Rose injury, debatable penalties and Manchester United look contenders

Deanne Rose. Photo: Neil Graham.
Deanne Rose. Photo: Neil Graham.

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Reading FC Women suffered a miserable afternoon at Leigh Sports Village losing 4-0 to Manchester United Women in their FA Women’s Super League season opener.

Here are Andrew Belt’s five talking points from the game.

Nervous wait for Deanne Rose injury verdict

Canadian attacker, Deanne Rose, went off injured in the 25th -minute. What seemed an innocuous trip on the turf at Leigh Sports Village ended Rose’s game and was the greatest
cause for concern for the Royals. Manager, Kelly Chambers, after the game said the club would have to prepare itself for the ‘worst possible news’. A key player for the team and the
best player in blue and white until her injury, let’s hope she won’t be out of action for too long!

Moloney’s kicking issue

Reading FC Women goalkeeper Grace Moloney. Photo: Neil Graham.
Reading FC Women goalkeeper Grace Moloney. Photo: Neil Graham.

Speaking of injuries, Grace Moloney deferred goal-kicking duties to her defensive team-mates suggesting she might be carrying an injury. Either way. The Irishwoman acquitted herself well on a busy day in nets with United on shooting practice for much of the game.

Slowing the game down?

In the early minutes of the game, Moloney took a very long time in setting down the ball for goal-kicks. This appeared to be part of the game plan to slow the hosts down but fell apart after Maya Le Tissier put United in front in the fourth-minute. It suggested it would be a long afternoon for Reading and will be interesting to see what tactics are implemented against the league’s ‘big four’ as the season progresses.

Debatable penalty call

The first-half was full of incidents. After the slightly fortuitous opening goal, Reading set off on an attack and Rose’s low cross appeared to strike the hand of the United defender nearest to her. It would have been incredibly harsh to have given the penalty though Chambers disagreed dwelling on what may have been different had it been given. More debatable, however, was the penalty awarded to United. Moloney raced out to meet Alessio Russo in the box diving at the forward’s feet. The ball was prodded forward and Russo
upended but what was unclear to tell from the camera angle provided by the FA Player was whether Moloney had got her gloves on the ball. Maybe with one of these decisions going Reading’s way the contest wouldn’t have been over so early.

Manchester United look FA WSL contenders

Maya Le Tissier playing for Brighton last season upo against Lily Woodham. Photo: Neil Graham.
Maya Le Tissier playing for Brighton last season upo against Lily Woodham. Photo: Neil Graham.

Whilst it could be easy to dwell on the shortcomings of Reading’s performance, it would be unfair not to consider just how good Manchester United were. Le Tissier looked considerably older than the 20 years she has lived in commanding the hosts’ defence, Ona Batlle and Lucia Garcia covered every inch of grass on the right-hand side of the pitch, Katie Zelem quarterbacked from midfield authoritatively and Ella Toone and Russo carried on where they left from the Euros. It may just be one game but United could well challenge for the title based on the evidence of Saturday.

Read more: Manchester United Women vs Reading FC Women in the FA WSL

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