Reading FC Match Report: 2016/2017 Season - Championship


READING 1 WIGAN 0

Reading: Y Kermorgant (6).
Wigan: --

Yann Kermorgant continued his current remarkable form scoring the only goal of a scrappy game to secure a play-off place for the Royals. Ultimately it made little difference with Leeds failing to overcome Norwich at home guaranteeing Reading's progress in to the play-offs. Regardless of the outcome of the final phase of the season, a top six finish is an outstanding achievement for Jaap Stam and his squad in what was considered to be a transitional period against a background of uncertainty of the ownership of the club.

Reading hit the ground running and in spite of Wigan’s attempts to press high up the pitch, put the visitors under early pressure. McCleary looked particularly sharp in the opening minutes firing in two shots and delivering two superb crosses, the second of which was converted by Kermorgant beating Gilks with the sheer power of his header. So dominant were Reading in the opening phase of the game a comfortable win seemed on the cards. Wigan responded well but in the twelfth minute Evans lunged into a fifty–fifty challenge with MacDonald on the half way line. The sickening crack on impact followed by an agonised yell from MacDonald indicated it was a serious injury. Play was held up for ten minutes whilst MacDonald received treatment and Evans a yellow card. There was clearly no malice in the challenge from Evans. The incident disrupted the pattern of the game and players and fans alike were noticeably subdued for some time.

Both sides had openings but neither ‘keeper were really tested for the remainder of the half. Reading were mixing up their range of passing. Evans hit a glorious long diagonal ball which Beerens controlled magnificently, wide on the left, his touch taking him past the full back but he was unable to create anything after his brilliant work. Wigan looked dangerous on the break. Al Habsi saving from a Powell diving header. On more than one occasion Reading allowed Wigan players to get free in the box and it took an excellent sliding challenge by Evans to snuff out a dangerous attack in stoppage time. McCleary’s recurring injury prevented him from completing the first half leaving Grabban to take over on the right.

Referee Robinson began flashing yellow cards in Reading’s direction with Moore, Kelly, Gunter and Williams joining Evans in the book some of which were harsh to say the least. Ilori had an impressive fifteen minutes replacing Evans and Williams replaced Swift (who had worked harder than usual today) to freshen up midfield. Kelly, Grabban and particularly Blackett presented Wigan with possession in dangerous areas by dwelling too long on the ball as Wigan made an effort to keep their season alive with some enterprising forays into the Reading half. Eventually they lost heart and the game fizzled out into a formality of a home win.

With their play-off place secured the ‘lap of appreciation’ had a bit more relevance than it did last season and everyone went home happy to speculate with some optimism on who Reading will be paired with in the next step towards the Premier League. The way this season has gone for Reading anything is possible.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 229 days ago in the 2016/2017 season.