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Match Preview: Bristol City Women vs Reading Women

Bristol City Women take on Reading FC on Monday night in front of the BT Sport camera in the Robins’ first fixture in BS3 this campaign.

It has been over three weeks since City’s last fixture due to the International break, which saw City striker Ebony Salmon fulfilling a childhood dream and make her senior England debut. 

The Robins will be hoping that they can continue the good form they found before the break, which saw the Robins boost their chances of survival in the Barclays FAWSL. 

The fixture against Reading will be the last before the FA Continental Tyres Cup final versus Chelsea, so Matt Beard and his side will be hoping for a good result on Monday night to give them a boost heading into the cup final.


Form: 

Bristol City Women

Last five games: LWWDL

The Robins lost their first game in four last time out against a formidable Chelsea side, which saw them remain bottom of the WSL, however a win against Reading could move City off the bottom spot.

Prior to the Chelsea game, City had only lost one in five, a period which included three victories - two in the Conti Cup to take the Robins to the final. 

There has been a visible improvement in the squad over the last few weeks and Beard will be looking to bounce back to winning ways come Monday night.

Reading:

Last five games: LDDWD

After a rocky patch of results, the Royals have found form over the last few weeks, including some big results against tough opposition. 

Draws against Aston Villa, Everton, and Arsenal in their last five maintained the club's unbeaten run, and an impressive 2-0 victory over Manchester United showed how good of a side Reading are. 

Like City, the Royals lost 5-0 to Chelsea in what was their only loss since December 13th, where Fran Kirby hit four past her old side. 


Memory Lane:

  • Reading 1-1 Bristol City
  • Barclays FA Women’s Super League
  • December 6th, 2020

The two sides played out an entertaining 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, with Sophie Baggaley stealing the headlines for City after a heroic performance between the sticks. 

One of Baggaley’s saves towards the end of the first half started off a swift counter-attacking move for the Robins. Salmon and Charlie Wellings combined on the left-hand side before the latter was sent through on goal, she found Emma Bissell in the box, and the midfielder tucked past Maloney to put City ahead.

Fara Williams levelled the scoring just after the restart when the ball fell to her in the box and she smashed past Baggaley into the corner.

Reading pushed for a winner, however they couldn’t find a way past Baggaley as the ‘keeper made an incredible 13 saves to earn the Robins a valuable point on the road.


One to watch: Rachel Rowe

The Reading midfielder has really hit her stride in the last few months. The Wales international has found the back of the net for the Royals on three occasions in her last six appearances. 

The 28-year-old scored two vital goals in the draws against Aston Villa and Everton, whilst she scored in the last-minute in her side's 3-1 win over Brighton.

Rowe traditionally plays out wide and likes to cut inside to cause trouble through the centre, so she will be looking to make herself a handful in BS3 on Monday night.


Word from the camp: Matt Beard

Ahead of the game, Beard says that his side have been working hard in training and making sure they’re in top form for their trip to Ashton Gate, which is sure to be a great opportunity for the squad. 

“I've used these last two weeks to try and hammer points home, and it’s been the first time from the first ball kicked to the last ball kicked that I have seen consistency in our defensive strategies in our attacking strategies,” said Beard. 

“We've been playing some really good football, so it's been really pleasing to see and that has to continue. 

“We're now setting ourselves standards that are getting better every day, every week, and we need to continue on that path.

“The Reading game is going to be a great occasion for the group and one to hopefully seize with both hands. 

“We just need to concentrate on ourselves, we’ll have a game plan for the night and obviously it's fantastic to play at Ashton Gate, it’s going to be great for the players and it's a great surface for us to play on so we're looking forward to it.”


Where to watch:

Supporters can watch Bristol City Women take on Reading Women live on BT Sport 1 HD from 8:15pm.


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