Reading FC Match Report: 2012/2013 Season - Premier League
READING 0 NORWICH 0
After a cautious start Reading managed to dominate a City side lacking in any real attacking threat, but could not find sufficient quality in the final third of the pitch to make their territorial superiority count. Garath McCleary managed the only direct strike on goal in the fourteenth minute which Ruddy saved fairly comfortably. There was much positive talk after the game of keeping a clean sheet, but it was in fact a missed opportunity to register a first win of the season. City were clearly happy to hang to a point.
City’s defence was uncompromising and conceded free kicks and corners at regular intervals throughout the game but Reading were not able take advantage of them. Gorkss and Morrison came close with headers but City back four won most of the balls played into the box. Even Hunt was unusually unable to get his head to the ball. Bassong was dominant at the back. Snodgrass, having served his apprenticeship at Leeds, pushed tripped and complained to the referee throughout the first half. Roberts was lively and persistent forcing some errors in the City defence but promising situations were not converted into clear chances. It was a poor first half.
As Brian McDermott correctly acknowledged after the game, you could not fault Reading’s commitment. As the game wore on Robert’s became increasingly frustrated, spending too much time tumbling and protesting, and Hunt never really got into the game. Both were substituted along with McCleary. On came Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre and Kebe in an unsuccessful bid to freshen up the attack. One good run from Kebe won a free kick on the edge of the box. Referee Foy took ten small paces diagonally from the ball allowing the City defensive wall to block Shorey’s free kick from less than ten yards.
McAnuff thumped a shot just over the bar after good work by Shorey wide on the left. Shorey himself made a good run into the box and looked to have gone clean through until he was crowded out. The quality of Shorey’s play stood out throughout the game. His touch as always was excellent and he threaded thorough some perfectly weighted and directed passes on several occasions. Holt was a nuisance all afternoon pushing, backing in and falling over, without looking likely to score. Reading pressed for the elusive breakthrough and City had some promising situations on the break, but like Reading were unable to create any clear cut chances.
The most worrying statistic for me was published in the Guardian this morning. Reading’s passing accuracy is the poorest in the Premier League so far this season with only 68% of their passes reaching their intended destination. That inability to keep the ball has contributed significantly to their inability to hang on to the lead this season on more than one occasion, perhaps most spectacularly illustrated against the Gunners recently. I believe there are at least three teams who could finish below Reading this season, so I am still hopeful of Reading staying up, but I am not expecting the recovery to begin at home to a very strong Everton side next week.
This Premier League game took place 2140 days ago in the 2012/2013 season.