Reading FC Match Report: 2013/2014 Season - Championship
READING 7 BOLTON 1
Reading: A Le Fondre (12), A Le Fondre (28), A Le Fondre (33), P Pogrebnyak (pen 41), K Gorkss (60), H Akpan (74), N Blackman (78)
Bolton: D Ngog (88).
A twenty-one minute first half hat-trick from Adam Le Fondre sparked a seven goal demolition of a very ordinary Bolton side. Bolton did not perform well, but it was the devastating finishing of Le Fondre and Reading’s pace and power which left them demoralised before Pogrebnyak’s spot kick put the result beyond doubt after forty-one minutes.
The rout began after twelve minutes. Le Fondre anticipated McCleary’s ball into the penalty area raced across the covering defender and lashed the ball past Lonergan before he could react. The Reading central pairing did not look entirely comfortable in the opening phase of the game and it took a magnificent save from McCarthy to prevent Bolton from equalising three minutes later. With Akpan and Williams dominating central midfield and Gunther getting forward down the right with a real sense of purpose, Reading pinned Bolton in their own half. Le Fondre’s second goal was a classic example of forward play. Pogrebnyak’s well-timed leap and header sent Le Fondre clear of a static Bolton defence, and although his touch was a bit heavy, his finish was superb, and the ball nestled in the far corner beyond the reach of Lonergan. Le Fondre does have pace, but it was speed of thought and the ability to anticipate which took him clear of the defence. His hat-trick came courtesy of the outstanding midfield play and unselfishness of Mc Cleary. Having won the ball from a hesitant defender on the half way line he ran on, drew the ‘keeper and rolled the ball sideways to an unmarked Le Fondre to tap in to an unguarded net. Eight minutes later Le Fondre was equally unselfish handing the ball to Pogrebnyak after the referee had somewhat harshly awarded a penalty for hand ball. The big Russian stroked the ball home confidently. It was goal his performance deserved.
There was not letting up in the second half as Reading began to play without any inhibitions, passing and moving in a way unseen so far this season. First time passing and fluid movement left Bolton mesmerised on several occasions. The best move of the game went unrewarded. Obita, growing in confidence, went on a run which took him past two defenders and dug out a delightful deep cross which Pogregnyak headed back for Le Fondre to volley just over the bar. On sixty minutes Reading won possession deep in their own half, and broke forward quickly. It was a truly remarkable sight as eight Reading players swarmed over the half way line to force a corner. Gorkss stabbed in the fifth goal as Bolton failed to clear. Success went to his head as moments later he spun and turned past a surprised Bolton player on the touchline. It really was party time!
Substitutions were made as Taylor, Hector and Blackman were allowed to join in the fun. Akpan turned and blasted the sixth after seventy-four minutes to round off an excellent performance. Blackman came on and took a few minutes to settle in before taking full advantage of yet another decisive touch from Pogrebnyak to beat Lonergan for the seventh time with a powerful, but deflected shot. The game was drifting towards its inevitable conclusion when sloppy play allowed Ngog to snatch a late consolation goal on eighty eight minutes.
In my Wigan match report I concluded ‘…a more direct approach might pay dividends as it clearly did in the second half today…’ It is apparent from today’s game Nigel Adkins has also reached the same conclusion. Whatever has happened on the training ground in recent weeks has worked. Also Guthrie’s absence due to injury may be a blessing in disguise. Without him the ball moved quicker through midfield and players in wide positions saw more of the ball. I am sure there will be times when he will be needed to keep the ball and slow things down, but after today’s performance it would be unwise to drop Akpan to make room for him in the starting eleven.
This Championship game took place 1524 days ago in the 2013/2014 season.