HELEN Richardson-Walsh celebrated her surprise return to Investec League action by scoring in Reading's victory over Bowdon Hightown at Sonning Lane on Saturday.
It was the England player's first outdoor appearance for 15 months, giving her an important step on a long battle for full fitness.
But the 33-year-old midfielder admitted that her back problems are far from over.
"This is just the start of it; there's a long way to go," she told Dave Wright after the game.
"I am going to be nursing my back till I finish playing. It is always going to be with me.
"It is never going to be perfect, but it is going to be about managing it, I know that.
"Hopefully, I can continue to play good hockey,"
Richardson-Walsh started on the bench, but was given plenty of pitch action in both halves. And she was in right place in the 16th minute, Following a penalty corner, Leah Wilkinson, who was nursing a thumb injury, saw her effort blocked, but the ball eventually fell to Helen at the far post for what she described as a "nice little tap in."
From then on Reading always looked the likely winners.
Georgie Blackwood turned in Emily Maguire's left-wing cross to double the lead in the 39th minute and Wiz Hunt dived in to meet Becky Halle's pass to make it 3-0 on 48 minutes.
Helen added: It was good to get the win which keeps us in with a chance of the play-offs; hopefully we can make them."
Reading, one of four teams battling for fourth spot in the league, stay fifth in the table, but have played a game more than their rivals.
This week they are competing in the European Indoor Clubs Cup taking place in Lithuania.
Last year's England champions play top Dutch side Den Bosch and Ukrainians Sumchanka tomorrow, followed by Germany's representatives Hamburg on Saturday morning, with the first of the knock-out games in the afternoon.
The one-to-eight placings will be decided on Sunday.
Reading are in Pool A, while the other group comprises Club de Campo de villa de Madrid (Spain), Slavia Praha (Czechoslovakia), Cambrai (France) and hosts Gintra-Strekte Uni.
Reading coach Merijn van Willigen said: "It is going to be very big challenge for us, but the girls up really up for."
The squad to play in Siauliai is: Sarah Ellis, Emma Thomas, Wiz
Hunt, Becky Halle, Ellie Cockburn, Ashlie Caddick, Abi Harper, Emily Maguire, Susie Gilbert.