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Reading Royals produced arguably the result of the day when beating in-form Millwall Lionesses and midfielder Natasha Caswell was delighted with the display.
The 21-year-old, known as Tasha, told Women's Soccer Scene that the Royals had to battle very hard to earn the win. "It was a brilliant performance," she said. "We started really quickly and matched Millwall from the beginning. It was a tough game, Millwall are a physically strong side and we had to earn the win.
"We had a good team spirit about us and battled really hard. It was our best performance for a long time. We scored with around 30 seconds to go - I played a pass through to Susannah Abbott who cut in, beat two defenders and clipped the ball into the corner for a goal worthy of winning the game.
"We defended really well and stopped them from getting in shots, most were from long range. All of the defence played extremely well."
Atfer a good start, Reading Royals have remained in mid-table in the Southern Division but with players returning from injuries, Tasha feels that they can only get better. "Our long term aim is to win promotion, we're probably a bit out of the running at the moment but it all starts from here," she says. "We have a new manager in Graeme Smith and, like with any change, it takes time to get used to different coaching and different ideas. He has been getting some good results so far, despite not having everyone fit."
For Tasha, just to be playing again is a triumph after a highly promising career suffered a long interruption. "I have just returned playing after having been out for three years," she says. "I suffered a broken leg which eventually needed two operations and then I gave birth to my daughter Millie 15 months ago."
The injury came at a particularly bad time for Tasha, who had been a regular through the England youth sides. "I played for England under-17s and under-19s, and had just come back from playing for the under-19s in Bulgaria when I broke my leg soon afterwards," she recalls.
"The England squad at that time included the likes of Fara Williams and Eni Aluko. Now, I look at them and how far they have gone - as they were in my group - but it just drives me on to get back where I was before it all happened.
"I know it can be done and it has happened before, as Emily Westwood spent a long time out injured but got back to reach the full England team."
Tasha has just started on the long road back but remains confident that she can fulfil her undoubted potential. "I have got all the attributes I used to have, it's just a case of getting my fitness back," she admits. "Right now, I am looking to consolidate my position in the Reading team and play as much as I can, but I feel that I have proved already that I can perform and am starting to get back to my best."
Reading are due to play Crystal Palace this week and they will be new opponents for Tasha. "I don't really know much about them but they are doing well," she replies. "They drew with Portsmouth last week, which was a good result, so we must be on our guard. But playing any game is a bonus at the moment."
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