A player down and two goals down away from home, few gave Reading any hope of turning their match against West Ham around on Sunday, yet with less than 20 minutes left on the clock they did just that. Following the match, we spoke to Royals boss, Kelly Chambers about the match, Reading’s current form and the injuries plaguing her squad.
Maybe not quite The Great Escape, but something Houdini would think worthy of praise, no one at Rush Green could quite believe their eyes as the Royals rallied to fire in three goals in seven minutes to scoop all three points. After the match, Chambers was understandably delighted.
“Three points, that’s all that matters, we wanted to come here and get something about the game and that looked very difficult come half-time when you go down to ten then to go two-nil down… I’m extremely proud of the girls, they showed what this club is about and if they’d done that in the first half, the game might have been different, but we had to step up to try and get something out of the game. The girls dug deep, they showed their desire, they showed their fight to get something out of the game and to come out with three points was magnificent.”
Despite coming out strong after the break, Reading saw their pressure evaporate as the Hammers doubled their advantage, but the visitors stayed the course and stuck to their guns to implement their manger’s half-time words.
“I think half-time was crucial for us, we needed to get in, to regroup and sort things out tactically, and we did that but it was a case of the girls had to go and deliver that and they were fantastic at it. Literally everything we said in the changing room was pretty much on the money of what they did on the pitch and the most important thing was that they put the ball in the back of the net at the same time.”
The match was the second in eight days (in the league) that Reading had been involved in that not only saw a glut of goals, but late drama too as Bristol City came from two goals down to grab a point at the Madejski. Chambers concedes that her team weren’t good enough but is thankful for the short break before they were back in action [against Crystal Palace in the Conti Cup].
“The game against Bristol was frustrating, that game should have been put to bed. We were too easy to be counter-attacked on and defensively we weren’t strong enough in that game and since we’ve corrected a lot of things and it was a quick turn around into Palace which was important; we didn’t have time to dwell on the game against Bristol.”
And as for the games in quick succession?
“It’s nice to have a run of game but I’ve got a lot of injuries at the minute and it’s taking its toll on the squad and people are having to play three games in a week, but they showed that they can cope with that. We’ve got a quick turn around with Brighton on Friday night, but we’ll reflect on this game and move forward.”
At points during the game, especially in the first half, there was a clear lack of cohesion in the team and with the squad having had to adjust to a raft of new faces over the summer there was perhaps a fear that they were still adjusting. But for Chambers, it is more about the increased workload and injuries that have forced her hand that lead to the occasional discombobulation.
“I’ve made a few changes from what we would have been seeing over the last couple of weeks purely because of the three games in a week we’re having to turn people around but I think we’re building that momentum now but we’ve had injuries that have disrupted that momentum… I think I’ve got four or five our injured so it’s difficult when you only have three on the bench. Hopefully from here we can keep building because the performances have been there just not the results.”
And on those injuries, was there any positive news Chambers could share?
“They’re close: I think Jo Potter is the closest, then Tash Harding but I don’t think we’ll see Lauren Bruton much this season which is frustrating for us… and Kiera [Skeels] got injured on Thursday night. But we’ve got a number of players coming back in the next few weeks and ready in the new year.”
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