Reading FC Match Report: 2014/2015 Season - Championship
NOTTM FOREST 4 READING 0
Nottm Forest: M Antonio (17), M Antonio (47), M Fryatt (53), B Assombalonga (64).
Since the appointment of Stuart Pearce you sense that Forest are a club riding a tidal wave of nostalgia. The anticipation of promotion vibrates from the stands resonating all over the City Ground and it was no surprise that a youthful and inexperienced Reading team had a difficult afternoon in a fixture that has proved fruitful for the Royals in recent seasons.
With a crippling injury list continually rising and a squad threadbare of Championship experience Nigel Adkins was forced to field a team that lacked balance or cohesion. A calf injury for Pogrebnyak becoming the latest in an almost comical list of casualties that leaves Reading fans bemused and frustrated.
Cox pushed up front as Pogrebnyak’s replacement with Ryan Edwards filling the attacking midfielder role. After his impressive second half performance against Huddersfield Kuhl started his first league game in place of Akpan. New signing Oliver Norwood started the game from the bench.
As the game started both teams struggled to get control of the match as possession switched frequently. However, there appeared more purpose and intent when Forest moved forward with Federici bravery pulling off a double save from Chris Burke and Andy Reid after 14 minutes.
As has been the case since the last foray into the Premier League with Reading you never feel confident that they are capable of keeping a clean sheet. Such was the case after only 17 minutes. With no pressure on Burke he was allowed an entity to pick out the former Reading player Antonio at the far post. Gunter losing the flight of the ball watched, rooted to the spot, as Antonio sent a looping header back across goal and over the despairing dive of Federici.
It seemed slightly ironic that as Reading struggled to find any width or pace, in particular on the left, that Michail Antonio with his pace and power continually caused issues for the Royals defence. His drive down the pitch in the 19th Minute after another poor Reading corner was only prevented from being destructive by a fine last ditch Pearce tackle.
Reading did start to get a good percentage of possession as the first half progressed but without stretching the Forest defence they were unable to find a penetrative pass or cross. Gunter’s rare expedition into the Forest area in the 26th Minute ended with a potentially dangerous cross driven behind Cox and Taylor.
Obita failed to trouble the keeper with a shot from 25 yards in the 31st minute and Kuhl scuffed a shot wide in the 39th minute when well placed. A cross from Obita in the 40th minute failed to find the outstretched foot of Hector and a Blackman shot rolled into the keeper’s hands in the 42nd minute.
The half-finished with the disappointing and lightweight Edwards pushing a ball to Cox on the right side edge of the area. His driven shot was the blueprint of Cox’s afternoon, poor and frustrating.
The 20 mins after half time will be best forgotten by the Royals supporters but taken as a lesson learnt for the inexperienced Reading team. In the 47th minute Defensive fragilities were exposed again as another cross left a static Royals defence watching as Antonio flicked the ball low in the bottom left corner of the net. His celebration in front of the Reading fans pouring salt on the wound of a pending heavy defeat.
As Forest incessantly drove forward Reading appeared to show the signs of an under 12 Sunday team, downhearted and disconsolate. Antonio turned provider in the 54th minute sending over a pinpoint cross for Fryatt to drive a header from the edge of the six yard box past a despondent Federici.
In the 56th minute Cummings provided some relief to the preceding’s with a purposeful run from the left past three forest defenders that resulted in a corner. The corner was weakly headed wide by Alex Pearce at the far post.
Oliver Norwood replaced the invisible Taylor with Obita moving to his more favourable position on the left. Tanner replacing Edwards soon after. The substitution’s did little to turn the momentum of the match as the £5million Britt Asombalonga smashed home from 4 yards following a goalmouth scramble that Reading seemed intent on not clearing.
Reading’s best chance came in the 70th minute as a good interchange between Cox and Blackman resulting in a corner following a shot from Blackman. As the heaven’s opened and poured rain onto the already miserable 795 Reading fans the game played out with little purpose from either side. Although a fine save from Federici prevented the score from becoming more embarrassing.
Other than Arron Kuhl little positives can be taken from the game as Forest recorded their biggest league win in 18 months. Fingers crossed for the future and a return from injury of the more senior players.
This Championship game took place 1307 days ago in the 2014/2015 season.