Sam Tierney returned from suspension for the Barclays FA Women's Super League clash, replacing Natasha Flint in the starting XI for what was the only change to the side beaten by Manchester City a week ago.
An energetic start from the Foxes led to Missy Goodwin creating the first real opportunity, doing well to cut inside and find Shannon O’Brien, who moved the ball onto her right foot but saw her shot blocked in the penalty area.
O’Brien, who was playing as a lone striker, went even closer to opening the scoring when, following a mazy run into the box, the England Under-23s international managed to get another effort away, but agonisingly saw it come back off the post.
The visitors’ first attempt on goal, meanwhile, came via the head of Natasha Dowie, who was unable to direct it on target from Canadian international Deanne Rose’ cross.
Back at the other end, Tierney won back possession in the Reading half before playing O’Brien through. This time she twisted and turned in the area before firing over the bar.
Demi Lambourne was called into action for the first time shortly before the break, holding on to Deanna Cooper’s header from a Justine Vanhaevermaet cross. And the away side continued their spell of pressure when Sanne Troelsgaard weaved a way through, but Dowie scuffed the resulting chance wide.
Rose was next to go for goal for the Royals, cutting inside and curling her strike high and wide of goal.
One final first-half opportunity came from Jemma Purfield’s in-swinging delivery, which was almost met by Ashleigh Plumptre and then Sophie Howard at the back post, but evaded everyone and Reading survived.
Both sides took a while to click into gear during the second half. A half-chance fell Rose’s way, with her goal-bound shot blocked by Plumptre.
City’s changes sparked the team back into life. Firstly Flint was introduced and almost made an immediate impact, heading a Purfield free-kick wide of the target, while Reading substitute Tia Primmer was next to try her luck, with Lambourne able to claim her half volley.
Shortly after, Molly Pike did well to find a cross for Flint in the middle, with her first-time strike well saved by Grace Moloney, who dived across to her left-hand side, before Howard headed narrowly wide from the resulting Purfield corner.
A dramatic conclusion followed, with opportunities falling at both ends. Lily Woodham found Primmer, but she got her header all wrong, allowing the hosts to break through fellow substitute Ava Baker, who picked out Flint in the middle.
Flint’s effort cannoned off a defender and out to Pike, with Faye Bryson handling her attempt right on the edge of the box. City’s No.7 stepped up, hammering the ball past the wall, though it took a deflection en route and deflected onto the post.
The game could have gone either way, however. Lambourne was forced into a smart stop as the clock ticked past 90 minutes, ahead of carnage ensuing in the box moments later, before Lambourne managed to hold on, with Dowie unable to find the finishing touch.
There was still time for the lively O’Brien to have a go from a tight angle in the area, seeing Moloney tip the ball out of danger.
The forward created several chances to win the game for Leicester.
The Foxes were pushing hard for a breakthrough, particularly in the closing stages, but also could have lost it right at the death had Reading converted one of their stoppage-time chances and they will be content with a point that boosts their survival bid.
A crucial late contribution from City's No.1 kept the scores level.
Despite having little do throughout the 90 minutes, Demi Lambourne had to stay alert and was required to save twice late on to ensure Leicester earned a maiden draw of 2021/22.
Where do we stand?
The youngster made her Barclays FA Women's Super League debut after two cup appearances in 2021/22.
City are 11th in the WSL, now sitting on 13 points with one match to play. They have increased the gap to Birmingham City to five points. While Leicester have one game remaining, Birmingham have three, including Sunday night's home clash with Chelsea.
Focus now turns towards a trip to North London next Sunday.
The Foxes’ final fixture of the campaign is away to Tottenham Hotspur next Sunday - a 12pm kick-off at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
City: Lambourne; De Graaf, Howard, Plumptre, McManus (c), Purfield; Goodwin (Flint 73’), Tierney, Pike, Gregory (Baker 83’); O’Brien.
Subs not used: Harris, Brougham, Devlin, Scofield, Barker, Boddy, Bailey-Gayle.
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