Reading suffered their first home defeat of the season in the Women’s Super League as Birmingham City took three points away from Madejski. Claudia Walker scored the only goal as the Royals went down 1-0 but remain sixth in the WSL after four games.

The Royals were the dominant of the two sides over the course of 90 minutes with 22 shots compared to Birmingham’s five with Royals manager, Kelly Chambers annoyed with the ‘lack of ruthlessness in the final third’.

Chambers’ side were limited to long range efforts as the visiting defence stood strong to record their first league victory since the 8th of December 2019.

Without Fara Williams and Danielle Carter in the starting lineup, the Royals lacked the decisiveness in front of goal with only four of the 22 efforts on target. Brooke Chaplen led the line, but it was Angharad James who saw an early effort just over.

With 25 minutes played, Jess Fishlock went close forcing a strong save from Hannah Hampton in the Blues goal. Chaplen then hit the bar on 40 minutes before James saw another effort over the top.

The second half was a more dull affair with former Royal Harriet Scott picking up a caution before the set piece was countered quickly forcing Reading goalkeeper Grace Moloney into a brave block.

Lauren Bruton was looking to continue her goalscoring form watching a header loop over before she spurned the best chance of the game. The forward pounced fastest to a Hampton fumble but could only divert the ball against the post. Birmingham then countered and after a mistake from Deanna Cooper, midfielder Sarah Mayling produced a cross towards Walker who calmly finished off the chance as the visitors converted with their first shot on target.

With 15 minutes remaining for a comeback, the game fizzled out as Birmingham went backs to the wall in order to keep the clean sheet and a vital three points. Royals captain Natasha Harding glanced a header over with two minutes remaining, but Birmingham held on for the points, their first of the 2020/21 WSL campaign.

Next up for Reading Women, they welcome the international superstars of Manchester City to the Madejski Stadium on Sunday.

Reading: Moloney, Harding ©, Bartrip, Cooper, Mitchell, James, Fishlock, Jeon (Williams 59), Chaplen, Eikeland (Carter 59), Bruton (Leine 77).

Bench (Unused): Nayler, Rowe, Woodham, Skeels, Roberts, Harries.