Reading FC Match Report: 2015/2016 Season - Championship


Reading: --
QPR: N Onuoha (90).

Sir John Madejski received a deserved generous round of applause before kick-off to mark his twenty-five years at the club. It was pity his team were unable to rise to the occasion. The Royals capped a mediocre performance by conceding a soft goal in the last minute to surrender all three points. Having failed to muster a single shot on target throughout the entire game Reading looked to have defended well enough to hang on for a point but Onuoha was left unmarked at the back post for a corner. Although there was little power in the header, Al Habsi unaccountably allowed the ball to squirm past him on the line. Reading’s away form has been poor recently and with this home defeat they find themselves drifting down the table and further away from the play-off positions.

Reading as expected took the initiative in the first half and put the Ranger back four under pressure especially down the right flank. Rangers, in typical Warnock style, were not too fussy about how they dealt with the threat posed by McCleary. (He was fouled four times in the opening quarter of the match.) Rangers offered little in attack but they worked hard in midfield and allowed Reading very time and space on the ball. Ferdinand came in for the injured McShane and looked very secure and composed at the heart of the defence. Hector had one of his mixed games. He dealt swiftly with danger when required, but horrendously miscued some clearances. He also had two decent chances to put Reading ahead. Following one of the many fouls on McCleary, Norwood curled in a delightful free kick to the far post but having got to the ball ahead of his marker headed the ball back and wide of the goal. He had a cleared sight of goal from a corner in the second half but got slightly underneath it and his attempt flew just over.

The 4 4 2 formation seemed a good option but it ultimately did not work. Blackman and Vydra up front did not work. Vydra had a frustrating evening taking up good positions and making well timed runs behind the Rangers back four but the required pass was either poorly weighted, inaccurate, or simply did not arrive. Blackman has now gone seven games without scoring now, and although he showed flashes of skill and hit the bar with well struck free kick in the second half, he was not as effective as he has been earlier in the season when he played out wide. Neither he nor Vydra can provide a focal point for the attack in the way Sa does. McCleary having tormented the Rangers defence in the first half drifted out of the game after half time. Williams charged around in midfield but his touch is often too heavy and his timing of a pass often leaves a lot to be desired.

Reading kept their shape defensively throughout but going forward there were far too many ‘nearly good’ passes. Collectively there was lack of awareness and a lack of intelligent movement, but above all, a lack of quality in the passing. The return of Tshibola and Quinn will address some of those issues but that will not be in the immediate future. Robson-Kanu made a welcome return from injury coming on for the last twenty minutes and was presented with one of Reading’s best scoring opportunities but sadly he dragged his shot wide. Sa and John came on for the last ten minutes but the game was slipping away from Reading by then. The lack of cohesion in the second half resulted in Rangers gradually taking control, and although it was an error from Al Habsi that led to their downfall, Reading had surrendered the initiative in the final phase of the game as they did in the last home game, a narrow victory over bottom team Bolton. Steve Clarke has a lot of work to do over the next few games to keep his team in touch with the top six.
John Wells

This Championship game took place 1714 days ago in the 2015/2016 season.