Reading FC Match Report: 2016/2017 Season - Championship


Reading: --
QPR: J Mackie (28)

In a game in which Reading dominated possession without ever testing the Rangers 'keeper, John Mackie seized his opportunity midway through the first half to inflict a second home defeat of the season on his former club. It was a workmanlike performance from the visitors, content to sit back and frustrate Reading, and take advantage of mistakes to break out of their own half; and there were plenty of mistakes. It was not a good night for Reading or their fans. Having seen their team significantly underperform they heard Jaap Stam expressing frustration doubts about the uncertainty of ownership and future direction of the club on their journey home.

With weather warnings of adverse driving conditions deterring some from travelling, and with the game televised live, attendance was low. Reading started slowly and Rangers were in no mood to take the initiative – not that Reading allowed them much time on the ball. Errors began to creep into Reading’s play and players were getting caught in possession. Unable to penetrate a packed defence Reading tried to play the ball behind the visitor’s defence but were frequently caught offside by a well drilled back line.

The key moment came after twenty-seven minutes when Joey Van Den Berg carelessly gave the ball away on the half way line and Rangers broke quickly with Van den Berg never looking likely to recover. Having tracked Mackie’s run into the box Liam Kelly indulged in a spot of ball watching leaving the ex- Reading striker acres of space and time to hammer the only goal of the game past Al Habsi. Van den Berg looked good going forward and has excellent touch, but the responsibility and discipline required to play at centre back does not suit him. Not mention his lack of pace. Having said that he is the best option in McShane’s absence. Even falling behind failed to spark a reaction from the Royals and they might have gone even further behind as the error count mounted up. Jaap Stam underlined the general malaise after the game listing all the fundamental requirements of successful football missing from this evenings performance – good touch, accurate passing, decision making etc.

Rangers started the second half brightly but Reading and the home crowd finally roused themselves and Rangers had to work hard to maintain their lead. Beerens had a better half and began getting crosses in to the box, one of which Kermorgant really should have converted. Swift had one of his least effective games mainly due to Rangers closing him down quickly, but even when he did wriggle free he did not use the ball well. The closest Reading came to an equaliser was a Kermorgant header which skimmed the bar following a great run and cross by McCleary. In a chaotic second half Rangers looked more likely to score in spite of their lack of possession, and it took some desperate defending to keep Reading’s hopes of an equaliser alive to the end.

It was disappointing to slip up having such a good chance to close in on the automatic promotion spot, although on tonight’s showing if Reading are going to have a chance of promotion, and I would certainly not rule it out, it will have to be via the play-offs.
John Wells

This Championship game took place 1239 days ago in the 2016/2017 season.