A cold weekend meant a limited amount of games, but we enjoyed the ones that did get on.
As ever, thoughts and opinions and anything we missed in the comments at the bottom please.
The Reading FC Women drummers
If you asked this writer to describe a matchday at the Select Car Leasing Stadium it would be this: ‘A car park with a football ground.’
It can at times be a pretty drab place to watch a game, particularly when things aren’t going so well on the pitch. London Irish rugby club did a decent job once a year of livening things up with their St Patrick’s Day party but of course, that is no more, and the club recently dabbled with a food market before men’s team home games from the amazing team at Blue Collar Food, that too is now no more.
So when our photographer Neil Graham sends a couple of images of drummers at the Reading vs Manchester United game on Sunday we were chuffed to bits. Drums aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but you can hear from the highlight reel that the noise and the record crowd really made a difference.
That Reading competed with the Red Devils and their pride of Lionesses certainly helped, but long may the drumming continue – and if you know who they are do get in touch.
The smart cookie who booked a Plan B for Maidenhead United Women
There were loads of games off at the weekend, so whoever it was at Maidenhead that booked Slough’s Arbour Park facility for the visit of AFC Bournemouth in the FA Women’s National League deserves a round of applause.
Aware the York Road pitch had been frozen for a number of the men’s first-team games, the match was switched to Arbour Park, and what a game it was. The Magpies pushed the promotion-chasing Cherries all the way and were moments from causing an upset when Megan Halfacree dragged her penalty wide of the post.
Both teams also took a moment to pose with the haunting Knife Angel sculpture currently in situ at the ground to remind visitors of the horrors of knife crime and remember victims and their families.
A full report on the game is available from the wonderful Wandering Tractor website here.
Not everyone agreed with games being called off
It’s fair to say Reading City’s frustration at their home game with Windsor being called off was fairly loud.
The Cityzens were confident early on that their game at the Rivermoor would be on, but around an hour and a half before kick-off the game was postponed by the referee.
Contrary to the FA WSL game the following day between Chelsea and Liverpool which – it was strongly argued should have been called off long before it eventually was, 6 minutes into the game. The club made the point they felt the pitch was playable was made by Reading and their tenant Woodley United playing a friendly on the pitch at 3pm.
It probably remains sensible when the weather is as predictable as it has been of late, to call games off early, saving travel and getting everyone’s hopes up. It shows how hard it can be to have a ‘one size fits all’ methodology though when you do have grounds that cope better than others.
Mary Earps and Jacqueline Burns quietly being brilliant
If anyone still thinks that the goalkeepers in the women’s game are the weak link, then they’ve not been watching Manchester United’s Mary Earps. The England number one is a superb goalkeeper and was called on a number of times to perform heroics during her side’s eventual 1-0 win over her former club Reading FC Women – including a full stretch save from Justine Vanhavermaet in the second half.
The clean sheet against Reading also happened to be her 50th for Manchester United.
Her opposite number Jacqui Burns, the Northern Ireland stopper, hasn’t done to badly either. Displacing Reading’s long-serving Grace Moloney at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, she was on top form on Sunday and made several important blocks including a penalty save from Katie Zelem.
If you doubt me, the highlights are here via Sky Sports.