News and Views

End Of Season Can't Come Fast Enough

20 April 2016
By Alex Bower

"It's a horrible run at the moment, we just need to get a point or something to get out of this little run. And we've got to keep going... all we can do is dig in and go again on Saturday."
- Reading Manager Brian McDermott

"We got off to a horrible start when we didn't pick up the man but the response from the players was very good. I thought we were a threat and the biggest plus is that we saw an improvement. It was a typical Championship game but thankfully it went our way."
- Hull City Manager Steve Bruce

Reading suffered their fourth successive defeat on Tuesday evening despite initially taking the lead early on through Jake Cooper. A first half goal from Abel Hernandez levelled the score for Hull and a late strike from defender Andrew Robertson was enough for the Tigers to secure all three points. While it was another night to forget for Reading, Hull's victory secured them at least a spot in the play-offs as they look for promotion back into the Premier League.

Brian McDermott made a couple of changes going into the game with Anton Ferdinand coming into defence and Deniss Rakels was handed a start up front alongside Matej Vydra and Simon Cox. With three of Reading's four strikers starting at once, it was one of the more attacking line-ups to be seen at the Madejski this season and one that appeared to work early on.

After just four minutes of the game Reading were to take the lead, but it was not through one of their strikers. Instead it was Oliver Norwood who delivered an inch perfect free kick into the box for Cooper to head into the Hull goal. While it was poorly defended by Hull, it was put away well by the young centre-back. The problem with scoring so early on, however, is that you then have to hold onto the lead for the majority of the game. Despite being the better team for large periods of the first half, Reading could only hold out until the eighteen minute mark.

Hernandez will have been earmarked as a threat prior to the game due to his pace- An asset that was demonstrated with Hull's opening goal. Following a long through ball by Tom Huddlestone, Hernandez outpaced Cooper before slotting home his nineteenth goal of the season through the legs of Ali Al-Habsi.

Hull had the better chances as the first half drew to a close, with Adama Diomande and Huddlestone coming closest to giving the away side the lead. Reading had their chances too, however, when Norwood tested Allan McGregor in the Hull goal and Harry Maguire only narrowly avoided putting the ball into his own net following an attempted clearance by Curtis Davies.

As the second half got under way, there was little to report for either side. That was to change on the hour mark when Rakels appeared to be fouled in the box by Maguire. The referee initially signalled for a penalty but following a discussion with the linesman opted instead for a corner. While the attendance was only 12,949, it was clear that the vast majority were dismayed at the referee's decision and it would appear that perhaps Rakels is already getting himself a reputation.

With continuous decisions not going Reading's way, the players became increasingly determined to try and grab a goal. Yann Kermorgant, on in place of Vydra, was linking up nicely with Rakels and the latter could only find the side netting with his effort. Stephen Quinn, playing against his former club, was also to have an attempt with his cross come shot but it was gathered by McGregor. Kermorgant then had his headed effort saved for the home side and Hernandez failed to give Hull the lead when his shot from the edge of the area was hit directly at Al-Habsi.

Just ten minutes from time, however, Hull were to grab their second goal of the game and ultimately seal the win. After being given far too much space by Garath McCleary, Robertson was able to run at the Reading defence and drill in a long range effort into the bottom corner of Al-Habsi's goal. While Reading's players often lacked the confidence to have an effort on goal, it was something that could not be said of Hull's left back.

Hull could have had the opportunity to increase the score further when substitute Chuba Akpom was fouled on the edge of the Reading area but the referee failed to give the decision once again. Ultimately, just two goals were needed for the away side to secure their comeback victory as they saw out the game. While the overall performance was an improvement on recent times, it was still not enough for Reading to take anything from the game.

Despite wanting to end the season on a high, the Royals are still struggling to make their superiority count. The players are clearly good at keeping possession most of the time, but the strikers are nowhere near clinical enough and the formation at times is not doing them any favours. Nine times out of ten, the Reading players will play the extra pass instead of taking on the shot. The end result is a wasted opportunity and a frustrated fanbase. With so much going against them this season, and refereeing decisions consistently being poor, the Reading players do not appear to have the mental strength to be able to hold onto games especially with nothing left to play for.

It is clear that the problems continue to pile up for Reading; The side have lost their fourth consecutive game in front of their lowest attendance in over twelve years with two players currently out through suspension due to fighting with one another. The fans are clearly not liking what they are seeing on the pitch and the players are struggling to get the results that give the fans something to get enthused about. It has been said for weeks now, but the end of the season could not come around fast enough.


Discussion On This Story:

 Ian Royal

» 20 Apr 2016 09:33

Disappointing result.

I thought we played some extremely good football and were unlucky.

We started brilliantly, carving Hull apart almost at will. Two straight forward goals conceded and it's another good performance marred by loss.

Al-Habsi - perhaps could have done more with the goals. Thought he hesitated a touch coming out for the first.
McCleary - good game, impressed with him at RB better going forward than Gunter, no worse defensively.
Taylor - ok
Cooper - ok, gave the ball away with Long loose passes and i thought should have done more with the first. Good goal.
Ferdinand - classy but immobile
Hector - classy but took too many risks
Norwood - good game in an unusual position for him
Quinn - tireless as ever, lacks a bit of final quality
Cox - good game, very busy, lacks that deadly end product
Rakels - ran hard, looked positive, promising
Vydra - started sublime, tried to over do a couple of things then just gave up in his head. Stopped looking for good runs and the ball early, but kept up some pretence at effort.

Kermorgant - did nothing but flick to no one
John - looked languid and did nothing

I'm positive after that. A fresh statt with some new blood and those sort of performances will see plenty of wins. Lots of good football on display. Plenty of good players. We looked a more cohesice unit. Still not sure about the diamond.


» 20 Apr 2016 09:40

I agree with all you said really. It was yet another game we should have won but those goals were so poor, if that's the standard of Hull this season I would not back them for promotion.

First goal in particular was just terrible quality, long punt upfield that tall defender like Cooper should really be clearing easily, instead it just went over both of them and once Hernandez was past them, they couldn't catch up.

 Top Flight

» 20 Apr 2016 09:41

I don't think the result was that important to either side last night. Hull didn't look like they were desperately in need of a win. They were pretty relaxed and patient. Being 10 points off the top 2 and 9 ahead of 7th before the game meant that a win wasn't needed for Hull.

We did look good in the first few minutes. I couldn't believe it was so easy to open them up. I was surprised Cooper was left unmarked to head home freely in the centre of the box. But you could see that Hull have much better players than us. We are weak in comparison.

I'm not sure that Rakels has the beating of strong Championship defenders. He is a bit like a mosquito that you just bat away. He is a nuisance, but he is not going to cause much harm.

 No Fixed Abode

» 20 Apr 2016 09:43

"We support our local team"



» 20 Apr 2016 09:49

I thought Hull looked extremely flat last night for a team aiming for promotion. Point taken that they're not in any danger of coming 3rd not dropping out of the p/os but they just seemed uninterested tbh.

RFC played pretty well in the first half but really lost their way once Rakkels' penalty claim was reversed. I thought it was a penalty form my position in the North Stand, didn't look like the defender got any ball but who knows.

Please end this season ASAP.

 Top Flight

» 20 Apr 2016 09:52

Yes, they did look flat. Totally. They didn't look like they needed a win, and to be fair, they didn't.


» 20 Apr 2016 09:54

Another game where we played well, created chances, missed those chances and were punished. Hull looked dangerous on the counter, but overall didn't think they we're that great. The team are getting so used to losing that they don't know how to find a way to win and get over the line (similar happened at the back end of last season).

Think Rakels could with a full pre season with the club be a revelation next season.

Cooper again proving that he has a mistake in him every single game (should have followed his man for the 1st goal). The worst bit about this is that its happening so often and he's not learning from it. Think we need to sign a minimum of 2 center backs this summer with the departures of Ferdinand & Hector.

This summer is HUGE and if the club doesn't get it right we are in danger of being in a relegation fight next season.

 Silver Fox

» 20 Apr 2016 09:59

I thought we played ok but gifted them 2 goals and although we got riled by the mystifying penalty non-decision that wore off and the game, like the season, petered out really. Nothing to boo about

 Top Flight

» 20 Apr 2016 10:00

If we stay up next season, that will be a good achievement by Brian McDermott when you consider the absolute monumental challenge that this summer will pose.

I will support the Royals home and away next season and all I want is to stay in the division. A point at Wigan on a Tuesday night in October will be a point well won and a point towards our goal of survival in the 2016/17 season.


» 20 Apr 2016 10:03

indeed, fans voting with their feet, lowest league attendance since 2004.

 Top Flight

» 20 Apr 2016 10:04

Regarding the penalty. My first reaction was that it was not a penalty. I haven't seen any video or replay of the incident, but from my vantage point inside the stadium it looked like a corner and I was surprised when the ref pointed to the spot.

It was a good bit of controversy to liven up the crowd. Apart from the first five minutes, we'd offered Fffk all going forward before that incident anyway. And very little afterwards.

One moment of magic was the excellent Cantona-esque back flick from Yann Kermorgant that put Rakels in for an angled volley that brushed past the side netting.

 Top Flight

» 20 Apr 2016 10:05

indeed, fans voting with their feet, lowest league attendance since 2004.

These are pre-season friendlies now and half the squad will be gone in the summer. So this isn't really our team anymore that we are watching. Why bother?

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