City were held to a 1-1 draw at the Academy Stadium. Georgia Stanway’s first half screamer cancelled out by Jade Moore’s header.
Nick Cushing mentioned pre-match that the game against the Royals could be difficult, with City having two days fewer rest than usual, but it was his team that started the brighter of the two.
Stanway and Caroline Weir caused early problems for the Reading defence, both with teasing crosses across the opposition’s box, neither finding a City teammate to finish.
Reading were limited to long range efforts, the most dangerous coming from Charlie Estcourt, which was still comfortably held by Ellie Roebuck.
Nikita Parris went into the game needing just one goal to equal the all-time Women's Super League record, and it nearly came 14 minutes in. A last ditch challenge from ex-Blue Natasha Harding took it off the toe of the attacker, preventing an almost certain goal.
Long, diagonal passes from Steph Houghton were a constant threat throughout the first half, and in the 25th minute, the skipper’s pass unlocked the away defence. The ball fell to Jill Scott, who’s effort curled, but not enough, going just wide of the post.
After a hat-trick last time out, Stanway came close to adding another to her impressive recent goalscoring record.
She played a one-two with Keira Walsh, cut inside and hit a powerful low strike forcing a great save from the leg of Grace Moloney.
A few minutes later, Stanway added to her tally. Weir’s corner was headed clear, only as far as Stanway, who - not that she needed it - was invited to shoot by the crowd.
Her right-foot half volley swerved out of the reach of Moloney, and into the Reading net putting the Blues 1-0 up.
At half-time, the visitors brought on Moore for Estcourt, and Kelly Chambers' decision paid dividends just five minutes later. Moore leapt highest and headed the ball through a crowd of bodies, beating Roebuck and Abbie McManus on the line, and levelling the score.
Reading nearly went ahead just minutes after the equaliser, as Brooke Chaplen’s volley flew over the bar.
City ended the game strongly, looking to extend their winning run. Tessa Wullaert struck a powerful effort from 20 yards in the first minute of added time, only to come agonisingly close, hitting the crossbar.
How we lined up
Roebuck started in goal, behind a back four of Gemma Bonner, Houghton, Jen Beattie and McManus. We had a midfield made up of Wullaert, Walsh, Scott and Weir, as Parris and Stanway led the line up front.
What it means
City move level on points with Arsenal, but goal difference keeps the Blues second in the WSL.