Reading FC Match Report: 2014/2015 Season - Championship
READING 0 BOLTON 0
Bolton’s recent run of form under new manager Neil Lennon indicated this would not be an easy match to win, and so it proved; although it has to be said Reading tactically played into their hands in the first half and failed to make the most of their chances in the second. The official attendance was again over 15000, but with so many season ticket holders not turning up the actual figure was surely much lower. The atmosphere was quiet and subdued from the start and there was little in the first half to rouse the crowd. Nigel Adkins started with the same eleven from last week’s successful visit to Norwich which meant a second start for Cooper. The young centre back again had an impact in both penalty areas with his prowess in the air.
It was hard to understand what the game plan was in the first half. Murray was certainly isolated up front and it was hard to see who exactly was supposed to be getting forward to support him. Murray is proven a goalscorer but he does not have the attributes of a lone striker. In keeping with the festive season, former Royal, Matt Mills was booed like a pantomime villain every time he touched the ball. Mills played very deep, and with Reading midfield also sitting back to stifle Bolton in midfield, he had lots of time and space to look up and to hit long passes from the back which posed few problems for the Reading defence. Bolton issued a warning with a cross fizzed across the face of Reading’s goal early in the game. Obita had a sight of goal after fifteen minutes but lacked the confidence to strike the ball without taking an extra touch and the chance disappeared. McCleary was equally guilty of the same offence later in the half. Norwood slipped a superb pass inside the full back for Obita to cross but Murray’s effort was cleared. Robson-Kanu also produced a good cross which Murray was not able to convert. Murray also had a shot blocked following a goalmouth scramble form a corner, but neither ‘keeper saw much action in the first half.
Reading started the second half with greater purpose and had the ball in the net within a minute of the re-start. Cooper nodded the ball down to Murray who tucked the ball away neatly only for the goal to be disallowed presumably because he made his move a fraction too soon. The game began to open up and Federici had to pull off a good save from Ream’s header following a corner. Two chances fell to Hector in quick succession. He got his head to a cross but was unable to keep the ball down and the ball flew over from close range, and then he was given time and space but dragged his shot just wide of the post when he really should have hit the target. Chung-Yong Lee was causing Reading problems for Reading with his excellent passing and movement throughout, but particularly as the Royals pressed forward. Reading managed to keep a clean sheet but Bolton had their chances in the second have notably two shots which were dragged wide of Federici’s right post. The best strike came from Williams just before he was substituted when he cut inside had struck the ball unerringly towards the bottom corner only to see Lonergan stretch out a left hand to turn it past the post. It was a shot worthy of winning the game, and save worthy of saving a point. Leading scored Cox came on to keep Murray company for the last twenty minutes and freshened up the attack but he probably needed longer to make any real impact.
Norwood was nominated Man of the Match. He probably was Reading’s best player, but his was not an outstanding performance, which reflects the mediocrity of the team performance overall. Another point is useful in cementing Reading’s position in mid table, which at the moment does not look destined to change much.
This Championship game took place 1200 days ago in the 2014/2015 season.