Reading FC Match Report: 2014/2015 Season - Championship
READING 0 BLACKBURN 0
With neither side having anything at stake it was hardly a surprise that this fixture failed to yield any goals. One shot on target for the Royals and none for Rovers however, only tells part of the story. Reading forced fifteen corners to Rovers’ three, reflecting their dominance of a fairly one-sided match. Reading controlled the game from start to finish but were unable, once again, to convert opportunities in to goals. Reading have accumulated three points in their last three games but only scored one goal (plus and own goal).
Steve Clarke, probably in preparation next week’s trip to Wembley, played with five in midfield leaving Pogrebnyak to toil in isolation up front. Ake filled in at left back to ensure Obita (one booking away from suspension) is available for the semi-final. McCleary and Mackie played wide, Chalobah held centre midfield, leaving Karacan and Robson-Kanu free to roam. The formation seemed to work as Reading passed the ball well through midfield, and at times, particularly in the first half, threatened to overwhelm Rovers. Sadly Pogrebyak, in spite of giving of his best, is simply not quick enough in thought or deed to get into scoring positions with sufficient frequency. Too often attacks break down when he receives the ball. Steve Clarke to his credit is clearly working hard to bring the best out of him but I suppose he has to with few other options available.
It was good to see Karacan start a game and although he was replaced near the end he looked full of running and has not lost his appetite for a tackle. Mackie stood out again for sheer endeavour. His willingness to take players on and run at defenders always unhinges defences. He was responsible for forcing most of the many corners and whipping over several inviting crosses. He created the only opportunity resulting in a strike on goal from Robson-Kanu which was saved by Eastwood early in the game. McCleary, particularly in the first half, was also finding an extra yard of pace to get past his marker. His best cross found Mackie at the far post who produced a good header back across goal which drifted just over the bar. Chalobah looked very assured in midfield. He passed the ball well, was hard to dispossess, and broke up Rovers attacks with well-timed challenges.
Rovers mustered a few more attacks in the second half but the most significant action from Federici was a stretch to turn a cross over the bar. McCleary should have made more of two opportunities when he broke from the half-way line but his indecision allowed the Rovers defence to snuff out the threat. Appiah came on briefly near the end and charged down a clearance from Eastwood only to see the ball fly wide of the upright. His pace also pace took him clear of the defence but he missed the target when he lobbed the ball over the Rovers ‘keeper. The offside flag saved his embarrassment. An Akpan header was scrambled away near the end to deny Reading a late winner but by then I think both teams had settled for a draw.
With Reading now eleven points clear of the relegation zone, the climax to their season will come next week at Wembley. It is hard to imagine a Reading win but stranger things have happened in football.
This Championship game took place 1444 days ago in the 2014/2015 season.