A second half goal from Reading’s Rachel Rowe denied Birmingham City all three points at the SportNation.bet Stadium with the two sides battling out a 1-1 draw.
Ruby Mace handed the hosts the lead after only seven minutes before Rowe equalised just after the hour mark for Reading as both sides shared the points in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.
Birmingham City head coach Carla Ward made changes from the side that beat Coventry United 5-1 in the Vitality FA Women’s Cup fourth round last weekend. Hannah Hampton, Harriet Scott, Georgia Brougham and Ruesha Littlejohn all returned to the starting XI while there was no place in the side for Veatriki Sarri.
Meanwhile, Kelly Chambers went with a similar Reading side to the one that lost 3-2 to Tottenham Hotspur in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup fourth round last weekend with only one change being made ahead of the game, Amalie Eikeland being handed a start in the absence of Emma Harries as she dropped to the bench.
The hosts made a brilliant start as Mace gifted them the lead after seven minutes. She fired home from close-range when Reading couldn’t clear the ball away from danger after an inviting Sarah Mayling corner from the right.
Reading would have been disappointed conceding so early and they went in search of an equaliser with their first chance coming after 25 minutes. Rowe sent a stinging shot towards goal but it was saved comfortably by Birmingham City goalkeeper Hampton.
Ward’s side looked really confident going forward and Claudia Walker nearly doubled her side’s lead just before half-time but her sweetly struck half-volley was tipped over by Reading keeper Grace Moloney for a corner.
The hosts went within inches of netting their second goal two minutes into the second half when Littlejohn drilled across Moloney’s goal from six yards out but the ball was kept out on the line by Reading defender Bethan Roberts.
The miss would prove to be costly for Ward’s side as the visitors found their equaliser just after the hour mark through Rowe. She smashed the ball into the bottom left corner from 12 yards out after Birmingham City had failed to clear the danger in their own penalty area from a corner.
Birmingham City carried on in search of a winner but neither Emma Kelly, Lucy Whipp or Christie Murray could find their side a winner as they had to settle for a point.
The draw extends the Blues’ winless run in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League to 12 games. With only three games remaining for Ward’s side, the draw sees them remain in 10th place in the table, two points clear of bottom side Bristol City with a game in hand. They will look to build on today’s draw on Wednesday evening when they take on Second City rivals Aston Villa at home as they look for an all-important win.
The draw for Reading means that they are winless in their previous seven games in all competitions but they will want to put that run to an end when they take on Brighton & Hove Albion at The Madejski Stadium next Sunday afternoon.