Crystal Palace Women head coach Laura Kaminski attributed her side’s last-gasp equaliser to a combination of their belief, and the backing of the Eagles’ supporters.
Making their first appearance at the VBS Community Stadium in Palace’s first game of the season, long spells of good work looked set to be undone as Reading – one of the favourites for promotion from the Women’s Championship – went ahead in the 89th minute from a corner kick.
But with the scoreboard showing 102 minutes, a diagonal ball from Fliss Gibbons was glanced back across goal superbly by Elise Hughes – and into the far corner to send the Palace fans and players into rapture.
Kaminski said: “We’ve worked so hard all week on a way to play, on us, and being prepared for the opposition. We want to stick to that. We don’t want to go away from the gameplan: we stay focused and believe in ourselves that until the final whistle has gone, we back the way we play. In the end, that pay-off was really good.
“I think the whole team pulled together. If you look at the performance, especially the second-half… and the last block of the game. We knew that 75 to 90 was going to be a real period of the game we’d prepped for and knew might look different, and I was really happy with the way they applied themselves during that time.
“Obviously we made a mistake and conceded but going the opposite way, we really kept pushing, kept driving and made the momentum that we had that we worked so hard to get and capitalise on in the final moments of the game.
“To the fans: thank you for coming out. There was almost 800 people here which is absolutely fantastic and they’ve made this place feel like home. When we scored, the place erupted, and it was a great feeling and a great moment for the players.
“I know they’ll cherish that and want to repeat it week after week, so for the fans that attended today, they made the moment really special for us. We look forward to coming back here now because it just made the day.”