Reading Women showed their class as they ran out five nil winners to a spirited Durham Womens side.
Four goals in an action packed second half highlighted the Royals quality in attack, but if it hadn’t been for Wildcats skipper Sarah Wilson, the score could have been even more.
Chances for Durham were few and far between and the result sees them now without a win in four.
Reading were the team to kick off and the Royals started much the brighter of the two. The visitors also being well supported with drums in tandem.
The visiting support then become even more vocal as the deadlock was broken in the 4th minute. Emma Follis broke away down the right hand side; and after her first cross was cleared back out to her, a snapshot caught keeper Anna Moorhouse out at her near post.
Durham then began to settle down and get themselves back into the game. A low cross into the box was inches away from being touched in by Courtney Corrie.
Keeper Moorhouse, who was given the nod ahead of regular stopper Helen Alderson, didn’t let the early goal affect her, collecting numerous crosses into the Wildcats box.
The first twenty passed, with Reading winning the midfield battle, but Durham skipper Wilson and Northern Irish centre half Julie Nelson repelled all that came their way.
Reading then should have made it two, as Follis again beat her man, and Laura May Walkley found herself unmarked at the back post but headed wide.
Durham then had their first effort on goal as Rachel Lee saw her effort blocked away on the edge of the box with a lot of venom behind the shot.
Wildcats captain Wilson then found herself in the wars, with manager Lee Sanders using the stoppage for an impromptu team-talk to rally his troops.
On the stroke of half time, the Royals will wonder how they did not grab a second, with Follis picking out Lauren Bruton twice with a cutback within minutes of each other. The striker however could connect cleanly with either chance and Durham went in at the break only the one down.
The second half started and it was the home side that began to stamp their authority on the game.
Blocked efforts from the edge of the box showed the intent that Sanders would have desired after his half time words.
Corrie won a corner down the left channel and skipper Wilson saw her effort deflected away when it fell to her in the box. Reading countered and saw the ball dribble agonisingly wide of the goal, highlighting their quality and danger on the break.
Lively winger Jemma Purfield then tested the Reading full-back, beating her before seeing her shot whistle past the post.
A foul just outside the box from Lee gave Reading centre midfielder Lois Roche the chance to swing the ball in. The number 10 instead decided to drill an effort which was spilled by Moorhouse and cheekily back-heeled in by Royals captain Kirsty McGee. Unfair on the Wildcats, who were arguably having their best spell at the time.
Manager Sanders then decided to make a couple of changes to try and freshen up his Durham side. Becky Beech came on for Purfield while Chloe Macek replaced Lauren Jordinson.
The game then saw a few tackles begin to fly in, with Welsh midfielder Walkley booked for a cynical trip as the Wildcats broke. Then striker Bruton found herself in referee Helen Conley’s notebook for an eye-watering challenge on Nelson.
Reading then found themselves three up on the 80th minute, as a low cross along the six-yard box caused confusion and the unlucky full-back Jen Jennings saw the ball rebound off her into the empty net.
Vic Linsey was brought on to replace Nelson, who was clearly struggling after that earlier tackle.
A fourth goal came for Reading in the 85th minute as a corner was taken short to Roche, who had been one of the standout players in the game, and her lofted cross caught everyone out including Moorhouse in the Durham goal. Only Roche will know if she meant it as a shot or cross.
Beech then had a volley loop well over the ball which summed up the disappointing performance from the Wildcats, who had been outclassed here.
After opening the scoring, Follis ended it as she found the net with the last touch of the game as she took her goal well from just outside the box following a delightful through ball.
Durham will look to rebuild in their next game, where they play Sunderland Ladies FC at New Ferens Park on July 22nd in the Continental Cup.