Albion got their first win of the season in the Barclays Women’s Super League after a goal in each half was enough to secure a 2-1 victory over Reading at the Amex.
Geummin Lee, who scored at the Amex against West Ham last season, deservedly put Albion ahead six minutes before the break and we had other opportunities in the first half.
Reading came back into the game after the break and Meg Walsh made three superb saves to keep the lead intact. With nine minutes left Katie Robinson finished off a counter-attack to make it 2-0 with her first WSL goal in front of a crowd of 5220. Reading pulled a goal back in stoppage time but Albion claimed a deserved three points.
Albion made one change to the side beaten by Arsenal in our WSL opener with Robinson replacing the suspended Emma Kullberg.
After a cagey start it was Albion who had the first chance on 14 minutes when Robinson was put through on goal down the right but her shot was too close to keeper Grace Moloney who also saved Lee’s follow-up effort.
It needed a good block by Diane Caldwell nine minutes later to deflect Elisabeth Terland’s shot which was on target before Natasha Evans’ header from a free kick beat Walsh, but she was flagged offside.
Albion came again and had another opportunity in the 33rd minute. Lee was in after Zigiotti won the ball back and the South Korean had far more time than she realised and went for the first-time shot ten yards but scuffed it badly wide. Terland then went for a 50-50 with Moloney and both players needed treatment while the Albion forward was booked for a late challenge.
Albion’s pressure was finally rewarded in the 39th minute. Libby Bance found Jorja Fox on the right and her cross took a deflection and Moloney, under pressure from Terland, failed to gather and the loose ball was drilled right-footed inside the far post by Lee.
The hosts then had two good chances in a minute to stretch their lead at the start of the second half. Vea Sarri fired high and wide of the near post from close range before Fox picked out Terland eight yards out but she got her angles all wrong and her header went well wide.
Meg Walsh had hardly been tested but in the 51st minute she parried Tia Primmer’s close-range shot and Natasha Dowie somehow failed to prod the loose ball home from a couple of yards. It was the signal for a spell of Reading pressure, with Deanne Cooper firing over from a good position as the visitors began to get on top.
Walsh made another important save midway through the half when Dowie got through, diverting her shot wide with an outstretched leg.
Albion were on the back foot but they hung on and with nine minutes left struck on the counter-attack. Walsh had just made a great save from Rachel Rowe and Albion quickly got it upfield. Julia Zigiotti’s pass found Lee who held the ball up and spotted Robinson unmarked and she drilled an angled effort past Moloney inside the far post to make it 2-0.
Reading were denied an immediate route back into the game by another superb Walsh save as she kept out Lauren Wade’s header from point-blank range but Albion could have had a third in the closing stages when Sarri’s low cross was flicked on by Terland but Moloney produced a brilliant one-handed save.
Reading did get a goal back deep into stoppage time when Walsh was beaten by Charlie Welling's powerful drive from close range but the points were ours.
Albion: Walsh, Fox, Williams, Green, Pattinson, Sarri, Zigiotti, Bance, Robinson, Lee (Carter 90), Terland. Subs not used: Startup, Park, Jarvis, Ferguson.
Booked: Zigiotti, Terland
Referee: Lauren Impey