Reading FC Match Report: 2014/2015 Season - Championship


Reading: S Cox (79)
Huddersfield: J Butterfield (10), H Bunn (38)

With just over ten minutes to go Simon Cox made space for a strike on goal and hammered the ball past Huddersfield ‘keeper Smithies to prompt a late Reading revival. As the Royals threw caution to the wind, Pearce pushed forward and came close to equalising with a speculative lob which bounced on top of the crossbar with Smithies beaten. Unfortunately, Reading’s late charge, sparked by the second half substitutions of Kuhl, Mackie and Tanner who replace Cummings, Blackman and Taylor respectively, did not deliver the crucial second goal.

The home crowd was subdued from the start which reflected a dire first half in which Reading dominated possession (72% apparently) without threatening to score, and conceded two very sloppy goals. To say Reading were tentative is an understatement. Their passing was predominantly sideways and backwards and no doubt Huddersfield were perfectly happy with that. The laborious build up from the back cost the first goal. In an attempt to retain possession Hector played a short pass just outside the box and Butterfield nipped to dispossess Akpan before going on to beat an exposed Federici with a well placed shot. Both players were equally culpable. Hector’s pass selection was poor, and Akpan’s body position was all wrong. Had he been half turned whilst waiting to receive the ball, he would have seen Butterfield coming and been more likely to retain possession, albeit under pressure. Bunn’s goal was even worse defensively as Gunther was simply out-muscled by Bunn who also finished well. By half time all Reading had to show for their domination of possession was a dreadful effort high and wide from Blackman, and a blocked shot from Hector.

With nothing to lose Adkins reshuffled his meagre resources at the interval giving Kuhl his first taste of Championship football by moving Obita to left back at the expense of Cummings. Kuhl looked very on the ball although, like Obita, played mainly very deep. His first significant contribution was to put a cross over for Cox, but due the angle of delivery it was difficult for Cox to get any power or direction on the header. A lack of leadership on the pitch has been a problem for some time now but Mackie provided that quality. His is sense of urgency and aggression began to rub off on others, notably Tanner who showed some promising touches in spite of looking a bit raw. Obita ironically had more impact in attack playing at full back in the second half, which surely is currently his best position.

I know time-wasting has become part of the game but Huddersfield took it to an unacceptable extreme (hence the bookings of Coady and Smithies). It was a fitting punishment that Cox’s goal came whilst Town were reduced to ten men due to Bunn’s pathetic antics, feigning injury, in the Reading penalty area in an attempt to hold up play.

Adkins has tough job on his hands at the moment juggling a squad containing a number of promising but inexperienced players. Taylor and Blackman might have more impact if they were switched to allow them to go outside and cross with their stronger foot. Maybe a swap might be worth considering. It was also puzzling that Edwards was not used after such a positive appearance as substitute on Saturday. The Scunthorpe fixture provides an ideal opportunity for further experimentation between two very tough away league matches. The small squad will be stretched even more next week.
John Wells

This Championship game took place 1310 days ago in the 2014/2015 season.