Reading FC Match Report: 2014/2015 Season - Championship


Reading: --
Brentford: A Judge (7), J Tarkowski (65).

Reading’s final home game of the season ended in defeat at the hands of a Brentford side with an outside chance of reaching the play-offs. Having conceded a sloppy goal early in the game the Royals huffed and puffed but once again could not convert any of their numerous chances in goals. To make matters worse the visitors added a second goal from a routine set piece midway through the second half. Reading have now only won one of their last nine home league games scoring a mere three goals whilst conceding twelve.

In spite a recent of poor results at home, the recent memory of a stirring performance at Wembley and confirmed Championship status generated a positive mood at the Madjeski. A large contingent of Brentford fans helped to create a good atmosphere with both sets of fans in good voice. The latest experiment with personnel saw Reading line up in a 4-1-4-1 with Norwood returning to play in front of the back four and Robson-Kanu as a lone striker. Reading started brightly creating at least half a dozen clear chances in the opening fifteen minutes. McCleary shot straight at Button. Chalobah glanced a header just wide and struck a shot over without any conviction. Robson-Kanu swung his leg at a cross and missed the ball completely, and when the ball fell to McCleary he lashed his shot over the bar with his weaker left foot. In the middle of all this action Brentford worked their way up field and were allowed to cross to the near post where Judge outwitted Hector to score from close range. Undeterred Reading pressed forward urged on by the home fans. A good ball found Mackie cutting in from the right with a clear sight of goal but, in going for power, lost accuracy and sliced his shot wide. With hindsight he might have played the ball across the goal, but Mackie is always direct and positive and not blighted with his colleagues’ reluctance to shoot.

The game became tedious and scrappy as Brentford tried to slow the game down with some absurdly blatant time-wasting for which Button was finally booked. Hector continued his run of good form looking very composed on the ball and winning the ball with relative ease, but this did not help Reading to find the elusive equaliser.

Brentford came out in more positive mood for the second half and put Reading on the back foot. Gray went past Pearce and Hector through the middle and it required a good save with his feet by Federici to keep Reading in the game. Chalobah poked the ball in a minute later but everyone knew it was offside. With so much swapping around between Mackie and McCleary the attack often lacked width and Gunter found himself alone wide on the right. He produced a good cross on the hour but it was well defended as Robson-Kanu stretched to meet it. Bretford were much sharper in the attacking third with and Reading’ defending was desperate at times resulting both Obita and McCleary receiving a yellow card for crudely grabbing their man as they were left trailing in their wake. From the resulting free form McCleary’s foul Reading were punished with a second Brentford goal. A good ball knocked in was poorly defended and Tarkowski headed past Federici. Cox and Stacey replaced McCleary and Chalobah. Both had chances to score. Stacey’s heavy touch saw the ball run away from him and Cox dispossessed a Brentford centre back but hit his shot straight at Button. It seemed unlikely Reading were going to end their dismal run of scoreless games. In fact if could have been far worse as Toral’s shot was touched onto the post by Federici and a final save from Judge in stoppage time.

It was too much for the majority of Reading fans who had left long before Federici came out to receive his well-deserved Player of the Season award and see the team lap the pitch with their youngsters to thank everyone for their loyal support. I suppose the few that remained deserved their thanks and may well be the few likely to immediately renew their season tickets.

It has not been a good season for a squad which has clearly under-achieved. Brentford providing an excellent example of what can be achieved with relatively limited resources in their first season back in the Championship. There have been far too many changes this season. Adkins did not know what he was doing and Steve Clarke has spent half the season trying (unsuccessfully) to find the best permutation of his squad. The inability for Robson-Kanu to fulfil a role he clearly is not suited to this afternoon underlines the desperate need for a genuine goalscorer to give the team a chance of winning games. There will probably be several changes this summer. Surely things can only get better.
John Wells

This Championship game took place 1060 days ago in the 2014/2015 season.