McMillan, Gemma Simmonds.
Reading FC Women: Grace Moloney, Stacey Wiggins, Harriet Scott, Stacie Donnelly, Beth Donovan, Rosanna Lane, Rebekah Haines, Charlotte Chard, Becky Jane, Lois Roche, Fran Kirby. Subs: Emma Jones, Chloe Tucker, Charlotte Young.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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