Birmingham City Women head coach Carla Ward reckons second city rivals Aston Villa will be running scared ahead of their crucial midweek meeting.
Ward’s side passed up the chance to pull clear of the relegation zone as Reading’s Rachel Rowe cancelled out Ruby Mace’s opener to earn a 1-1 draw.
That means there are two points and a single place between second-bottom Villa and City ahead of Wednesday’s grudge match.
“If Villa are looking at that, they’re thinking, ‘It isn’t going to be easy,” said Ward. “Everyone’s putting pressure on the bottom four but there’s no pressure in our camp. It’s weird because it’s a really relaxed camp.
“I did think on the way in, ‘should we be worried?’. Nobody believed that we could do it, but we believe we can. We know where we need to get points and the players were outstanding today.
“They should take a lot of heart. They feel like it’s a defeat because they want to win the game, but I’m delighted with them.”
City’s season has been overshadowed by recent complaints of a lack of support from the club with concerns around training facilities and travel arrangements.
Injuries have also plagued the squad and incredibly, you have to go all the way back to November and their 1-0 win over Villa for their last Super League victory.
They impressed for long periods against mid-table Reading and Mace was in the right place at the right time to turn home the loose ball from a corner on three minutes.
Striker Ruesha Littlejohn passed up a golden opportunity to make it 2-0, but City would be left to rue that chance as Rowe converted a rebound to level terms.
Reflecting on her side’s performance, Ward said: “I think we’ve created the better chances.
“Ruesha has had a good chance in each half and Claudia [Walker] has had a couple of good chances, but it is what it is. Overall, we’ve created some really good chances.
“We’ve got to score two of them, but I’ve just said to my players that I’m delighted with them.
“They’ve left everything out there. I’m happy with the point but I’m more happy with the performance of the players.”