Reading FC Match Report: 2013/2014 Season - Championship


Reading: G McCleary (62 mins).
QPR: J Barton (78 mins).

After a disastrous away performance last week The Royals bounced back to take a point from a very strong Rangers side, and probably just about deserved to win. It took well struck Joey Barton free-lick to salvage a point after Reading had taken the lead with a magnificent long range strike form Garath McCleary early in the second half. The Rangers side, made up largely of experienced Premier League players, initially threatened to overrun the Royals, but having survived the opening onslaught, they more than matched their affluent opponents.

In the opening five minutes Hoilett hit the bar, and MCCarthy saved twice from the prolific Charlie Austin. As the game settled down Reading were able to get behind the Rangers’ back four in wide positions. Obita nutmegged his full back and appealed in vain for a penalty as his path was blocked. It was a similar pattern at the other end with Gunther and Kelly struggling at times with the pace and skill of the Rangers forwards. Reading’s passing from the back and through midfield was penetrating the Rangers defence. A superb ball from Morrison put Mc Cleary through on the right. Ronson-Kanu scrapped for the cross and Pogrebnyak managed to get a toe to the ball and prodded it just wide. Pogrebynak was again Reading’s best player holding the ball up well and putting Hill and Dunne under pressure when they tried to play their way out of defence. McCarthy’s distribution was poor all afternoon and he had to produce a brilliant save low to his left having presented Rangers with possession from his clearance. Reading opened up the visitors defence again just before half time but Guthrie, having completely wrong-footed the defence with a quick turn, saw his teasing cross headed away.

Rangers pressed Reading in the opening phase of the second half but Reading defended well. Obita covered a lot of ground tracking back, which was just as well with Kelly pushing forward and getting caught out of position. Guthrie was gifted possession on the edge of the box but, given a clear sight of goal, declined the opportunity to shoot. It was an absorbing game and finely balanced. Early in the first half McCleary had cut in side and made room for a shot with his left foot and saw his effort fly high and wide. On sixty-one minutes he tried the other foot with devastating effect. From at least twenty-five yards he lashed the ball past Green’s right hand and the ball flew into the net off the post. The home fans had already begun to sense a victory and the goal raised the volume and their expectation. Pogrebnyak was inspirational running at defenders and laying off superb passes. The referee did his best to subdue him by giving him a yellow card for a strong but fair challenge. The turning point came with around twenty minutes to go. Pogrebnyak released Robson-Kanu with deft touch who in turn supplied Obita with a clear run on goal. Green saved with his legs as he fell the wrong way to foil his attempt. A gola then would have surely sealed the win. A couple of minutes later a dubious free-kick was awarded on the edge of the Reading box and Barton curled the ball past McCarthy for an undeserved equaliser.

Adkins made three substitutions in the last minute of normal time, but even with five minutes of stoppage time there was not enough time for them to make an impact. I think the timing of the goals affected the decisions about substitutions and I think Adkins was right not to change what was working so well. I suspect in the end both sides were happy with a point. Apart from McCarthy’s distribution and the timing of Gunther’s throw-ins, when Reading frequently lost possession Reading played well. Gorkss, returning to the side after a long absence, seized his opportunity with a faultless game in the centre of defence. His experience also may have had a steadying influence on Morrison. It was good performance and a valuable point which just keeps Reading in the top six.
John Wells

This Championship game took place 2513 days ago in the 2013/2014 season.