Reading FC Match Report: 2014/2015 Season - Championship


BIRMINGHAM 6 READING 1

Reading: G Murray (19)
Birmingham: P Caddis (4), D Gray (11), D Gray (24), D Gray (45), A Shinnie (46), D Cotterill (60)

Reading FC suffered a humiliating 6-1 defeat at the hands of a rejuvenated Birmingham City. The Royals defensive frailties returned in spectacular fashion at St Andrews as questions were once again raised about Nigel Adkin’s future. Reading went into the game unbeaten in the last two games. Defensively Reading had looked stronger and certainly there was optimism prior to kick off. They were forced into one team change, as the injured Hal Robson-Kanu was replaced by Simon Cox.

The game was only three minutes old when Jake Cooper slipped on the edge of the area. As he recovered he brought down Clayton Donaldson. From the resulting free kick Birmingham found the unmarked Paul Caddis. With no Reading player close to Caddis he made no mistakes as he drove the ball home past the despairing drive of Adam Federici. Reading responded well to the early setback as they controlled possession managing to create chances for both Cox and Murray. Cox drove a shot at the Birmingham goal following an Obita Cross on 6 minutes, keeper Randolph knowing little about it as the ball smashed against his arm. Murray with a weak finish into the arms of Randolph when well-placed following a deep free kick in the 8th minute.

Despite dominating play Reading found themselves 2 behind in the 10th minute. Demarai Gray picked up the ball inside the Reading half and was unchallenged as he drove into the heart of the Royals Defence. With no challenges pending Gray was able to drive a low finish past Federici from the edge of the area. Reading continued to control the ball and on 18 minutes found themselves back in the game. An Obita cross come shot bounced up for Glenn Murray. He sent a looping header over Randolph into the back of the net. With the deficit reduced the impetuous was with the Royals.

However on 23 minutes, it appeared the game was over. A hopeful Birmingham ball into the box dropped for Jake Cooper. He pushed his clearance straight to the feet of Demarai Gray. Gray pushed the ball past Gunter as he ran into the box and arrowed the ball past Federici into the bottom corner.

The third appeared to knock any confidence or fight out of the Reading team. They continued to move the ball nicely but without enough guile or spirit to really threaten Birmingham. Every time Birmingham came forward you felt the fragile Reading defensive were unable to cope.

As first half display went into added on time the score line got worse for the Royals. Reading conceded possession to Clayton Donaldson in the Birmingham half. Cooper and Kelly were statues as Donaldson ran with the ball to the edge of the Reading area. He knocked the ball to the onrushing Gray, who drove the ball past Federici to seal his hat-trick. The goal was the curtain call for a dire and embarrassing first half.

The second half started as the first finished. In the first minute of the half Andy Shinnie received the ball on the right edge of area. With Jake Cooper standing off the challenge Shinnie was able to turn Cooper inside out before pushing the ball past Federici. Federici didn’t really have any chances with the first 5 goals. With no protection in front of him he was continually exposed. However, he should have done better in the 60th minute. He misjudged a David Cottrell free kick, which with the remaining Reading defence just watching, flew into the corner of the Royals net.

Alex Pearce replaced the disappointing Michael Hector in the 55th minute and Blackman replaced Obita in the 75th minute. With some of the Reading crowd calling for Adkins to be sacked in the morning the substitutions seemed worthless. The game finished to chorus of boos and ‘Adkins out’ from the Reading fans. On this display the views of the Reading fans were certainly justified. To have 65% possession but lose 6-1 against a vulnerable looking Birmingham City is unacceptable.

Reading have the third worst defensive record in the Championship and appear to lack any leadership on the pitch. Defensively the team is not improving under Adkins and if doesn’t leave then he needs to make a change to the coaching staff that will bring fresh ideas. I hear Wally Downes is without a job!
Dave Roberts

This Championship game took place 1314 days ago in the 2014/2015 season.