Reading FC Match Report: 2020/2021 Season - Championship
MIDDLESBRO 0 READING 0
Teams managed by Neil Warnock are rarely renowned for their creativity and expansive attacking football and today's trip north to take on Middlesbrough was no exception. What little flair surfaced from this dour struggle came from a very composed and confident Reading team strengthened by the return of Joao and Ejaria. Attempts on goal were few and far between, Reading having the distinction of officially registering one shot on target as opposed to Boro' who failed to manage even one in the entire ninety minutes.
Early in the game Raphael was forced to concede a couple of corners pushing a deflected shot over the bar and similarly a mistimed Morrison headed clearance. Boro' allowed Reading to play out from the back. A tame effort from Olise after an impressive piece of individual skill had given him the time and space to get his shot away inside the box. A clever free kick presented Laurent with Reading's best chance of the first half but in acres of space on the edge of the box his lack of composure resulted in a woefully high and wide strike on goal.
The scowling Warnock made some tactical changes at half time and the balance of play shifted slightly towards Boro' although Reading still saw more of the ball. The quality of play deteriorated significantly after the interval. Boro pressed higher and Reading accordingly increased the percentage of long balls played up to Joao and Meite. With play constantly disrupted by steady stream of free kicks (there were thirty-eight in total shared equally between the teams) it was impossible for either side to find any kind of rhythm.
Reading raised their game near the end freshened by the introduction of new signing Sameda, Aluko and Puscas and looked more likely and interested in creating the winning goal. Ejaria had a decent strike, after he combined neatly with Olise and Rinomhota, which flew narrowly wide of the post, and then sent another whistling past the other upright after creating some space for himself just outside the box. As he tired, Ejaria began to overplay and lose possession. Sameda in his brief appearance exudes quality in his touch, movement and passing. I suspect someone will be forced drop to the bench to make way for him in the starting eleven. Aluko will also be eyeing a place in the starting eleven.
There was a certain inevitability about the outcome of the contest as full time approached but a point away from home and an extended unbeaten run maintains Reading’s promising start to the season. Again they looked composed, well organised, and clearly have the potential to score goals, but sadly today could not find the moment of quality in the final third to take all three points.
This Championship game took place 135 days ago in the 2020/2021 season.