Reading FC Women v Manchester City Women
7:45pm kick-off, Adams Park
£6 Adult £3 Concession
“We know just how good City are, they’ve got a tremendous depth of talent in their squad. But, as we showed on Sunday, we have the qualities there to compete.”– Phil Cousins (Reading FC Assistant Manager)
“We don’t know a lot about Reading, as we haven’t played them yet. But rest assured, come Wednesday, we’ll know every inch of their game and we’ll go on that pitch to try and win the game the best we can.”– Nick Cushing (Manchester City Manager)
“No team is easy in this league. We have to take each game as it comes and keep doing what we’re doing and growing as a team. Let’s get three points and carry on the winning streak. If we keep playing like we are, no-one can stop us at the minute.”– Georgia Stanway (Manchester City)
Just three days after both sides’ last respective fixtures, FA WSL 1 action returns to Adams Park. This time Reading FC Women face the league leaders Manchester City Women in what will no doubt be an action packed game.
Last time out, the Royals recorded their sixth draw of the campaign with the game against Notts County Ladies ending 1-1. The Lady Pies took the lead in the first half through an inch-perfect Danielle Buet free kick, but Emma Follis equalised in the second when she cut in from the left wing and curled one into the top corner. It was yet another impressive performance for Reading but the elusive first win still evades them.
Reading’s opponents, meanwhile, seem to have few problems when it comes to recording victories. Man City won their most recent game against Sunderland AFC Ladies 3-0 and have now won eight of their ten fixtures. The goals this time came from 17-year-old Georgia Stanway, who bagged a hat-trick.
When looking at Man City’s performances thus far, it is clear that the Royals will have to be at their very best to stop them. City have a number of top England internationals in their ranks including Karen Bardsley, Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze, Jill Scott, Toni Duggan, Izzy Christiansen, Demi Stokes and Nikita Parris. On top of this they have Swedish international Kosovare Asllani, Irish international Megan Campbell, Dutch international Tessel Middag, Scottish internationals Jane Ross and Jennifer Beattie as well as upcoming talent such as Georgia Stanway. City have quality players in abundance in all areas of the pitch and it has shown in their results.
City have lost on only one occasion this season- against Chelsea Ladies in the FA Cup- and remain unbeaten in the league. In the process of their ten league fixtures they have scored 24 goals and conceded only 2. To put it into perspective, City’s top scorer Jane Ross has scored 10 goals in 14 games. Reading as a team, meanwhile, have scored only 8 goals in 9 games.
City also like scoring goals for fun in their games- with their biggest league scoreline being a 6-0 win against promoted side Doncaster Rovers Belles. What Reading have demonstrated thus far, however, is their ability to stay strong defensively and composed when playing the ball out from the back. The most goals they have conceded in a single game is 3 so they have not been subject to a thrashing thus far.
The promising statistic for Reading will be that both of City’s draws this season have come against Liverpool Ladies. While Liverpool were once the ones to beat in the top FA WSL division, they have been overtaken in recent years by the likes of Man City, Chelsea Ladies and Arsenal Ladies. When facing City, however, Liverpool got their tactics spot on and managed to take something from both games. If Kelly Chambers and her Reading coaching staff can take note then they are more than capable of disrupting a strong City team.
The main concern for the Royals will be their ability to score down the other end. Reading have been resolute defensively this season and have players such as Emma Follis, Lauren Bruton, Jade Boho Sayo, Helen Ward and Melissa Fletcher who are all capable of converting chances if given the opportunity. Follis, in particular, is on an impressive run of form at the moment and demonstrated her ability once more with her well taken goal against Notts County at the weekend.
Reading up until this point, however, have scored only a third of Man City’s total goals this season and, on occasion, it has been the difference between a draw and a win. That being said, the Royals are more than capable of creating chances without leaving themselves open to the counter attack. If they can perform to the best of their ability and start finishing the chances that fall their way, then who knows what will happen on Wednesday evening.