Conti Cup: Reading v Tottenham Hotspur
Reading suffer 2-1 defeat to Spurs in first of the Conti Cup group matches
Reading WFC Twitter
4 October 2022
Reading couldn’t send a club record crowd home happy as Spurs first half quality was enough to put them to the sword in this first Group E match of the Conti Cup. The record attendance of 2,200 saw goals from Ash Neville and Nikola Karczewska seal a win for Spurs which was marred by injury to Kyah Simon who was stretchered off near the end of the second half.
The Royals suffered a late change in the warm-up, with Emma Mukandi dropping out and Diane Caldwell keeping her place, meaning Rachel Rowe was named captain for this match, with Kelly Chambers giving Jacqueline Burns her first start in goal.
Rehanne Skinner also shuffled her pack as Spurs looked to bounce back from their North London Derby defeat to Arsenal last weekend, with Asmita Ale, Angharad James and Nikola Karczewska all coming into the starting eleven.
Reading got the game underway under the Berkshire sunshine, but it was the visitors who had the first chance just two minutes in, a floated free kick by Molly Bartrip was met by the head of Amy Turner, but it was comfortably saved by Jacqueline Burns in the Reading goal. Bartrip’s defensive partner, Shelina Zadorsky then had to be alert to head away a Reading cross.
Spurs continued to dominate, and their early pressure told just seven minutes in, with a very quick and clever free-kick routine saw Ash Neville dart into the box after being set up by Nikola Karczewska, cut inside onto her left and fire a rocket past Burns to give Spurs an early lead.
Reading responded superbly to going a goal behind, seeing captain Rachel Rowe’s effort blocked, then a second shot saved by Becky Spencer in the Spurs goal. The visitor’s stopper was called into action again on 17 minutes, as the ball was played through for Lauren Wade by Rowe, and the former’s fierce, left-footed low drive was superbly kept out by Spencer. Another good Royals move on the twenty-minute mark saw a cross swung in from the right, but Natasha Dowie didn’t get a good connection and the effort bobbled wide.
Just as the hosts looked to be growing into the game, Spurs doubled their lead on the half hour. Nikola Karczewska was on hand to prod home her first goal for the club since her summer move from FC Fleury, after Cho So-Hyun superbly worked her way into a position and saw her effort saved, with the rebound popping up for Tottenham’s number nine to double their advantage.
Reading once again went close to pulling a goal back, with Amalie Eikeland’s effort striking the upright and going behind for a Spurs goal kick. The last action of the half came in the second minute of added time at the end of the first 45, when Tia Primmer became the first name in the referee’s notebook for a foul on Karczewska, but the free kick came to nothing, and the visitors went into the break 2-0 ahead.
Half Time – Reading 0-2 Spurs
Spurs got the game back underway for the second period, with neither manager deciding to make any changes during the interval. The visitors picked up where they left off, going for Reading on the front foot, with Celin Ildhusøy seeing an effort saved by Jacqueline Burns, with the Norwegian sending another effort wide moments later. An almighty goalmouth scramble then ensues down the other end after a brilliantly floated free kick, however Reading fail to make the most of it and a combination of Spencer and two Spurs defenders get the ball clear.
Kelly Chambers then made the first move on her bench, welcoming back Emma Harries to the fold as she replaced Lauren Wade, which was then followed by a double Spurs change, with Drew Spence and Kyah Simon replacing Amy Turner and Angharad James.
With around half an hour to go, the official attendance at the Select Car Leasing Stadium was revealed as 2,200, which is a new club record for the Royals. Chambers threw on Charlie Wellings for Faye Bryson in another attempt to try and turn the tide, but the Royals snatched at another opportunity to halve the deficit, when Deanna Cooper sliced the ball over from a free kick.
Play was then halted for an extended period as Spurs’ Kyah Simon ended up being stretchered off with an injury to a standing ovation from the crowd, being replaced by Ellie Brazil. As a result of the stoppage, 11 additional minutes were shown at the end d of the second half.
Reading kept pushing into added time, with Dowie again seeing her effort saved by Spencer. Spurs themselves had a chance to put some gloss on the victory, with Cho seeing her effort blocked on the line.
Reading did get themselves on the board with virtually the last kick of the game when Emma Harries drew a foul off Molly Bartrip in the area, which Natasha Dowie converted, however it wasn’t enough and the visitors saw it through in this hugely entertaining Continental Cup encounter.
Full Time – Reading 1-2 Spurs
Reading – Dowie (p) 90+11’
Spurs – Neville 7’, Karczewska 30’