Reading boss Kelly Chambers says that she needs to strengthen her squad in every area after defeating Brighton & Hove Albion 3-2 on Sunday afternoon
The Royals hadn’t won at The Madejski Stadium since their opening fixture against Aston Villa. After surrendering a 2-0 lead in a manic minute which saw Albion forward Lee Geum-min score twice in quick succession just before half-time, it looked like Reading were going to continue their long winless run at home.
However, Reading boss Chambers was left ecstatic as forward Natasha Harding powered past the Albion defence and drove the ball into the back of the net to finish The Royals’ season at home with three points.
When asked by FAWSL Full-Time how it felt to finally record another home victory, Chambers couldn’t hide her happiness.
“Oh lovely, it was nice to get those three points,” she said. “Apart from three minutes that seemed to be a bit bizarre, I think it was definitely a performance we were dominant in.
“I was very pleased with the performance, it was crucial at half-time coming into the second half that we maintained those standards and dominance.
“Obviously, the game swings but we defended very well in those moments and it was just nice to get those three points.”
Continuing to discuss Albion’s Lee’s inspired minute, Chambers believed that it was important not to react too strongly to what was a freak event right before half-time.
“I thought ‘Is my whole team talk going to change?’ but to be fair, it was just two moments in the game that were very disappointing. For me, it was a case of going into that changing room and making sure that it didn’t disappoint them and those three minutes didn’t define the second half.
“Credit to the girls, they didn’t let it effect them and we dominated the second half.”
The game marked Reading’s legendary midfielder Fara Williams’ last game at home before retiring at the end of the season. Before the game, she received a guard of honour and marked her final appearance at The Madejski Stadium with a goal by scoring a Panenka penalty.
“The penalty was typical Fara” said Chambers. “She’s been a huge part of this club for the last four seasons and the role that she’s played in terms of pushing us forward.
“For her, she wanted to come here and enjoy her football again, she still had hunger and desire to learn and get better, she’s definitely done that over the last four years. Her personality is infectious and that’s one thing that I think our dressing room will miss. She’s a winner and she shows that, she’s got a bright future in the game.”
Alongside Williams’ retirement, we’ve seen Reading’s midfield dismantled with Jess Fishlock returning to OL Reign and Angharad James departing to North Carolina Courage in the summer. Even though this will leave an obvious hole in the squad, Chambers believes it’s not the only hole she’ll have to fill.
“Over the summer, I’m going to be looking to strengthen everywhere,” she added. “There will be players exiting and for us next season, we want to be back up to where we were.
“As a whole squad, we haven’t been happy with the inconsistency this season, so it’s about many areas where we are definitely looking to recruit.”
Reading will end their 2020/2021 Barclays FA Women’s Super League season by travelling to Kingsmeadow to face title favourites Chelsea next Sunday.