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Royals ascent to the top
 Women's Football News 8 Sep 2005
Royals ascent to the top - 8 Sep 2005 - Women's Football NewsReading Royals have made an excellent start to life in the Premier League and, following the midweek matches, find themselves on top of the Southern Division table. 
After losing their opening match at Langford, the Royals have responded with four successive wins including notable ones over Portsmouth and Bristol City.
Speaking to Women's Soccer Scene after Sunday's 2-0 win at Bristol City, Royals captain Gemma Sims admitted that the first goal of the match was probably a decisive one. "We started quite nervously and needed to settle down," said Gemma. "We were quite happy with the 0-0 scoreline at half time but in the first ten minutes of the second half we could have scored. Both teams were making mistakes and I think whoever scored the first goal would go on to win."
That first goal was scored by Cheryl Williams from the penalty spot. The talented midfielder has adapted well to Premier League football with her long range passing and showed considerable coolness in beating City goalkeeper Laura Niblett. "I was a little bit nervous," said Cheryl, "but you have to put that behind and hope that it goes in.
"Stepping up to a new league was a big challenge for us," she adds. "But since then, we have settled really well and learnt from our mistakes."
"In our first game (at Langford) we didn't have the belief that we could compete at this level but I think we're going to keep improving," says Gemma. "The win against Portsmouth was a big one as we knew then that we could beat these teams."
Following their good run of wins, do the Royals feel that they can stay among the leading clubs? "We're not setting our sights too high," replies Cheryl. "We are not going to get ahead of ourselves and think about promotion or anything like that. If it happens, it will be great, but we'll just look at the next game and go from there."
That next game is on Sunday when the Royals play a plum Premier League Cup tie at home to Charlton Athletic, winners of the trophy two years ago. Their former Charlton winger, Susannah Abbott, is unavailable for the game but Gemma is looking forward to the challenge of leading her side against their illustrious opponents. "Against Charlton, we've got nothing to lose," she says. "We'll do our best, but we won't be disappointed if we don't win."

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