Reading earned a valuable point against title chasers Arsenal after Vivianne Miedema levelled to cancel out Lauren Bruton’s early opener.
Bruton gave Reading a dream start as she netted against her former club in the fifth minute, before Women’s Super League top scorer, Miedema, scored just before half-time.
An end-to-end second-half presented chances for both teams but neither could find a winner as the points were shared at the Madejski Stadium.
Kelly Chambers made three changes from last weekend when Reading were thumped 5-0 by Chelsea as Lauren Bruton, Molly Bartrip and Rachel Rowe looked to provide a response for the hosts as they were named in the starting eleven.
Reading were also looking for redemption having been hammered 6-1 by the Gunners on the opening day of the WSL season.
The inclusion of Bruton paid dividends just five minutes into the match as the Royals took an early lead with the first chance of the game.
Emma Mitchell put in an inviting cross from a free-kick wide on the left which was met by Bruton who connected on the volley to slot the ball past keeper Manuela Zinsberger as two former Arsenal players combined to net an early goal.
There was little in the way of chances for the away side. But Miedema did get a sight of goal when Kim Little spun brilliantly in the box to beat her marker and found the Dutch striker, but she was tackled after taking one touch too many instead of pulling the trigger.
The Royals were showcasing an aggressive high press which caused Arsenal several problems throughout the half as they tried to play the ball from the back.
Rachel Rowe stole possession just outside the box but Zinsberger did well to save her sides blushes and force her out wide.
Lotte Wubben-Moy received the first yellow card of the game for a late tackle on Rowe.
Reading continued to create the better chances going forward in a complete contrast to last weekend’s disastrous performance.
the hosts were also defending resolutely as Mitchell got across to sweep up the danger as Jill Roord tried to find some space down the right with players arriving in the middle.
But Reading weren’t able to go into the break with a lead as the Women’s Super League top scorers found the net just five minutes before half-time.
Royals keeper Grace Moloney made a superb save down to her right to keep out Roord’s header, but WSL top scorer Miedema was in the perfect position to poach on the rebound to equalise.
Reading had a chance at the end of the half with a free-kick on the opposite side to where they opened the scoring, but Rowe underhit her delivery as the half ended even.
Clearly unimpressed by his team’s opening 45 minutes, Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro made three changes at the break.
Leah Williamson, Jen Beattie and Beth Mead replaced Anna Patten, Wubben-Moy and Malin Gut for the visitors.
The Gunners again gave the ball away in a dangerous area as Bruton looked to capitalise, but she scuffed her shot which couldn’t find Tash Harding in the middle as Arsenal scrambled the ball away from goal.
Jess Fishlock picked up a yellow card as she brought down Williamson with the visitors looking to catch Reading on the counter attack.
Kristine Leine made a crucial tackle on Miedema who looked to cut into the box, before Reading broke down the other hand with a shot from Mitchell testing the gloves of Zinsberger who parried the shot away.
Chambers’ first substitution of the match saw another former Arsenal player enter the fray as Danielle Carter replaced Bruton
Miedema had a golden opportunity to add to her tally when some brilliant work down the right-wing saw Mead beat her marker and then deliver an inch perfect cross for the striker but she volleyed over the bar from close range.
Mead then had a chance of her own just moments later when she raced into the box but she didn’t control her effort which flew high and wide.
The Gunners began to turn up the heat in search of a winner and Moloney made a super stop to keep out Roord’s effort from close range as she reached at full stretch to turn the ball behind.
Moloney made another important stop to keep the scores level as she smothered the ball from the feet of Roord in the 87th minute.
The Royals stay in sixth position in the league ahead of an away trip to Aston Villa next Sunday.
There was a lengthy stoppage at the end of the game as Leine had to be stretchered off after a heavy collision with her goalkeeper.
There were nine minutes of added time after the unfortunate injury to the Reading defender, but neither side were able to find a decisive goal to steal the three points.
Reading Women: Moloney, Leine, Cooper, Mitchell, Bartrip, Eikeland, Fishlock, James, Rowe, Harding, Bruton
Subs: Williams, Nayler, Carter, Skeels, Roberts, Childerhouse, Harries, Stewart
Arsenal Women: Zinsberger, Walti, Wubben-Moy, McCabe, Pattern, Little, Gut, van de Donk, Evans, Miedema, Roord
Subs: Beattie, Williamson, Mead, Maritz, Williams, Foord, Maier, Stenson, Mace
Goals: Bruton 5′, Miedema 40′