News and Views
Victory Over Blackburn - Match Review
06 April 2017
By Alex Bower
Reading FC built upon their 1-0 win against Leeds at the weekend with a 3-1 victory against relegation candidates Blackburn Rovers.
Yann Kermorgant picked up a brace in the opening half hour, with the Reading target man heading both past Jason Steele in the Blackburn goal.
Elliott Bennett threatened to mount a second-half comeback for the away side thanks to his well taken volley but Garath McCleary put the result beyond any doubt only minutes later.
Here are some of the things to come out of the game:
Yann The Man
Yann Kermorgant has seemingly had plenty to say in recent times - first his "mind games" prior to the Leeds game where he spoke out about their over-reliance on Chris Wood then his retirement announcement.
Luckily for Reading, he has also had plenty to say out on the pitch - so much so he can be considered a vital member of the squad in the lead up to a critical period. If the Blackburn game showed anything it was what can happen when his teammates can deliver a decent ball into the box once in a while.
Swift Back To His Best
There was a concerning period after his injury when John Swift did not look like the player he was earlier in the season. The England U21 International has been a very important player for the Royals this year and has subsequently secured a place in the fans' hearts.
Thankfully for said fans, the midfielder seems to be back to his best at the opportune moment.
Still Room To Improve
No one can deny that Reading have been performing well above expectations this season. While that is the case, there were still some improvements that could have been made on Tuesday evening.
Blackburn Rovers are currently in the bottom three and largely performed like a team facing relegation. That said, rather than putting the game beyond any doubt, Reading let them back into the match and offered them far too many chances in front of goal.
Certain individuals also performed well below their capabilities - Jordon Mutch looked lost for large parts of the first half while even Garath McCleary had to laugh at his comical finishing (goal aside).
Whether it was due to the team changes prior to the game, substitutions during it or just a lack of concentration following a vital win against Leeds, there were some creases that will need ironing out for the last few fixtures.
One of the many positives to take away from Tuesday's game is that Reading suddenly have options in the centre-back position again.
Jaap Stam opted with the ever-consistent Liam Moore and partnered him with Reece Oxford due to the injury to Paul McShane. While the absence of the Irishman is not ideal, Oxford looks like the real deal already. Another positive is the return of Tiago Ilori, who will be hoping to remain in the team until the end of the season.
As the games keep coming, having potentially too many defensive options can only be a good thing for the Royals.
It's something that gets brought up time and time again but is a consistent issue at the Madejski Stadium - attendances.
The Leeds fixture understandably attracted a bumper crowd at the weekend. Not so many fans turned out, however, against Blackburn - 15,353 to be precise. Weekday fixtures do always tend to have smaller attendances but in a season that could potentially result in promotion, the team continue to deserve better.
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