Reading FC Women defy club chaos as Jessie Stapleton keeps Royals up

Jessie Stapleton celebrates the goal that keeps Reading FC Women up. Photo: Neil Graham.
Jessie Stapleton celebrates the goal that keeps Reading FC Women up. Photo: Neil Graham.

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Reading FC Women 1-0 Durham City. The result secures The Royals another season of FA Women’s Championship football.

More importantly though, the win – at least from a status perspective – ensures the club’s Academy status remains in place for the girls and young women of Berkshire.

Going into the game and on the pitch at least, Reading needed one win from their last two games to avoid a second successive relegation with games against fellow strugglers Durham and bottom side Watford.

A welcome return for Jackie Burns. Photo: Neil Graham.
A welcome return for Jackie Burns. Photo: Neil Graham.

With the game level on the hour but Durham reduced to 10 players after 30 minutes, Jessie Stapleton capitalised on some chaos in the visitor’s box as the Royals match reports describes: “[Jesse] Woolley spearheaded a determined push up the pitch with a penetrating run down the left flank. After outmanoeuvring her marker, Woolley cut inside, aiming to curl her shot into the top right corner. However, a deflection diverted the ball wide of the post, resulting in a corner.

“The ensuing corner led to Reading breaking the deadlock in a chaotic fashion. Saunders’ attempted clearance nearly backfired as the ball cannoned off the crossbar, only to be cleared to the edge of the box. Hendrix’s crucial flick-on found Jessie Stapleton, who capitalized on the opportunity to slot home Reading’s pivotal goal.”

Victory for Reading then whose season hasn’t all been doom and gloom, impressive wins over promotion-chasing Charlton Athletic and Sunderland as well as a hard-earned home draw against leaders Crystal Palace has given fans hope for the future with a young inexperienced side.

What happens next of course is up to Reading Football Club’s expected new owners and whether they give full backing to a team and an area full of so much potential – as the Royals domestic double-winning under 21 side has proved.

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