News and Views
Clarke's First Game Ends In Defeat
20 December 2014
By Hob Nob Anyone?
Steve Clarke's first game in charge of the Royals ended in a disappointing defeat as Watford won 0-1 at the Madejski Stadium. The visitors were reduced to ten men just before half time and the teams went in level after the first 45 minutes produced no goals. However, despite hopes that Reading could take advantage of the extra man, it was Watford that picked up the win thanks to a goal with twenty minutes left to play.
Clarke had less than a week to work out his plan for this match after Adkins left on Monday and Clarke was appointed less than 24 hours later. However, despite the limited time available to him Clarke shuffled the team around. Alex Pearce was back in defence, and was named team captain to the expense of Chris Gunter who went on to have a good game. Cooper was back on the bench and only came on at the end to play a late role as centre forward as Reading tried desperate measures to try and force the equaliser. Obita found himself back at left back and the changes felt mostly postive.
On another day Reading might have got something out of the game after having chances to score. The Royals had far more shots than Watford and also enjoyed far more possession and more corners. Reading were let down by some poor finishing as they rarely tested the Watford goalkeeper. Blackman and Murray both should have scored in the second half. Blackman missed from very close range after he failed to get on a fast low cross. Murray might have done better from a tight angle but his shot across the keeper was narrowly wide of the far post.
Despite the defeat, and the short time since Adkins departure, things did feel different. There were times when Reading returned to the Adkins style of football but the new manager seems certain to bring further change after the dust settles.
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