Reading FC Match Report: 2013/2014 Season - Championship
READING 0 BRIGHTON 0
Some over-zealous refereeing brought an otherwise dull encounter to life midway through the first half when Pogrebnyak theatrically tumbled after an innocuous challenge and received a second yellow to reduce the Royals to ten men. Albion barely had time to press home their advantage before referee Scott flashed a second red card to Ulloa for a dangerously high challenge on Pearce to even things up. He couldn’t get his card out quick enough. The second half produced some better football from both sides, and as the game became stretched, chances arrived. Fortunately for Reading Alex McCarthy was in good form and made sure Reading did not concede for the second successive game and both sides had to settle for a point.
The first half was extremely poor. Brighton dominated possession (61%) but a high proportion of their passes were either backwards or sideways. Reading were also happy to play safe passes across the back but looked less comfortable on the ball throughout the team. Le Fondre must despair at the number of times he is expected to compete for long balls in the air against towering defenders. He was sent clear by a Drenthe clearance early in the game but four Albion defenders quickly denied him the time or space to work an opening. Pogrebnyak, as always, looked too slow to pose any threat to the opposing defence. Reading playing a 4 4 2 formation but without the wide players to make it work failed to create any openings.
The second half was illuminated by a sparkling example of attacking play from left back by Wayne Bridge having replaced Kelly at half time. It was pity there was nobody capable of converting his crosses into a much needed goal. Robson-Kanu also came on and caught the eye with some good touches playing behind Le Fondre. For a while the Royals mounted pressure on the visitors defence with Gunther and Bridge pushing forward down the flanks. Karacan and Guthrie worked hard but their passing lacked penetration. I am not sure where Williams was playing but he had little impact. Karacan tested Kuszczak with a couple of strikes and Pearce managed a fairly tame shot on target which the Albion ‘keeper almost spilled.
Brighton had their spells of pressure too and Lua Lua looked the most likely player to create a goal. McCarthy had to make good saves from substitute Barnes (twice) and Calderon. The Reading defence looked vulnerable on the flanks. Pearce and Morrison may be slow but they defended well when it mattered. The referee produced fewer cards in the second half and the game petered out to the inevitable draw. I think Albion were understandably more satisfied with the result than the home side. As for Reading, there was little to suggest serious challenge for promotion at this stage. Their passing and movement was laboured and predictable and lacked any kind of spark, but with only one defeat, they are remarkably only just outside the play off positions. Brian McDermott will be looking forward to Wednesday for many reasons.
This Championship game took place 1916 days ago in the 2013/2014 season.