Reading FC Match Report: 2013/2014 Season - Championship


Reading: A Le Fondre (90).
Bournemouth: L Grabban (37), M Ritchie (41).

For the second time this week Reading underperformed against a mediocre side from the lower half of the league, only on this occasion their opponents took full advantage. Nigel Adkin’s attempt to outwit Eddie Howe failed miserably. Many were surprised to see Pogrebnyak on the bench, but it seems the plan was to play Robson-Kanu instead, in a deeper role, leaving Billy Sharp up front on his own. To a degree it worked as the Royals dominated possession for thirty minutes, although the only strike on target in that period was a Billy Sharp header which was headed off the line. Then, completely against the run of play, Bournemouth scored twice in four minutes to completely change the complexion of the game. Adam Le Fondre’s strike in stoppage time came far too late for Reading to salvage a point from a game everyone was expecting them to win.

Reading kept the ball well for most of the first half but it was mainly ‘safe’ passing to retain possession and lacking in penetration. Bournemouth were organised and disciplined, and untroubled by Reading passing the ball in front of their midfield. The Royals did play with more width than against Charlton (although McCleary did create an imbalance again by drifting inside in the second half), but the quality of crossing left a lot to be desired. Keeper Camp and the Bournemouth dealt comfortably with most of the balls delivered in to the danger area. It was a dull game which looked likely to remain goalless until Guthrie conceded a free kick just inside his own half. The yellow card he received seemed a bit harsh and will result in suspension next week. The free-kick was pumped forward and was met by a Bournemouth head. The ball was scrambled away but not far enough as Grabban smashed home from close range. Things went from bad to worse as Guthrie gave the ball away carelessly on the half way line and as Ritchie dribbled across the edge of the box Gorkss stood off, allowing him to drill the ball low past McCarthy’s right hand.

Pogrebnyak replaced Hal Robson-Kanu at half time as Reading went chasing the game. Bournemouth were now enjoying the comfort of a two goal lead and passed the ball around well. In fact as the game wore on they looked more likely to score than Reading. Gorkss was looking very sluggish and beginning to concede free kicks with late lunges. Adkins made the bold move of replacing him with Le Fondre leaving only three at the back. With Drenthe replacing McCleary Reading briefly sparked into life. Unfortunately the impact was too late and Bournemouth frustrated Reading with the usual strategies to eat up time to secure the points. Drenthe’s stoppage time strike on goal was blocked by Camp and Le Fondre popped up to remind the manager his knack of scoring has not deserted him.

Far too often today Reading were second best in the air and in the tackle. Karacan’s influence is clearly missing at the moment. Drenthe stood out because he showed an appetite for the battle. He can be forgiven for the rash challenge which brought him a yellow card as he tried to inject some life into the game. In a mediocre performance Pearce stood out for his composure on the ball and resolute defensive work. I am still puzzled by the inclusion of Obita. He has potential but makes little impact. I would have preferred to see Robson-Kanu out wide on the left in his place rather than struggling to find space through the middle.

On current form it is hard to predict how this season will go, but at the moment a play-off place looks the best Reading can expect.
John Wells

This Championship game took place 1836 days ago in the 2013/2014 season.