Reading dropped another two points when they twice threw away a lead to draw 2-2 with Women’s Super League strugglers Aston Villa on Saturday lunchtime, writes Ben Waite.

Angharad James opened the scoring after three minutes before Mana Iwabuchi equalised in the 55th. Rachel Rowe produced an instant response for Kelly Chambers’ side before Diana Silva struck in second half stoppage time.

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Reading recorded their sixth draw in 13 games with no clean sheet in their last ten league ties.

The Royals started the more positive with a corner routine eventually headed home by James from close range after Villa goalkeeper Lisa Weiss palming a Jess Fishlock shot into the Welsh midfielder’s path.

Chambers’ side could have had an early penalty when Weiss bundled into Lauren Bruton but the referee was not interested. Bruton then departed early through injury before Molly Bartrip was called in to make a last-ditch tackle to twice deny Stine Larsen.

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There was a full debut for 17-year-old academy graduate Bethan Roberts who replaced the injured Kristine Leine in the starting line-up and she nearly had a dream goal when her long-range effort was plucked out by Weiss.

Deanna Cooper came to the rescue moments before half time to deny the lively Iwabuchi before both James and Rowe spurned guilt edged opportunities.

Japanese star Iwabuchi took the game by the horns in the second half and levelled when she slid in a clever free kick from Reading born defender, Nat Haigh.

Rowe put the Royals back ahead in the Walsall snow finishing off from a Fishlock pass before the elements took a turn for the worst.

Snow blanketed the pitch as the yellow ball surfaced for both Danielle Carter and Amalie Eikeland to waste chances.

It was to be Villa with a final sucker punch when substitute Silva slid in an Iwabuchi cross to give the WSL newcomers their first home points of the 2020/21 season.

The hosts had the chance to nick all three points at the death when Shania Hayles broke through only for the chance to come to nothing.

Reading and Chambers were again left to rue wasted opportunities from their 22 shots while Villa’s only two attempts on target beat Grace Moloney.

The Royals now face a trip to high-flying Manchester United in two weeks’ time. 

Reading: Moloney, Roberts (Harries 67), Cooper, Bartrip, Mitchell, James, Fishlock, Eikeland, Rowe, Harding ©, Bruton (Carter 28).

Bench (Unused): Nayler, Childerhouse, Skeels, Woodham. 

Goals: James 3, Rowe 57.