Following their first defeat of the season last time out, Reading FC Women will be aiming to return to winning ways against eighth placed Oxford United Women. Currently sitting in second in WSL 2, Reading have started the new season brightly. Winning their first three of four fixtures, and scoring sixteen goals in the process, they have only been bettered by the Doncaster Rovers Belles who are currently unbeaten in the league. In comparison, Oxford have struggled to get into their stride so far, having won only one game and scoring a single goal. If the statistics are anything to believe, it should be an easy victory for the home side. As last week’s result showed, however, Oxford have some hope of causing another upset.
Despite Reading taking a 1-0 lead into half-time, courtesy of a great Bonnie Horwood goal, Reading went on to lose the game 4-2 in the last few minutes. With Fran Kirby also finding the net, her goal tally for the season now sits at eleven goals, and she will be keen to continue her prolific run into the next match. Reading will be disappointed to have lost the game in the last few minutes, having pulled it back to 2-2, so will be keen to learn from it and move on this time around.
“People might just think that if you stop Fran Kirby then you stop Reading, but they have got quality all around the pitch. Fran isn’t the only one that has scored goals this season, so there is plenty of danger there.”– Oxford Captain Sahara Osborne-Ricketts
Oxford have now failed to score in their last three games, losing against Aston Villa, Yeovil Town and Durham. Their last victory, and only goal, of the season came in March when they beat Watford 1-0, courtesy of a Sahara Osborne-Ricketts strike. They will have to start finding the net if they are to take any points away from the Royals, who are seemingly efficient in front of goal. With the likes of Emma Follis, Bonnie Horwood and Lauren Bruton all finding the net for Reading so far, the Royals aren’t simply relying on Kirby.
“Everyone can see what a big impact our goals have been making. We are scoring loads and not conceding very many – until Saturday, anyway – so you are always going to start the season well if that is the case.”– Reading Midfielder Bonnie Horwood
With Reading’s ultimate aim of the season being promotion into WSL 1, early results indicate that they are well on their way to achieving just that. A win or draw will be enough to take Reading to the top spot of the league, with Doncaster Rovers Belles not playing their next fixture against Aston Villa until Sunday. A surprise victory for Oxford would do little to boost their league position, due to their goal difference, but would do wonders for their confidence. Tonight’s game, however, is another great opportunity for Reading to take all three points and the players will be keen to get back on track.