Reading FC Match Report: 2014/2015 Season - Championship


Reading: J Mackie (29), S Cox (55), S Cox (64).
Rotherham: --

This was a very convincing win for the Royals. For the first time this season, Reading’s defence looked secure, and with Cox and Mackie sharing three extremely well taken goals, Reading claimed all three points and a clean sheet for the second home game in succession. Reading may have played better football this season but today they looked completely in control of the game from start to finish. Adkins had taken a lot of flak for dropping Mackie for the Blackburn game, and rightly so as today’s performance demonstrated. Once again Mackie was inspirational. He scored a superb individual goal and created one for Cox.

The opening twenty five minutes were fairly uneventful, but with Anton Ferdinand making his debut and Stephen Kelly returning to the defence Reading dealt comfortably with anything Rotherham had to offer in attack. The energy of Cox, Mackie, Murray and the return of Williams gave Reading an edge over their opponents. It took half an hour for Reading to take the lead. Mackie picked up a loose ball in the box and turned sharply to curl a left footed strike inside the far post.

Reading were now in the ascendency and Norwood found Cox at the far post with deep cross. Cox’s shot was deflected for a corner by ‘keeper Collin. Gunter burst through the Rotherham defence but with a clear sight of goal he lost his nerve and slipped an unnecessary pass to Murray. Between them they contrived to lose the scoring opportunity. Just before half time Mackie again made room for shot which was well saved by Collin at full stretch low to his right. Murray turned the Rotherham centre back Morgan and was clean through before he was hauled down. Morgan received a yellow card but it could easily have been red but for the proximity of covering defenders.

Norwood struck the underside of the bar with the resulting free kick. Rotherham were lucky to only be one goal behind. Ferdinand had made an impressive start. He won the ball in the air consistently and cleanly, was always in the right place, and made good use of the ball when in possession. His presence, alongside Kelly, seemed to have a calming influence on the back four. Unfortunately he picked up another injury and although he struggled on until the interval he had to be replaced by Hector.

Mackie continued to use his strength and skill to hold of defenders and control long passes which kept the pressure on the visitors defence. Cox had a half chance to make it two just after half time but was unable to get his shot away quickly enough. He did not have long to wait for his next chance. Mackie’s persistence carried him to the edge of the box where he slipped a delightful pass to Cox who timed his run behind the defence perfectly and hammered the ball past Collin. Murray took a cross on his chest and controlled it well but although his control was good he was unable to set himself to get his shot away and the chance was lost. With little over fifteen minutes left, Cox received a Norwood pass and took a touch before smashing his second goal past Collin.

Rotherham knew they were beaten. Mackie came close to adding a fourth which Reading probably deserved but his shot flashed just wide. The referee, who had a poor game decided it was time to flash his yellow card unnecessarily as the game drew to a close. He had clearly begun to lose the plot. At one point Reading were awarded a direct free kick outside the box. He allowed the Rotherham wall to line up about seven yards from the ball and did not bother to pace out the customary ten yards or move the wall back. It was all irrelevant, Rotherham had thrown in the towel.

The return of experienced players gave Reading a very different look today. Hopefully Ferdinand’s injury is not too serious because he could make a big difference, not only for his defensive qualities, but also his leadership. With Murray, Mackie and Cox firing on all cylinders, a sold back four and Norwood and Williams prompting in midfield Reading looked a decent team again.
John Wells

This Championship game took place 1861 days ago in the 2014/2015 season.