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Women's Football News
Reading FC Women 3 (McGee 17, Follis 38,76) Durham Women 0
Reading kept hold of top spot in WSL 2 with a convincing performance in a 3-0 victory over Durham Women at Farnborough.
Having beaten the Wildcats by five goals in the last match before the break, the only real drawback of an imaginative and fluent performance was the chances which were missed in the second half. Durham started brightly but faded once the hosts took the lead, though it was only really the third goal which allowed Reading to be totally sure of the points.
Reading had new signings Nia Jones and Nikki Watts on the bench and departed favourite Fran Kirby watching from the stand but it was the visitors, with their new signing Natalie Gutteridge prominent, who made the better start, moving the ball well and forcing Grace Moloney into action twice early on, then seeing a Beth Hepple effort bounce away off the top of the bar.
Reading slowly started to find their attacking feet but it was from a set piece that they opened the score. skipper Kirsty McGee powering home a header from a right side corner by Lois Roche on 17 minutes. Roche had a shot from distance bounce off the top of the bar as Reading started to dominate.
The hosts went very close to a second with a lovely move which freed Becky Jane to round keeper Helen Alderson but fine covering prevented her shot on the turn from going in.
It was Emma Follis who notched the second, finishing calmly after Alderson's parry from her initial effort had fallen kindly on 38 minutes. Moloney had to make a sharp save, dashing from her line to block Jemma Purfield's shot to ensure that Reading went to the break with a two-goal cushion.
Watts had replaced the injured Lauren Bruton around the half hour and was soon in the thick of the action. Her run and cross saw Helen Ward volley inches wide at the near post on 54 minutes, then Watts fired just over when well placed. Roche again found the woodwork from distance but Durham were still in the match without ever creating many clear chances.
Good work from Watts on the left set up the decisive third, slipping her marker to send in a cross which caused havoc in the Durham defence, whose attempt to clear may well have hit Follis and dropped inches over the line before Alderson scooped the ball away on 76 minutes, Follis being credited with her second goal on the night.
The Durham keeper made an excellent save to deny Watts a debut goal and Follis fired just over as the hosts were somehow unable to add to their tally late on.
Reading were impressive all over the pitch, solid at the back with great support work from Rachel Rowe and Laura May Walkley to stifle the Durham threat. As always, the Royals had plenty going forward and eventually Durham were overwhelmed by the variety of attacking options available. Hopefully, any new fans in the crowd of 319 will have been impressed by the entertainment on offer as the WSL resumes.
Reading FC Women: Grace Moloney, Rebecca Jane, Kirsty McGee, Kylie Davies, Harriett Scott, Lois Roche, Rachel Rowe (sub Bonnie Horwood 58mins), Laura May Walkley (sub Charlie Estcourt 83mins), Emma Follis, Lauren Bruton (sub Nikki Watts 37mins), Helen Ward. Subs not used: Georgie Giddings, Rebekah Haines, Nia Jones, Chloe Samson.
Durham Women: Helen Alderson, Jen Jennings, Sarah Wilson, Julie Nelson, Jess Havelock, Chloe Macek, Rachel Lee (sub Lauren Jordinson 67mins), Jordan Atkinson (sub Courtney Corrie 45mins), Beth Hepple, Natalie Gutteridge (sub Anna Moorhouse 90mins), Nicki Gears.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Rebecca Jane gets in a challenge on Jess Havelock
(middle) Sarah Wilson blocks a cross by Helen Ward
(bottom) Nikki Watts takes on Lauren Jordinson
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