After an 85th-minute winning goal by Reading at the weekend against West Ham, the Royal’s survival hopes look to have been boosted.
The Royals have been competing in the WSL since 2014 and remain the only club in the highest tier whose men’s side doesn’t compete in the Premier League, this of course, has implications on the women’s side as funding is limited.
For the majority of this season the club's aim has simply been to avoid relegation.
Manager, Kelly Chambers, has been at the helm since 2015 and has been a familiar face at the club for over 25 years as a player before moving into management. Chamber’s side have been underdogs for the majority of their time in the WSL, but this is something that she “enjoys and embraces”.
A tough start to the season, with many positive performances but no points to show for, has left Reading in and amongst the relegation battle for the majority of the season. With just eight games remaining for the Royal’s their focus will fully be on securing WSL football for another season.
With a limited budget, the squad has a mix of youthful and vastly experienced players. Captain and former Arsenal defender, Emma Mukandi and former Chelsea defender, Denna Cooper have over 150 WSL appearances between them, they will both hope they can help the Royals avoid relegation.
Reading are no stranger to last-gasp goals, and this was no different last weekend. An 85th-minute goal by Wales international, Rachel Rowe gave the Royal’s three much needed points. This was just their third win of the season. This result leaves them in 9th position but having played a game more than bottom-placed Leicester and three more games than 11th-placed Brighton.
Kelly Chambers and her side don’t have any easy run-in till the end of the season, still having to play Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City, as well as what will likely be a crunch match between Leicester in April.
Despite a disappointing league campaign, the Royals have found success in the FA Cup, as they will host four-time cup competition winners Chelsea in the quarter-final. A game which will be far from plain sailing, but one which provides a distraction from the league. Reading will have belief after falling short to Emma Hayes’ side in December by a single goal, after staging a comeback from falling 3-0 down.
Reading will host Chelsea again on the final day of the season, a game which may well affect the league table at both ends, as Chelsea will look for their sixth WSL title.
With eight games reaming for the Royals, the question remains as to whether they will be playing WSL football next season?