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Report: Reading Women 1 Blues Women 0

AMALIE Eikeland’s neat lob decided matters as Blues lost 1-0 in a war of attrition at Reading.

The visitors had enough of the play and openings to feel they could have got a share of the Women’s Super League spoils at Adams Park but a lack of fortune and punch in the final third proved costly.

Manager Marta Tejedor made one change from the 2-0 defeat at Arsenal, Sarah Mayling returning at full-back with teenage prospect Lily Simkin on the bench.

New signings Emma Kelly, who received international clearance in the week, and Georgia Brougham were named on the bench and Brianna Visalli returned as a substitute. Connie Scofield missed out through injury.

The match was keenly contested if a little scrappy from the off but the Royals gradually built pressure, Eikeland and Chaplen having routine shots covered by Blues keeper Hannah Hampton before Eikeland cleared the bar with a lob.

Abbi Grant saw things open up for her at the other end, latching on to a perfectly-weighted pass from Lucy Staniforth but she was forced away from goal by Sophie Howard and Chloe Arthur’s shot from distance shortly after was comfortably clutched by Rachel Laws.

Blues enjoyed a decent spell from there, getting down the right frequently without finding the right delivery and got punished for not making that count just before the break.

The loose ball forward from a midfield collision dropped into the run of Eikeland whose first touch was immediately followed by an instinctive lob over Hampton to open the scoring.

Blues might have levelled within a minute, Rachel Williams dashing into space down the right to find Grant who was thwarted at the near post by Laws, albeit from a tight angle.

The second half was much the same as the first with tense battles and sporadic play all over, although Blues did start well.

Howard threw herself at Grant’s half-volley on the move from the left of the box with Arthur spreading the rebound to Mayling whose cross was a little too strong for Rachel Williams at the far post.

Staniforth then drove forward and guided out to her right with Claudia Walker cutting in to flash a bouncing shot narrowly wide of the far post.

A couple of Staniforth free-kicks caused confusion but just would not bounce for Blues and having withstood that pressure, Reading regained momentum in the final 20 minutes.

Eikeland flashed across goal and narrowly wide from an acute angle, while substitute Lisa-Marie Utland ruffled a few feathers and teed up Fara Williams to find Eikeland to force a fine point-blank stop from Hampton with a minute to go.

Blues got up the pitch a little more as the clock wound down but there was nothing to concern Laws.

Reading: Laws, Pacheco (Harding 76), Potter, Howard (Bartrip 56), Rowe, Allen, Moore, James, F Williams, Chaplen (Utland 71), Eikeland.

Unused subs: Farrow, Bennink, Stewart (g/k).

Goals: Eikeland 39.

Bookings: Moore 45+3.

Blues: Hampton, Jordan, Holloway, Scott, Mayling (Simkin 66), Arthur, Staniforth, Whipp, Grant (Visalli 74), R Williams, Walker.

Unused subs: Kelly, Brougham, Brooks (g/k).

Bookings: R Williams 72.

Referee: Thomas Bisham.

Attendance: 733.

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