Reading FC Match Report: 2017/2018 Season - Championship
READING 3 NOTTM FOREST 1
Reading: J Swift (13), J Swift (70), J Smith (og, 78)
Nottm Forest: B Osborn (86)
The gloom which surrounded the Madejski Stadium following a poor performance and a defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough on Saturday was dispelled with an emphatic victory over a Forest side in the middle of a run of good results which has seen them climb in to the top half of the table. The Royals, in control of the game from the kick off, took an early lead with a well taken goal from Swift. Although Forest enjoyed the majority of the possession, Reading always looked in command and added two further goals in the second half before Osborn tucked away a consolation goal for Forest four minutes from full time.
Jaap Stam, needing to shake things up a bit after dire performance on Saturday, replaced Kelly, Beerens and Ilori with Bacuna, Edwards and Barrow and it worked a treat. Bacuna imposed himself on the game from the start. Playing at right back he had time and space to make forward runs and pick out passes through the Forest midfield to keep the visitors on the back foot. Collectively everyone was pressing and looking to get forward. Smith epitomised the determination in the side chasing back fifty yards into his own half to win back the ball and set up an attack. He was not alone in his desire to win possession and get at the Forest defence.
Forest were unable to cope in the opening stages and Reading had more strikes on target in the opening fifteen minutes than in the entire game against Boro. They were rewarded for their enterprise after thirteen minutes when Bacuna popped up on the left wing, and when released by a Barrow pass, he tore into the Forest box and picked out Swift who had intelligently held his run into the area. Swift stroked the ball past Smith with a composed finish. Forest tried to get back in to game and moved the ball around well at times but it was Reading that looked more threatening when they attacked. Bacuna's excellent cross reached Smith in the six yard box but the he was unable to get the contact required to head it home from close range. Bacuna then drew a good save from Smith with a fierce strike form the corner of the penalty area. Having been booed at full time on Saturday The Royals were deservedly applauded off at half time by a small but appreciative crowd.
Van den Berg received a head injury just before half time and was replaced by Clement who had an excellent game. His touch is superb and he passed the ball imaginatively. Forest did their utmost to get back into the game and Manone pulled of a string of very good saves to frustrate them. His reactions are very sharp and made some excellent reflex saves from close range. When Dowell drifted beyond the Reading back four he made and excellent stop coming off his line to narrow the angle. With Forest pushing forward they were vulnerable to Reading's pace on the break.
The second and crucial goal was also delightfully created, this time by Barrow lifting the ball delicately over the Forest defence to find Swift who again had timed his forward run to perfection to slide the ball past Smith. With only twenty minutes left a comeback looked unlikely. Eight minutes later Clement swept the ball out wide to Aluko who twisted and turned before firing in a low cross which ricocheted off ‘keeper Jordan Smith into his own net. For the first time in the league this season Reading had scored three and with only twelve minutes to play there was now no chance of a comeback. Osborn’s accurate shot inside the far post two minutes from time was probably deserved by Forest for their second half endeavours to get back in to contention, but a bit harsh on Manone who deserved a clean sheet for his display.
This was a very good performance all round from Reading. The passing was sharp and penetrative. Aluko, Swift, Barrow and Bacuna were eager to take players on. The work rate was phenomenal throughout the team when Forest had the ball. Everyone was prepared to put in a tackle or win the ball in the air. There were no weak links, but Moore in particular oozed confidence and looks destined to play at a higher level. We can only hope that might be with Reading!
This Championship game took place 141 days ago in the 2017/2018 season.