Bristol jump out of relegation zone with win over Reading

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Copyright: John Walton

Bristol City have leapfrogged West Ham and are now out of the Women’s Super League relegation zone. A 3-2 win over Reading has made the fight at the bottom of the table extremely interesting.

Team news

Bristol – Baggaley; Bryson, Evans (c) , Rafferty, Pike, Humphrey, Salmon, Daniels, Wellings, Palmer, Purfield

Reading – Moloney; Mitchell, Cooper, Bartrip, Harding (c) , James, Williams, Rowe, Harries, Bruton, Carter

How it went

The match kicked off and almost immediately there was a worry for Matt Beard. Bristol’s top goal scorer Ebony Salmon appeared injured following a collision with Reading ‘keeper Grace Moloney. Fortunately for the hosts, the forward was able to continue following treatment.

Bristol started the match brightly with Salmon having several good chances on goal. In the 12th minute, all of Bristol’s hard work was rendered obsolete when a defensive blunder allowed 18-year-old Emma Harries to score her first senior goal.

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Reading almost doubled their lead, however goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley managed to clear the shot.

The following 12 minutes were dominated by Reading, however Beard’s side were keen to put an end to that. In the 24th minute, a Salmon cross was fired into the net by Charlie Wellings.

The two teams went in level at the break, with Reading having enjoyed the majority of the possession. Despite the Royals having had four shots on target to Bristol’s one, the hosts had given a good account of themselves with Salmon having had the best chance of the match.

 From the moment the second half began, both teams were keen to show they wanted all three points. The game was end-to-end until Gemma Purfield put the hosts in front in the 57th minute.

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Rachel Rowe equalised in the 72nd minute from a long-range strike following an expertly placed Fara Williams through ball. In the 78th minute, Salmon made it three for the hosts with a composed finish from a Harrison cross.

Reading’s No.23 Rowe received a second yellow in the 92nd minute for a tackle on Gemma Evans. Salmon’s goal proved to be the winner for the hosts lifting them from the relegation spot.

Stand out performance

Harries was not only the stand-out player for her team but arguably of the whole game. Every time the visitors launched an attack on the Bristol goal, Harries was leading the charge.

Harries made her senior debut for Reading earlier this season and the No.36 is evidently brimming with confidence. Her hard work up front was rewarded when the forward bagged her first senior goal following a defensive error from the hosts.

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