Manchester United picked up a huge 1-0 win over a resolute Reading side, as they went to the top of the table once again in the Women’s Super League.
Coming into the game at the back of their dominating 6-0 win over Liverpool, United knew that a win would take them to the pinnacle because of Chelsea’s suspended tie against Liverpool themselves.
Skinner went with a strong side, as he used the same side as the one which started against Liverpool, with the front four of Lucia Garcia, Nikita Parris, Ella Toone and Alessia Russo starting in front of the solid midfield pairing of Katie Zelem and Hayley Ladd.
Reading had a good chance to take the lead in the 18th minute as after good combination and movement in the final third, Emma Harries was put through on the right but her shot was parried by Mary Earps. From the resulting corner, Justine Vanhaevermaet’s header went straight at Earps, who essentially denied the home side twice in a couple of minutes.
In the 21st minute, United had a chance to take the lead after Parris’ delivery was not gobbled up properly by Reading goalkeeper Jackie Burns but Lucia Garcia’s attempt fell just wide of goal in what was a rather unlikely chance.
Garcia had a much bigger chance to find the back of the net after she was set through on the right by Russo, but the resulting shot was saved by Burns, who denied the Spaniard once again only a minute after the United forward was put through by Parris.
While Reading were picking their moments and threatening United through their mid-block approach, their good work was undone after Russo was brought down in the box in the 38th minute and the Reds were handed a penalty. The usually reliable United skipper Katie Zelem stepped up and while her penalty was heading into the bottom corner, but Burns made a fine stop to deny her.
United didn’t stop despite the penalty miss as an excellent counter attack in the 42nd minute saw Parris’ shot get deflected just wide seconds before her well-hit effort smacked the woodwork.
The first half was devoid of goals despite all the full-throttle action, but the Royals did have chances of their own to take the lead in the second 45.
Vanhaevermaet had a big chance to score in the 78th minute, but her header towards the bottom corner was saved well by Earps. United could’ve scored the opener a couple of minutes later, but Zelem was denied once again by Burns after the England midfielder was set up by Ona Batlle.
Garcia, who had enjoyed a fruitful game despite failing to score, came off in the 84th minute for Rachel Williams, who had found the back of the net against Liverpool. Only a couple of minutes after coming on, Williams scored a vital goal for Skinner’s side.
After he initial shot was blocked, the summer signing cut inside, went past two Reading players before firing into the top corner to finally put it past Burns.
Williams’ goal could prove to be huge for United in the season, as the Reds head to the top of the table and would believe in winning the title for the first time ever.