Reading FC Match Report: 2020/2021 Season - Championship


Reading: L Joao (pen 24)
Brentford: J Dasilva (36), J Dasilva (86), I Toney (88)

This evening I strongly suspect we saw Reading lose to a team destined to take one of the automatic promotion places this season. Reading matched Brentford in every department for forty-five minutes with an impressive all round display. There was little to choose between the teams as the score line reflected. Joao converted a penalty and Dasilva scored an outstanding equaliser. The second half was a different story. Reading unable to maintain the effective pressing game of the first half and the pace and power of Brentford up front looked more menacing as the game progressed. Mistakes and poor decision - making began to creep into Reading's play and their passing lost its fluency going forward. Goals from Dasilva and Toney in the last four minutes gave Brentford a deserved win with but a slightly flattering margin of victory.

Reading should take heart from their first half performance. They closed Brentford down quickly and were positive in possession, driving forward and creating more chances than their opponents. Laurent was tripped as he shaped to shoot inside the box and Joao, having missed his previous two penalties, converted the spot-kick, but it was far from convincing. The kick was well placed and sufficient power to beat Raya but only just. The Brentford got a hand to it as it found its way into the net. At that stage Reading deserved to be ahead. Brentford came at Reading in a way you would expect from a side of their quality but they found Reading in no mood to sit back. With Richards and Yiadom pushing forward down the flanks and Olise pulling the strings in midfield Reading were just as likely to score as concede. Unfortunately for Reading it was the latter.

Ten minutes before half time Dasilva cut inside from the right and curled in an exceptionally good strike to level the scores. Reading undeterred might have scored twice before half time. Jooa’s header from Yiadom’s superb first time cross was tipped over by Raya. Then a minute before half time Laurent drove through the centre of the Brentford defence, exchanged passes with Joao, beat a man in the box, and although slightly off balance, struck powerful shot at Raya to which the Brentford ‘keeper reacted well to push away for Rico Henry to clear for a corner. Brentford were probably happy to reach half time on level terms.

Reading lacked the intensity of the first half when play resumed and as the game wore on Brentford were getting a tighter grip at the back and in midfield. Olise cut inside and saw his shot deflected wide and Yiadom has a sight of goal but his touch let him down. The pace of the game did not let up and it seemed something had to give. Reading’s defending was becoming slightly more deperate but they hung on. Brentford were more direct going forward and the crucial breakthrough came four minutes from time. Toney lurking at the far post chested down a deep cross for Dasilva to blast past Raphael from close range. It felt like it was on the cards but disappointing nevertheless when Reading were so close to taking a point from a very good contest. The game dissolved into chaos in the final minutes and Reading’s defence lost its discipline. Toney added to his season’s impressive tally with a tap in after a shot from outside the box from substitute Canos was spilled by Raphael.

Reading may have lost but there was enough in this performance to suggest the play-offs is a very realistic expectation. There were so many positive features and it was interesting to see how the inclusion of Samedo gave Reading more control in the centre of midfield and allowed Laurent of get forward more often. The absence of Miete emphasised the need for another striker to support Joao. Also Miete’s presence always makes Reading more a more dangerous counter attacking proposition. There are no easy games in this league but few are as difficult as this one.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 223 days ago in the 2020/2021 season.