Reading Women v West Ham United Women - All You Need To Know
West Ham United continue their 2020/21 Barclays FA Women's Super League campaign with an away fixture against Reading on Saturday.
The Hammers travel to Berkshire looking to pick-up much needed points in their battle to remain in the top division of women’s football.
With the country in national lockdown, Saturday's game will be played without supporters present. However, the 2pm kick-off will be broadcast live in the UK via the FA Player. Click here to sign up or log in for free.
Olli Harder’s squad are currently bottom of the table, but one point away from climbing out of the relegation place. A win could see them climb up to 10th position, whilst a draw would at least take them off bottom spot thanks to their superior goal difference.
The two sides have met twice during the current campaign, once in the league and once in the Conti Cup Group Stages. Reading were victorious in the league meeting, with Lauren Bruton scoring the only goal of the match.
It was a much better showing from the Hammers in the Conti Cup, as Alisha Lehmann, Emily van Egmond and Rachel Daly all found the net in an emphatic 3-0 win at Victoria Road, with Martha Thomas completing all three assists.
West Ham United will be without Adriana Leon, Lois Joel, Mackenzie Arnold and Leanne Kiernan.
Canadian forward Leon has had surgery on a fractured bone in her foot and is out for the season, while defender Joel is also recovering from a similar injury.
Mackenze Arnold has a sprained knee ligament and will not be available for a number of weeks and Leanne Kiernan is making positive steps with her recovery from shin splints, but will not be available for this fixture.
The Hammers will also be without defender Laura Vetterlein, who is serving a one match suspension after being sent off against Manchester United last weekend.
Reading’s Jess Fishlock will be playing in her last match for the club, as her loan move from OL Reign comes to an end. The midfielder returned to the WSL after almost 10 years away from the top tier of English football and scored two goals in a 3-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion back in December.
The Opposition – Reading
Reading Women have been mainstay in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League since gaining promotion in to the topflight in 2015. The Royals have never finished lower than 6th in the WSL and look on course to finish in a similar position again this season.
Manager Kelly Chambers has been in charge since their promotion to the top division, having previously captained the football club between 2007 – 2012, with her career cut short after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
The Royals have an array of talent including Fara Williams, England’s most capped footballer with 172 appearances and 40 goals. This campaign, Welsh midfielder Natasha Harding leads the goalscoring charts, finding the back of the net on five occasions.
Norwegian forward Amalie Eikeland is also one to look out for, having scored three times in all competitions this season and is a former team-mate of Cecilie Redisch at IL Sandviken.
Saturday’s meeting will be the ninth time that the two sides have faced off against one another in all competitions since the beginning of the 2018-19 season. The record between the two sides in very even, with both sides winning three matches each, with two draws also being played out. In West Ham’s first ever match in the WSL they played out a 0-0 draw with the Royals at Rush Green.
The most famous meeting between the two sides was in the FA Cup Semifinal back in April 2019. Rachel Furness opened the scoring early in the second half, but Alisha Lehmann brought the scoreline level with an effort with the outside of her boot. Penalties were needed to decide the outcome, and Cho So-Hyun converted the eventual winner to send West Ham to the cup final in their first professional season.
From The Manager
Olli Harder has called for his side to approach the match without fear as they look to pick up points at the Madejski Stadium.
“Reading are a high energy team, so we’re expecting them to be pressing us with lots of vigour," he observed. "They have their own way of playing football and our aim is to go there and try and impose our own style of play on the game, as well as taking our chances when they come and defending well; that will give us the best chance to win the match.
“The pressure is on from now until the final whistle at the end of the season, and to be honest it has been since we played Brighton. We understand what it is that we need to do, everyone in the club and out on the pitch is aware of that is at stake and what is required. Saturday is another opportunity to take a step closer to that objective of survival,” he added.
Read the full pre-match interview with the manager by clicking here.
How To Watch
You can watch Reading vs West Ham United live on the FA Player.