The German forward netted her second brace in three days at Adams Park with a goal in either half to extend our impeccable start to the season.
With trips to Wycombe conjuring unforgettable memories of City’s first piece of major silverware success to a series of topsy-turvy thrillers, Jill Scott had forewarned of a combative midfield battle against the Royals.
Reading – the last team to defeat Cushing’s side at the Academy Stadium – have proven one of our toughest opponents in recent years, having held City to a costly draw in the league last season.
Cushing made three changes to the side which stormed to a sensational 7-1 win in Switzerland in midweek, as Scott, Tessa Wullaert and Janine Beckie were restored to the starting XI, while Laura Coombs and Lee Geum-min were named on the bench. Georgia Stanway, who opened the scoring in Lugano, was absent with a hamstring injury, which will sideline the forward for six weeks.
With two wins from two and on the back of Thursday night’s European rout, City started the brighter of the two sides without creating any real chances. It was Reading who carved out the first real chance on goal, as Fara Williams tried her luck from distance but the ball bounced wide.
City dominated possession in the opening half hour but had to wait until the 27th minute before creating our first opportunity, as Wullaert escaped the Reading backline, bore down on goal but was thwarted by goalkeeper Grace Moloney.
The Reading shot-stopper then produced an excellent save to deny the in-form Caroline Weir before the visitors broke the deadlock with our next attack. Weir was involved again, winning the ball back on the edge of the area, and Bremer picked up the loose ball before arrowing into the top corner for her third goal of the week.
With City in control, Reading rarely threatened but the Royals almost grabbed an equaliser on the stroke of half-time when Mayumi Pacheco crossed to the backpost for the onrushing former Blue Natasha Harding. Fortunately, Gemma Bonner was alert to clear the danger.
City continued where we left off, growing in confidence and creating more chances in the second period. Bonner and Bremer both went close with efforts that flew just wide before the German doubled her personal tally with sheer persistence, netting at the second attempt after Moloney had smothered her first effort.
Beckie then spurned the chance to make it three, uncharacteristically drilling wide of the mark, while Bremer was unfortunate not to complete her hat-trick, heading against the post before the ball was hacked away as Scott dived to pounce.
At the other end, Ellie Roebuck had enjoyed a quiet afternoon but she was called into action to prevent Reading from finding a route back into the game, diving low to her left to deny Harding superbly.
In the end, two would be enough for City on a comfortable, professional afternoon’s work in Wycombe.
Player of the Match: Pauline Bremer
Full of confidence after her midweek double, Bremer is enjoying an impressive purple patch, showcasing both the finishing and predatory qualities Cushing admired so upon her signing. Once again, she was unfortunate not to bag a hat-trick, striking the post with a header, but her determined chasing and her rocket of an opener are cause for excitement.
Encouragingly, the German asserts there is more to come, as she continues her recovery from her lengthy absence and based upon her recent performances, that will prove a thrilling prospect for City; a terrifying one for opposition defenders.
With our third game of the week and on the back of Champions League travel to and from Switzerland, City could have been forgiven for showcasing elements of tiredness or sloppiness – but instead, Cushing’s side produced a fine team performance, controlling the ball well, limiting the hosts to few chances and proving effective creatively once again.
City have a week-long break between games: next hosting Leicester in the Continental Cup group stage on Sunday 22 September (2pm kick-off).
Cushing’s side then welcome Lugano to the Academy Stadium in the Champions League Round of 32 second leg, with a 7-1 advantage from the away tie in Switzerland.
Tickets for all home women’s games are available online or at the Ticket Office.