A 78th minute Tia Primmer goal helped Reading Women secure consecutive wins in the WSL Championship, defeating Lewes 1-0.
Having struggled to make inroads on Lewes’ goal in the opening stages of the match, the Royals began dominating the encounter and supporters at the Select Car Leasing Stadium were delighted to see Primmer capitalise on good work from Sanne Troelsgaard late on to secure three points.
Reading had made an indifferent start to their WSL Championship campaign, only securing their first win of the season with a 2-0 win away at Durham last time out. Manager Liam Gilbert looked to rekindle the winning formula, naming an unchanged starting 11.
The Sunday afternoon clash also saw the returns of Charlie Estcourt and Troelsgaard, who took their positions on the Royals’ bench.
And the home side would have been encouraged by their opponent’s start to the season; The Rooks made the trip to Berkshire sitting firmly at the foot of the table with just a point to their name.
But it was in fact the visitors who made the stronger start to the game, bossing possession and working the ball well into wide areas. Despite earning a handful of corners and trying their luck from range, Lewes left Emily Orman largely untroubled in Reading’s goal.
The home side grew into the game and in the 19th minute were presented with their first chance of the encounter. Halle Hussein’s raking cross-field switch picked out Tia Primmer on the right, whose cross was headed over by Longhurst from 10 yards out.
Primmer proved to be Reading’s main threat in attack, adopting the number 10 role just behind Longhurst. The midfielder came close just before the half-hour mark, cutting in from the right and firing the ball towards the far post but Lewes ‘keeper Sophie Whitehouse was equal to it and gathered comfortably.
Both sides traded further half chances but didn’t have the required quality to break the deadlock.
In 2017, the club became the first professional or semi-professional outfit to pay their women’s side the same as the men as part of their Equality FC initiative, and their commitment to the cause was apparent early in the second half as Grace Garrard headed just over the bar with the back of her head.
The chance appeared to focus Reading, who created a chance of their own on the break. Primmer picked the ball up inside her own half, drove all the way to the edge of Lewes’ box before teeing up Longhurst whose first time effort was well-saved by the Lewes stopper.
From that point onwards, it was all one-way traffic, with the Royals fashioning plenty of chances, the most dangerous of which fell to Lauren Wade. The midfielder looked to loft the ball over Whitehouse, but the ‘keeper steadied herself and pulled off an acrobatic save to tip over her bar. The introduction of Troelsgaard just before the hour mark gave Reading the impetus to kick on, with further chances falling to Primmer and Gregory.
Reading Women lost their professional status following their relegation from the WSL last season, but looked to have somewhat regained their mojo as Lewes’ resistance was finally broken in the 78th minute.
Smart footwork from Troelsgaard allowed her to jink across the byline and flash a ball across the six-yard box. With the Rooks struggling to clear their lines, Primmer reacted quickly to stab home and open the scoring.
The hosts negotiated a couple of nervy moments towards the end of the five additional minutes, but ultimately ran out deserved winners. Victory sees Gilbert’s side leapfrog up to sixth in the WSL Championship table.
Reading: Orman, Dugdale, Houssein, Cooper, Primmer, Wade, Hendrix, Mayi Kith, Gregory, Longhurst, Woodham
Substitutes: Annets, Smith, Estcourt, Meadows Tuson, Elwood, Jarvis, Cox, Troelsgaard
Lewes: Whitehouse, Cleverly, Hazard, Hamilton, Palmer, Grey, Vassell, Blades, Olding, Brasero-Carriera, Garrard
Substitutes: Moore, Riglar, Pursey, Oakley, Mooney