Reading FC Women thoroughly deserved all three points from their gripping home tie with Sunderland in the FA Women’s Championship on Sunday.
It may have been a different story had Sunderland’s Louise Griffiths not seen red for a ludicrous pull of Bethan Roberts hair half an hour in, but truth be told, after a tough opening 10, Reading were very much in control of the game before the sending off.
Halle Houssein controlled the middle and the counter attack was proving fruitful off of new signing Jesse Woolley. The downside to Woolley winning plaudits either side of the box was the Woolley wasn’t in the box to be on the end of that good work.
If Reading had a problem in this game, it was in playing the ball out of defence. Time and again the Royals tried forward passes that were easily cut out by Sunderland. How the visitors didn’t manage to capitalise is anyone’s guess.
Despite being a player down, Sunderland went through the gears as you would expect a side in second chasing promotion to the FA WSL.
The Black Cats piled on the pressure but that gave Reading’s counter attacks more space, with Lauren Wade one of the chief architects.
The only goal of the game came on 77 minutes, good work down the right saw the ball eventually fall to substitute Madison Perry who had the composure to slot it past Claudia Moan at the far post.
With Reading much more at ease and looking to run down time, six minutes injury time became 10 after goalkeeper Emily Orman received treatment.
It was a nail-biting period with Sunderland winning a number of free kicks and creating opportunities from those.
Reading thought held firm and took a deserved three points. It remains tight at the bottom of the Championship with Royals on 15 points above London City (12), Watford (12), and Lewes (10) – the latter earning a 1-1 draw at home to leaders Charlton Athletic courtesy of an Aimee Claypole strike.
The Royals are next in action at Charlton on the 18th February, then home to London City on the 3rd March.