Reading FC Match Report: 2021/2022 Season - Championship


READING 1 BARNSLEY 0

Reading: J Swift (77)
Barnsley: --

A brilliant solo goal from John Swift after seventy-seven minutes secured another win for a below par Reading in a match which looked to be drifting towards a goalless draw. A now fully fit Scott Dann was the unlikely provider of the assist of which Swift took full advantage. Controlling the ball on his chest a making a direct run at the Barnsley goal, Swift waltzed through the Barnsley defence and past Barnsley 'keeper Collins, before clinically drilling the ball past Helik on the line. The goal provided the only real moment of real quality in game of erratic passing and poor finishing from both sides. From a Reading perspective nobody will be concerned about the performance after making it five wins out of six taking the Royals to within one point of the top six.

The statistics tell the story of the game, with Barnsley, near the foot of the table and with only one win this season, dominating possession, producing more shots at goal and on target, and winning more corners. Looking shaky in the early stages, Barnsley grew in confidence as Reading were strangely sluggish and stale in spite of the international break. They were sloppy in their passing, lacked intensity in their play generally, and allowed Barnsley a lot of time space to pass the ball through midfield.

Reading produced only brief flashes of their recent good form with a couple of passages of crisp one touch passing, but were guilty of delaying crosses and poor decision making around the box. Ejaria was the main culprit running into trouble, holding onto the ball too long, and conceding possession. He has had a tendency to do that in the past. It was not helped by having the anonymous Puscas offering little movement up front which was even more noticeable by the contrast when he was replaced by Azeez in the second half. Azeez made some good runs and put pressure on the Barnsley defence.

Barnsley created more chances in the first half and the ever reliable Southwood pulled off a couple of good saves from Gomes and Woodrow. Yiadom, full of drive and energy on the right, got behind the Barnsley defence but his cross was cut out. The quality of Reading’s crossing generally left a lot to be desired. Laurent was uncharacteristically careless with his passing and Drinkwater was slightly out of sorts.

Barnsley buoyed by their first half performance came flying out of the blocks after the break pinning Reading in their own half for the opening ten minutes. Brittain smacked a volley against the post as Reading suddenly looked vulnerable and likely to fall behind. Gradually Reading eased their way in to the game and when Puscas was replaced by Azeez they should have taken the lead. Swift pounced on a stray pass to release the young striker for a one on one opportunity with Collins. Unfortunately Azeez tried to cut inside and delayed his shot which was ultimately blocked. It was a good chance wasted.

As full time approached Reading began to take control of the game. Scott Dann and Moore were dominant at the back and Baba Rahman looked classy going forward down the left coming close to giving Reading the lead. His excellent long range strike was turned round the post by the outstretched hand of Collins. Ejaria continued to frustrate by failing to get his head up and conceding possession. Then out of the blue Dann pinged a gem of a pass out to Swift wide on the left, and with Swift in his current form it was game over.

The match ended with Luke Southwood capped another authoritative performance demonstrating his ability to dominate his box by coming out to catch a free kick launched forward in Barnsley’s last desperate attack. Reading’s passing flair deserted them today, but for their back four and their young ‘keeper, it was business as usual.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 44 days ago in the 2021/2022 season.