Four away league games, four defeats.
In fact just increase both those figures by one to include the Coca-cola cup! It's a bit shit really, but then I hardly needed to tell you that. I don't know about anyone else but the starting line up was a bit of a mystery to me. Reading started the game with no less than seven (yes! 7!) changes to the team that got stuffed at West Brom on Tuesday night. Perhaps the team did need shaking up a bit to try and find improvements. However, what it seemed to result in was a team not used to working together looking a complete shambles for the first 20 minutes of the game. Mihaylov made a return from another of his little injuries to replace Hammond in goal. Bernal was out suspended (the usual), and with Wdowczyk either injured or just not very popular with Jimmy Quinn, it produced a new look defence. Bodin and on-loan Brown as the full backs and Macca and Hunter playing together for the first time in the middle. Reading played the now usual 4-4-2 formation. Up front Quinn thought he'd prefer himself to Nogan. Williams didn't even appear on the bench? Bugger, is he injured too? And Gooding for that matter sat on the bench to do his managers bit. Caskey still not good enough to start a game then?
Charlton started strongly, while Reading looked like they would leak several goals before making any recovery attempt. Charlton took the lead after 5 minutes. The Charlton man beat Brown, just shrugging him off, before unleashing a mighty shot past Bobby. 0-1.
With 10 minutes gone it could have been 0-2 as Reading were forced to clear the ball off the line in some desperate defending. A couple of minutes later Bobby was forced to cover for a hole in the defence by legging out of his area to clear. Then again Charlton were unlucky not to score when they won a free kick. The ball came through a crowd of players and Bobby got down well to his right to make the save. Reading's early attempts were limited to Macca getting a booking and Holsgrove almost hitting the corner flag with a free kick.
Reading got their first decent chance to equalise, against the run of constant Charlton pressure, on about 20 minutes. Gilkes played a good low cross in across the face of goal and Quinn totally missed it. Meanwhile Morley got his first touch of the ball. Shortly after Quinn got a good header in from a Gilkes corner. Morley got his first real chance when the keeper hoofed it out of the area and into Trevor - the ball bouncing wide of the post. Just before half time Reading could have made the scores level - with another Quinn and Gilkes combination. This time Quinn played the ball to Gilkes, legging it through, but Gilkes' shot let him down as the ball spun wide. But it was Charlton who went in for the break on top with another chance to increase their lead, there was a scramble on the Reading post and Bobby was forced to tip a shot over the bar. 0-1 at half time.
The Royals made a far better start to the second half coming forward and creating a few chances at last. Gilkes made another good run and once again his final touch was crap. After about 55 minutes came one of Reading's best moves. Parkie knocked the ball into the air Quinn knocked it with his head to Morley, Morley put in the shot. But no success. Bodin put over a couple of decentish crosses, and blasted a free kick at the keeper, but Reading continued to lack real penetration. It was down the other end that it looked more likely to go in with Bobby in top form again getting down on his line to make a save.
Reading's subs seemed to make a fair bit of sense. Parkie went off to be replaced with Caskey, and Nogan swapped with Morley. Morley had been pretty ineffective, having said that so had Quinny.
With the game drawing to a close Reading started looking determined for the first time in their attempts to grab a last ditch equaliser. Nogan tried a lob of the keeper but didn't hit it high enough - the keeper making an easy catch. A Meaker corner resulted in the Charlton keeper grabbing the ball on the goal line. But it was too little too late! Brown picked up a yellow for his troubles and that was that.
So a poor performance really. Meaker had an OK game, and Gilkes looked dangerous for small patches but couldn't hit it when it came to it. Reading's man of the match was the Bulgarian - he made some great saves and helped to keep the score down, particually during the first 20 minutes of the game. Reading didn't create enough changes though. The attack was pathetic. Quinn did nothing although he also lacked any kind of supply. The defence got ripped to bits on the wings with Brown and Bodin looking ineffective. Sell the whole team and then Madejski can buy a few theatres or something.