Ti­tle is in our sights af­ter su­per Sun­day

The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY -

What a whirl­wind! Last week­end was prob­a­bly one of the most un­ex­pected and ex­cit­ing week­ends in my en­tire football ca­reer. I was asked on the ra­dio last Fri­day whether there was any chance that Read­ing FC Women could se­cure pro­mo­tion to the Women’s Su­per League top-flight that week­end. I hon­estly hadn’t even con­sid­ered the pos­si­bil­ity.

With Ever­ton play­ing at home to Durham and Yeovil host­ing Ox­ford, it seemed as though our trip to Wat­ford would merely be another chance for us to ex­tend our lead over the afore­men­tioned pair, if not to cut them adrift.

Ex­cited

As we kicked off at mid­day on Sun­day we were fully aware that, due to Ever­ton’s draw at home the pre­vi­ous day, a win would end their hopes of break­ing into the pro­mo­tion spots. By win­ning the game 3-1 we had achieved just that and at 2pm we set­tled down for some post-match food and turned our fo­cus to the Yeovil game that was just about to kick off.

Due to dop­ing con­trol be­ing in at­ten­dance, we knew that we could be there for the long haul and so, while the usual chit-chat was in full flow, sud­denly an Ox­ford United strike had grabbed the at­ten­tion of ev­ery­one in­volved at Read­ing. Play­ers, staff and fans alike spent the next two hours fran­ti­cally re­fresh­ing their Twit­ter feeds in or­der to keep up with the game.

The Wat­ford con­tin­gent slowly dis­ap­peared and by 4pm it was just the bar­man and a group of very ner­vous and ex­cited Roy­als.

The two play­ers re­turned from dop­ing, only to have to en­dure an ag­o­nis­ing 22 min­utes of in­jury time due to a bad head in­jury.

But when it was fi­nally con­firmed that our lo­cal ri­vals had done us a huge favour, the bar at Berkham­sted FC erupted.The won­der­fully gen­er­ous bar­man ap­pre­ci­ated the achieve­ment and of­fered ev­ery­one a drink to toast our suc­cess.

The party was well and truly un­der­way and, af­ter a jour­ney back to Read­ing, the play­ers and staff alike cel­e­brated into the small hours – Bianca Bragg was spot­ted still wear­ing her match shirt on Mon­day morn­ing!

This isn’t the end of the sea­son, how­ever, as ev­ery sin­gle mem­ber of the squad and all of the staff have as­pi­ra­tions to lift the league tro­phy on the fi­nal day. We have cre­ated history for the club al­ready, but we aren’t done yet!

We were back to work on Tues­day and got stuck right in with a high in­ten­sity ses­sion full of energy and qual­ity. Our aim is to go into the re­main­ing three games and take max­i­mum points. It won’t be easy by any means, all three of our op­po­nents are more than ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing ex­cel­lent football and spoil­ing our party, but we will do our ut­most to stop that from hap­pen­ing and we are work­ing as hard as ever to en­sure that we go into the games in the best shape pos­si­ble to achieve our dream.

Su­perb

We know that Don­caster Belles will be feel­ing ex­actly the same way and I feel that it is only right that the ti­tle goes down to the wire. Both teams have led from the off and, with the points and goal dif­fer­ence so close, it is set to be a crack­ing end to a su­perb sea­son.

In terms of next sea­son, prepa­ra­tion starts now.We are all play­ing for our places and we all want to be a part of the con­tin­u­ing suc­cess of the club.We know how tough it is go­ing to be as we take our place amongst the top teams, but we are con­fi­dent we can hold our own.

This sea­son has seen us face Ar­se­nal, Chelsea and Notts County and we lost out by only a sin­gle goal each time.We also scored at least one in each, which is a great sign for the fu­ture. With hard work, more train­ing and a few ad­di­tions to the squad, I truly be­lieve we will do well in the FA WSL1 next sea­son – sub­ject to meet­ing the FA’s li­cens­ing cri­te­ria, of course!

PIC­TURE: Nigel Hoyle

CEL­E­BRA­TIONS: Read­ing will be play­ing in the WSL 1 next year af­ter Sun­day’s sur­prise re­sults LIT­TLE FAN: Wales boss Jayne Lud­low has al­lowed He­len Ward to bring her daugh­ter Emily to train­ing camps

He­len Ward

READ­ING FC WOMEN & WALES STRIKER

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