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Match Report

WSL: Reading v Manchester United

The Red Devils move three points clear of Spurs after beating Reading 3-1 at the Madejeski Stadium.

Gareth Taylor Man City_edited.jpg

Paul Donegan

13 March 2022

Saturday lunchtime saw sixth placed Reading take on Manchester United, who are in third place and in the hunt for a Champions League spot next season.

Manchester United had a chance within the first 30 seconds of the game when Alessia Russo hit the woodwork with a shot from outside the area. United’s early pressure paid off when they took the lead in the 5th minute when Leah Galton headed in a cross.

Reading’s first chance came in the 8th minute when Rachel Rowe’s strike went wide. It was Manchester United though who were creating more chances as Katie Zelem had a shot from the edge of the area saved a couple of minutes later before Justine Vanhaevermaet blocked an effort from Russo. Russo had another chance in the 12th minute but the was crowded out by a Reading defender and their goalkeeper.

In the 16th minute, Reading equalised when United lost possession to Rowe who passed to Deanne Rose whose shot went through the goalkeepers legs and into the net. Reading went looking for a second goal and Sanne Troelsgaard saw her effort go narrowly wide in the 20th minute.

It was United though who went back in front in the 25th minute when Russo’s superb through ball found Galton who rounded the keeper and finished, scoring her second of the game.

Martha Thomas had United’s next chance when her powerful strike hit the crossbar but the referee’s whistle had already gone as a player was down with a head injury. Reading had the next chance of the match when a corner was headed over. Reading’s Deanna Cooper somehow managed to stop a Man United effort from crossing the line before the ball was cleared in the 39th minute.

There was a controversial moment in the 43rd minute when Ona Batlle’s shot from the edge of the area bit the crossbar and bounced down over the line but neither the assistant nor referee gave the goal. However, the ball finished up with Russo who smashed the ball into the top corner to give United a 3-1 lead.

There was still time for Reading to hit the crossbar themselves before half time as a frantic first half finished with Man United 3-1 ahead.

The second half started off a lot quieter with the first chance not coming until the 63rd minute when Reading had an effort blocked then Mary Earps made a brilliant double save from Rowe to keep United’s two goal lead intact. Rowe saw her free kick go over in the 69th minute, and in the 76th minute Vanhaevermaet saw her header cleared off the line as Reading continued to look for a goal to get them back into the game.

Both sides had half chances in the final 10 minutes with efforts blocked and easily saved but there were to be no more goals as it finished 3-1 to Manchester United. The win takes them to a point behind second placed Chelsea, though they have played two games more, but it does put them in a good position in the fight for a Champions League place.

Reading:Moloney, Bryson, Cooper, Evans, Woodham, Vanhaevermaet, Troelsgaard (Peplow 78’), Rowe, Harding, Rose, Harries

Unused Substitutes: Stewart, Roberts, Baigent, Poulter

Goal – Rose 16’

Booked - Troelsgaard

Manchester United: Earps, Batlle, Caldwell, Thorisdottir, Blundell, Groenen, Zelem, Russo (Hanson 70’), Toone, Galton (Risa 89’), Thomas

Unused Substitutes: Harris, Fuso, Baggaley, Murphy, Barry

Goals - Galton 5’, 25’ Russo 43’

Booked - Batlle

Referee - Lucy May

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