Birmingham City and Reading are old enemies. Before Aston Villa joined the Women’s Super League, the Blues and Royals regarded each other as their main rivals.
On Sunday, Reading travel to Solihull in what is bound to be another close encounter. In fact, in the last 11 matches there has never been more than a single goal separating these two sides. There have been five draws, four Birmingham victories and two for Reading.
The Royals currently have 20 points and sit comfortably in seventh place. In contrast, the Blues are sitting just above the relegation zone with only 13 points to their name.
Last time out
When the two sides met at the Madjeski Stadium last October, Reading dominated the game and perhaps should have won. However, Birmingham showed their resiliance at the back through Scotland captain Rachel Corsie and Georgia Brougham to keep a clean sheet.
Hannah Hampton was outstanding that day, keeping out 22 shots on her goal. Lauren Bruton, Brooke Chaplen and Natasha Harding all should have scored for Reading but it wasn’t to be.
At the other end, Sarah Mayling latched onto a loose ball to whip a delightful cross into the box. The ball went straight into the path of Claudia Walker who slotted it past Grace Moloney.
Ones to watch
Ruby Mace will be key for Birmingham if they’re to keep another clean sheet. The 17-year-old – on a dual contract with the Blues from Arsenal’s academy – has been outstanding this year.
Hampton is likely to reclaim the number one spot after Sophie Whitehouse made her debut last weekend in the FA Cup.
Up front, the focus will be on Emily Murphy, Jamie-Lee Napier and Walker, with Mayling providing the assists.
Rachel Rowe is in fantastic form, regularly knocking the goals in for Reading. Fara Williams at 37-years-old has also rolled back the years to pop up with the odd goal.
The midfield will be key to this game and the Royals will be looking to Angharad James to create the magic. The experienced Welsh midfielder will be key to retaining possession in midfield for the Royals.
In goal, Moloney will be keen to make amends having conceded eight goals in her last two games.
Where to watch
The match is at 2pm on Sunday 25 April and can be watched live on the FA Player.