READING earned a crucial win in the Women’s Championship to ease their relegation fears as Madison Perry’s late goal gave them three points over promotion chasing Sunderland.
After the Black Cats were reduced to 10 players in the first-half with Louise Griffiths being sent off, Reading took advantage with a little over 10 minutes left to play when Perry struck the winner.
The win keeps Reading in ninth position and pushes them five points clear of the drop zone with a game in hand.
Going into the game without a win in their last six league outings, Liam Gilbert’s side pushed hard after an opener in front of the home crowd inside the Select Car Leasing Stadium.
The first sight of goal fell for Charlie Estcourt who sent her effort over the top with a first timed shot before Sunderland went closer from further out with a shot from Natasha Fenton.
The momentum of the game shifted in Reading’s favour in the 35th minute when Griffiths was penalised after tugging on the hair of Bethan Roberts and as a result was shown a red card.
The Royals looked to press home their one player advantage but were kept out by goalkeeper Claudia Moan who made two strong stops at the near post before she scrambled the ball off the line.
Sunderland had chances to go in front in the second-hals and forced Royals stopper Emily Orman into an excellent stop as she pushed Jenna Dear’s shot beyond the post.
Reading found the all important breakthrough in the 77th minute when the ball broke the way of Perry in the box and the 18-year-old forward seized her opportunity by squeezing the ball inside the near post
A nervy end to the game ensued as Orman had to flap a looped ball into the box off her line before Reading cleared their lines to secure a huge win.
Next up for the Royals is an away trip to league leaders Charlton Athletic on Sunday.
Reading: Orman, Stapleton, Houssein, Wellings, Wade, Flannery, Hendrix, Mayi Kith, Estcourt, Woolley, Roberts
Subs: Smith, Elwood, Perry, Dugdale, Annets, Wilson, Hunt, Longhurst
Sunderland: Moan, Griffiths, Scarr, mcAteer, Kitching, Brown, Fenton, Goddard, Rouse, Jones, Westrup
Subs: Ejupi, Dear, Watson, McCatty, Ede, McInnes, Beer, Borthwick, Corbyn
Goals: Perry 77’