Reading FC Women defeated Liverpool FC Women 1-0 in their Women’s Super League season opener at Prenton Park, thanks to a stunning strike from Fara Williams.

A match that was end-to-end saw both teams have spells of possession, but ultimately it was the Royals that returned to RG2 with the victory.

Liverpool started on the front foot and forced the first save of the game from Grace Moloney but overall, Reading looked comfortable.

Just after the half hour mark, Harding almost put Reading in front as she received the ball just in front of goal, but was just unable to take a touch before Preuss managed to clear the ball.

Royals were awarded a free kick on the 40 minute mark and both Jo Potter and Williams stood over the ball. It was Williams who struck it and guided the shot expertly past Preuss and into the top right of the net to give the visiting side the lead..

The second half started quickly as Courtney Sweetman-Kirk went through one-on-one but her touch was heavy and Moloney smothered her effort.

Williams said: “The free-kick [which led to the goal] was probably from a longer distance than I thought, but the way in which they set up, with the goalkeeper behind the wall, opened up that top corner and for once the execution was good and it went in and won us the game in the end.

“I think we controlled much of the first-half, and based on opportunities and clear-cut shots on goals, we certainly deserved the three points. I think Liverpool made it really hard for us in the second-half and went more direct and tried to cause us problems, but we’ve seen the game out really well.

“I think it was important that we kept the core group from last season and I think we’ve added some really good quality with some of the signings we’ve brought in.

“We need to be consistent now. Last season, when we played teams around us, we dropped points so the fact we’ve seen out a 1-0 win has showed we have grown as a team.”

Liverpool substitute Rinsola Babajide had a golden chance to equalise but she hit the bar when well placed.

Late on, goalscorer Williams was replaced by Rakel Honnudottir and the Royals managed to hold on doggedly for the three points.