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Report: Bristol City Women 3-2 Reading Women

Bristol City Women moved off the foot of the Barclays FAWSL table after a thrilling 3-2 victory over Reading Women at Ashton Gate.

Goals from Charlie Wellings, Jemma Purfield and Ebony Salmon earned the three points for the Robins in what was the Robins’ first ever win over Reading.

What happened? 

City’s first chance came early on when Salmon used her speed to reach a long ball forward, cut onto her right and fire a shot on goal, however her shot was pushed clear by Grace Moloney at her near post.

The visitors took the lead just after the 10 minutes in when the Royals capitalised on a mix-up in the Robins’ box. 

Grace Moloney’s goal-kick was picked up in the middle of the pitch by Angharad James, and it was the midfielder’s driving surge towards the City box that set up the goal.

James’ attempted through ball was met by a collage of players from both sides inside the box and the ball ended up falling to the feet of Emma Harries, who tapped into an empty net. 

Charlie Wellings came close minutes later when the 22-year-old hit Salmon’s cross on the half-volley, however her effort trickled just wide of the post. 

The Robins hit back not long after and found a deserved equaliser through the lively Wellings. 

Ebony Salmon intercepted a loose pass in the attacking third and picked out the diagonal run of Wellings with a perfectly weighted through ball. The forward took one touch out of her feet and smartly swept the ball through the onrushing ‘keeper’s legs to level the scoring in BS3.

Wellings drew City level in the first half (JMPUK)

Reading thought they had regained the lead soon after when Danielle Carter bundled the ball into the net, however the flag was raised for offside. The Robins continued their search for the lead and came close multiple times towards the end of the half. Salmon leading the charge for City. 

The England International was played through on multiple occasions, however good defending from the Royals stopped the forward from getting herself on the scoresheet as the first half came to an end.

The pace of the first half continued into the second as Yana Daniels had a great effort saved at the beginning of the second period. The Belgian received the ball on the corner of the box, shifted onto her right and her drilled shot towards the bottom corner which was smartly pushed wide by Moloney. 

The momentum from City’s equaliser carried through to the second half as Jemma Purfield put the Robins ahead.

Reading failed to clear their lines from a corner and the ball made its way out to Purfield on the left, who curled a first-time effort over the helpless Moloney.

Reading eventually found the equaliser however, with a rocket from Rachael Rowe. The forward skilfully latched onto a through ball with the outside of her foot and sweetly struck the ball on the bounce from the edge of the box to find the top corner.

Purfield's curling effort put the Robins 2-1 up (JMPUK)

The goals kept coming, and this time it was the Robins who regained the lead through Salmon. 

Laura Rafferty’s block on the edge of the box set City off on the counter through substitute Abi Harrison, and the striker sprayed a pinpoint 40-yard pass through to Salmon, who did the rest.

She brought it down with a deft tough and tucked it into the bottom corner to put City ahead with minutes left on the clock.

Some heroic defending from Gemma Evans and the rest of the backline kept City in good stead in the final couple of minutes, which saw Reading go down to 10 as Rachel Rowe received a second yellow.

The Robins saw out the remainder of the game to move off the foot of the table for the first time since September. 


Teams:

Bristol City: Baggaley, Bryson (Harrison, 67), Evans (C), Rafferty, Pike, Humphrey, Salmon (Bissell 85), Daniels, Wellings, Palmer (Mastrantonio, 56), Purfield

Substitutes: Haaland, Collis, Cook, Jones.

Reading: Moloney, Mitchell, Cooper, Bartrip, Harding (C), James, Williams (Leine, 87), Rowe, Harries (Jeon, 87), Bruton (Eikeland, 58), Carter (Fishlock, 74)

Substitutes: Nayler, Roberts, Woodham, Childerhouse, Flores.


Key Moment: Abi Harrison and Ebony Salmon

It was an end-to-end affair at Ashton Gate, and when Reading equalised with just under 20 minutes remaining, you knew whoever got the next goal was vital to the final outcome. 

Step up, Harrison and Salmon.

Substitute Harrison picked up the ball on the halfway line and found the run of Salmon perfectly with an outstanding through ball. Salmon proceeded to pluck the ball out of the sky and audaciously use the outside of her foot to tuck the ball past Moloney, sparking mad celebrations from the City squad and staff.

Dynamic duo.


Player of the Match: Ebony Salmon

Registering a goal and an assist, Ebony Salmon continued her great form with a 10 out of 10 performance in BS3.

The striker set up Wellings with a perfectly weighted through ball in the first half to level the scoring, and with the final whistle approaching, she managed to grab the winner.

She brought down Abi Harrison’s pass and expertly poked the ball into the far corner. 

Not only was Salmon a threat going forward all night, but multiple times she tracked back and made vital defensive interceptions to ensure her side claimed all three points. 

Baller.

Author: Lewis Barton

Match Report Sponsor: University of the West of England


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