October 1st, 2016

Bella Linden bags first Birmingham City Ladies goal as David Parker’s side are made to settle for a point

Updated: 9:43 am, Aug 03, 2016

Reading Women 1-1 Birmingham City Ladies

Women’s Super League 1

BELLA Linden rescued a point for Birmingham City Ladies at Reading but David Parker’s side could perhaps feel disappointed not to come away from Wycombe with all three after missing a hatful of chances.

The Blues extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to ten matches thanks to Linden’s second half header after Melissa Fletcher had given the home side the lead shortly into the second half.

The visitors had an early chance to take the lead with just two minutes gone. Mel Lawley had the vision to pick out Jess Carter down the right and she got to the byline before cutting the ball back powerfully for Freda Ayisi but the Blues attacker could only direct her header high over the bar.

On ten minutes Carter hit a long range shot which was comfortable for Mary Earps in the Reading goal before Fletcher broke free into the box but her toe-poke was straight at Ann-Katrin Berger in the visitors’ goal.

Backed by a large home support, Reading had several efforts on goal, the best of which almost fell to Fletcher again but she was unable to get a touch to Rebecca Jane’s dangerous cross from the right.

Jane was making a good impression down the right and she was unlucky to see her shot blocked by Kerys Harrop ,while Carter did will down the left before cutting inside but her shot was also blocked and cleared to safety.

The best chance of the half fell to the lively Charlie Wellings with 33 minutes played. Linden was given time and space to shoot and, after her effort was blocked, the ball fell kindly for Wellings but Earps made an impressive stop to keep her clean sheet intact.

The visitors enjoyed more of the possession as the first half came to a conclusion and came close to taking a lead into the break but Linden sent her header from a Carter cross wide of the target.

Reading were quick out of the blocks after the break and within two minutes of the restart they got their noses in front.

Fletcher won a free kick on the left after being brought down by Alex Windell and the Reading winger was able to convert Sophie Perry’s set piece past Berger with her head, although there was huge suspicion of handball.

Blues responded well after falling behind and pressed in search of an immediate reply.

Lawley beat two players down the left but her cross was well blocked and Ayisi ended a neat move with an effort that looked on target but her shot took a deflection.

On 57 minutes Parker’s side wasted a brilliant chance to get back on level terms. Wellings found space on the right wing and delivered an inch-perfect cross but Linden sent her header over the bar when she should have done a lot better.

With just over half an hour to play, Blues introduced Connie Scofield and the teenager almost made it a dream first team debut, but her left-footed shot whistled narrowly over the bar with 65 minutes played.

Scofield was involved again on 72 minutes when she slipped Linden in on goal with a clever through ball but the German striker saw her low effort superbly saved.

The warning signs had been there for the home side and it was no surprise to see Parker’s side pull level with 16 minutes remaining.

Harrop whipped over a cross from the left which was met by the head of Linden who powered a header into the bottom right corner of the net.

As the clock ticked towards full time there looked only one side in as the visitors went in search of a sixth win in ten matches in all competitions.

A late flurry on goal saw Wellings shoot from ten yards out but her effort was blocked, the ball broke to Scofield who was denied by another frantic Reading body on the line before Chloe Peplow crossed from the right and Linden’s glancing head drifted wide.

Attendance: 691.

Blues team: Berger, Windell, Mannion, Harrop, Carter, Lawley, Hegerberg, Stringer (Peplow 69), Ayisi (Scofield 57), Wellings, Linden.

Subs not used – Baggaley, Edwards, Haines, Johnson.

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