Zelem rises and puts it high and to the keeper’s right. A good way to celebrate her 100th birthday. Moloney is probably right to feel hard done by because she may have taken a bit of a ball when she challenged Russ.
Tune drops a great through ball from Russ, which is knocked down by the keeper. Touch hard?
10 minutes: United win another corner and we know what happened with the last one. Zelem run out of time this time and unfortunately United lose possession before the cross is even taken. Reading make a break, but the ball across the six-yard box is not threatened without a Royals player.
8 minutes: United are pushing forward again as they dominate possession.
6 minutes: Reading have the first attack of the game and it almost gives something. There are half-penalty appeals (handball) but the ball eventually falls into the hands of Earps as the deflection falls kindly for the United keeper and the England international.
Well, it didn’t take long! What a start to summer recruitment. Le Tissier scored just one goal for Brighton last season, but she has already reached that mark here. A corner is flown into the area, Le Tissier spins and gets the boot and the ball flies to a rather confused Moloney who is thought to have gone over the bar though. Bit of an odd goal but United will score it!
3 minutes: Quick steps away from United’s other new signing, Lucia Garcia, in the area. The ball falls to Tune, but again Reading block. The pattern seems set and United win their first corner.
2 minutes: Russo makes an early cross, but Redding blocks it and fires a shot into the net. The visitors take their time as keeper Grace Moloney plays it short.
1 minute: Two classic outfits are on display. United in their red shirts and Reading in their blue and white hoops. An early touch for United’s new signing Maia Le Tissier.
1 minute: Everything is done flawlessly. United get into the fray before Reading bring us into the game after both sides are on their knees.
It is now the National Anthem with new lyrics.
As usual, the song “This Is The One” by the Stone Roses is played before the start.
Looks like a sunny day in Lee. United captain Cathy Zelem runs for a photo in front of the sign commemorating her 100th birthday.
He then returns to the edge of the center circle for a moment of silence for the Queen.
Um, still no live photos. Wait. Let’s go!! I see two teams!
Still waiting for the broadcast to start. My window cleaner, Tony, had just knocked on the door and we had a quick chat about women’s football. He watched Arsenal v Brighton last night and has just told me the full story of the United team. In this he anticipates Rousseau’s bracket.
When you flip through the Sky channels to find the game, let me stop you, as this one can only be seen in FA Player. Or MUTV.
It’s quick and easy to sign up for FA Player, although we still have the ‘broadcast about to start’ message and what appears to be Jean-Michel Jarre’s b-side playing on loop.
An important milestone for the Manchester United captain.
A bit of pre-match reading. More from Jonathan Liew.
The new WSL season kicked off last night. A strong start for Arsenal and Jonathan Liew was there to see it.
Manchester United: Earps, Battle, Blundell, Thune, Zelem, Galton, Ladd, Le Tissier, Garcia, Turner, Rousseau.
Subs: Baggaly, Thorisdottir, Tunkara, Bo Risa, Moore, Staniforth, Leon, Paris, Thomas.
Reading: Moloney, Mukandi, Evans, Rose, Wellings, Eikeland, Wade, Cooper, Rowe, Woodham, Troelsgaard.
Subs: Burns, Poulter, Dowie, Caldwell, Primer, Meadows Tucson, Perry.
Finishing fourth, fourth, fourth in three seasons since promotion, Manchester United taxi is still waiting in the rank. Is this the kind of campaign, if they finally finish in the top three, that will secure Champions League qualification?
Signs look good. Manager Mark Skinner now has a full season under his belt, with some attractive summer signings adding even more optimism. Nikita Paris is among them, bringing the contingent of the triumphant Lions United to four.
Forwards Alessia Russo and Ella Toon made a big impact in England’s golden summer, as did goalkeeper Mary Earps, and United will hope that feel-good factor will give them an early slingshot in the new season.
United were due to start with a trip to Spurs, but last week’s cancellation of fixtures due to the death of the Queen means they have home advantage in what will be a packed Leigh Sports Village.
Visitors Reading finished eighth last season – 17 points behind United – after a miserable finish to the campaign. The loss of captain Natasha Harding was a major blow, but manager Kelly Chambers has revamped the squad by bringing in six new faces, including Northern Ireland goalkeeper Jacqueline Burns. Reading will be hoping the shake-up halts a worrying slump as their league position has seen a gradual decline over the past five seasons: 4-5-5-7-8.