Skip to main content

Brighton 1-3 Reading

Reading scored more than once for the first time since September to end a run of six winless games away at Brighton.

Reading's press forced the turnover for Fishlock to capitalise on

The difference-maker was evidently Jess Fishlock, who was involved in all three goals. At times in possession, Angharad James seemed to play as the lone anchor, meaning Fishlock could push forward. Both her goals were slightly fortuitous but brought about by Reading's press. Brighton's Felicity Gibbons played an errant pass under pressure into the middle of the park, straight to Fishlock. Rebekah Stott slipped as she went to close down the midfielder, giving Fishlock the time to pick her spot from 18 yards.

Next, it was the turn of the right-back, Maya Le Tissier (I checked, no relation), to be robbed of possession. Maybe there's something up with the pitch in Crawley because Le Tissier also slipped, allowing Lily Woodham to attack the box. Victoria Williams got her head on the cross, but could only divert to the onrushing Fishlock, who smashed the ball home.

Reading had a few chances breaking away but got the final pass wrong for all but Rachel Rowe's goal.

Reading lead the league in tackles in both the middle and final thirds, and in total pressures (particularly in the final third). That hasn't always paid dividends this season but was key to the success here. Even Rachel Rowe's goal to seal it was set up from a defensive action, with Cooper winning a header on the halfway line. The ball fell to Fishlock, who drove at the defence before feeding Rowe. The Welsh international (sorry, I know that doesn't narrow it down) chipped over the keeper and scored off the post. I'm not convinced it was actually over the line, but it's not my opinion that matters.

Eikeland drew out the left-back, allowing Harding to make a run into the channel

The somewhat strange shape of the away side's formation caused issues for Brighton, with their left-back being dragged out of position by Eikeland on more than one occasion. Harding managed to run into the space created, but Bruton played more centrally, with Eikeland looking to run those channels. Even then, she found space behind Gibbons - though she was less likely to be found.

Fara Williams, who has been such a crucial part of the side since joining from Arsenal, looks an increasingly peripheral figure. She had no shots, no key passes, and the joint fewest pressures of any outfield player playing over an hour. Obviously, she does bring set-piece ability, but there's enough in the squad that it's not game-changing at the moment. Perhaps she's still feeling the effects of her injury, and it would be foolish to write off a genuine legend like Williams, but Reading need to see more.

Harries breaks clear of the defence, gets into the box, and should shoot into the far corner! But instead faffs about, and the keeper smothers. Decision making will come with game time.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Emma Harries has forced her way into the side with none of Reading's established forwards firing. The eighteen-year-old has looked lively in both her outings, but so far hasn't shown an end product. That will hopefully come, as she's getting into the right areas, consistently getting behind the opposition defence. As you may expect with a youngster coming into the team, she's a little tentative to shoot and doesn't always make the right decision, but there's nothing like learning on the job.

The only blemish on an otherwise positive day, aside from an injury to the captain, was Deanna Cooper's rash challenge to give away a penalty. In the end, she didn't make much contact but going to ground in the area is always going to give the referee a decision. It's a particularly bad challenge when you consider Kaagman was looking to pass to the edge of the box. Cooper has good and bad moments, but thankfully this time she was bailed out. On other occasions, one goal would be enough to ensure Reading couldn't win.

A win alleviates some of the pressure on the season, but given everyone around them have played fewer matches they'll likely find themselves in a bubble between Everton and those below. Matches against Chelsea and Arsenal after the break will be tough and they may find themselves dragged back into the back below (albeit with a slim chance of relegation)


Popular posts from this blog

Scout Report: Brentford

It almost feels superfluous to write about a Brentford team who have already been covered so extensively. Famed for their player recruitment the core of their side is a young, attack-minded group of players who seemingly love to play together. They tend to play 4-3-3, with Watkins as the main striker, and Benrahma and Mbeumo attempting to find space to either side of him. The midfield three is given stability by Christian Norgaard in the holding role, while Dasilva and Jensen are free to push on. Even goalkeeper David Raya Martin is crucial to the team's attacking intent. His quick distribution reminiscent of Marcus Hahnemann bowling out to Bobby Convey to set the winger away. That said defensively the Spaniard can occasionally be caught out, infamously allowing Ryan Tafazolli to pass the ball from the halfway line into the Brentford net. That's not the only mistake he's made this year - a missed punch condemned Brentford to a loss at Kenilworth Road, and similarly lead to

Reading FC Season Review | 2020/2021

When your season starts with your manager having to watch your opening match from the hotel because he's not been hired in time to beat the quarantine, anything above getting relegated should probably be classed as a success. And Reading exceeded surely even the most optimistic of pre-season predictions. Veljko Paunovic Veljko Paunovic almost exclusively utilised a core group of players in a 4-2-3-1, only changing things when enforced. One of the consequences of that is that Reading had more players play over 3,000 minutes than any other side (roughly three-quarters of the season). That consistency is often seen as a good thing, but in a condensed season, it surely contributed to the injury woes. It can't have helped that the manager also used the second-fewest number of players over the course of the season. His substitutions were often categorised as late (Reading's subs played just 16 minutes on average, only Norwich's played fewer) or non-existent (Reading were 19t

Starting the Year Renew

Ah, 2023. A new year. A time to take stock of what you have, and look forward to the twelve months ahead. The first thing on Paul Ince's plate is to renew Andy Carroll and Amadou Mbengue's contracts - something he's been very vocal about wanting to do. Mbengue is a difficult one. Yes, he is undoubtedly an exciting prospect but this is a club with six other senior centre backs. He'd be useful cover elsewhere, namely at right back, but Kelvin Abrefa has also showed some promise in that position in his, albeit small, cameos so far. Ince has already said his preferred back three is Yiadom, Holmes, and Sarr. Mbengue could be first-choice backup on the right side of that three, but given Yiadom is captain and played more minutes than anyone outside of Ince and Hendrick, realistically he won't get much of a look in. Likewise TMc is probably ahead of him for Sarr's spot. Shifting Moore and Dann in the summer still leaves him in the same position - and that's before