Young flag bearers line up next to the WSL official Mitre ball Reading Women vs Bristol City Women, WSL football match, The Madejski Stadium, Reading, UK - 17 Nov 2019 Photo: Jed Leicester for The FA

Reading and Everton battle to hard-fought draw at The Madejski Stadium

Reading were unable to follow up last weekend’s surprise victory at Manchester United with another three points as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton at The Madejski Stadium.

The Royals and The Blue Girls went into today’s game level on points with the victor set to end the day in fifth place in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League table. Reading were hoping to use the confidence gained from beating Manchester United to claim their second win of the week whilst, Everton were looking to bounce back to winning ways following a frustrating 1-1 draw with Birmingham City at Walton Hall Park.

Chances were limited during the first half at The Madejski Stadium with the teams showing how closely matched they were. Reading had the first chance of the afternoon as forward Danielle Carter played through Amalie Eikeland and she brought a comfortable save from visiting keeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela.

Reading went close in the 26th minute when Rachel Rowe’s in-swinging free-kick found Eikeland at the back post, whose shot clattered the woodwork before Everton cleared the danger.

The visitors’ most clear-cut chance of the first half came two minutes later when centre-back Rikke Sevecke found herself in the left corner of the pitch, crossing the ball towards a rising Valerie Gauvin but the French international was unable to get her header on target.

Reading went on to turn that moment into a costly miss for The Blue Girls as six minutes later, they took the lead. Emma Mitchell provided a trademark cross from the left which found Carter. Everton keeper Korpela got a hand to the ball but it fell to Rowe who volleyed it into an open net.

Similarly, in the second half the sides exhibited why they’re inseparable in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, with the first chance of the half coming half an hour in. Just as Reading were looking set to record second clean sheet in as many games, Everton substitute Nicoline Sorensen rose to an Ingrid Moe Wold cross from the right, meeting it with a peach of a header to beat Grace Moloney and draw Willie Kirk’s side level.

From here, Everton went from strength-to-strength and they had an opportunity to win it through forward Simone Magill. She charged into the box unchallenged but unluckily scuffed her shot into the hands of Moloney. Two substitutes then combined as Sorensen crossed for Lucy Graham but her volley was blocked.

Reading had their own chance to win the match in the final minute when Mitchell delivered a free-kick but defender Deanna Cooper was unable to convert, tapping the ball wide of Korpela’s left post from close range.

Both sides showed their qualities yet they were lacking the cutting edge in order to take victory. In the second half, Everton responded strongly, although Reading will have been disappointed not to have recorded another clean sheet. Going into the international break, The Blue Girls hold onto fifth place on goal difference with two games in hand over The Royals. Kirk’s side have it all to do to qualify for the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

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