Reading FC Match Report: 2013/2014 Season - Championship


Reading: A Le Fondre (9), OG (14)
Middlesbrough: --

Reading took full advantage of a remarkable set of Championship results yesterday to climb back into sixth place again. A win tonight was essential for the Royals to remain in contention for a play-off place. It was clear from the outset that the players were determined not to allow their chance to slip away. Reading fielded their strongest side for some time, and raced into a two goal lead in the opening fourteen minutes. Although Reading lost some their early momentum through injuries to Robson-Kanu and Guthrie they successfully re-adjusted to the enforced changes, finished strongly in the second half, and deserved to win by an even greater margin.

Robson-Kanu and LeFondre were looking very sharp up front and were well served by Danny Guthrie with some sharp and incisive passing, and Danny Williams running through the Boro’ midfield. McAnuff and McCleary were going past defenders in wide positions and the visitors were clearly rattled. A long ball played in to the corner by McAnuff held up sufficiently to allow Obita to deliver a superb cross to the far post. McCleary put the ball back into the goal mouth where Le Fondre poached his fourteenth goal of the season. The turning point in the game came in the thirteenth minute when Reading’s lack of pace at the back was exposed by a straightforward ball through the middle which presented Graham with a golden opportunity to equalise. Fortunately for the Royals he blasted it wide. A minute later Reading were two up when a delightfully flighted free kick from Obita was deflected past Konstantopoulos. Shortly after wards Robson-Kanu sustained a very nasty facial injury and left the field after a lengthy spell of treatment. He was replaced by Pogrebnyak, who after a sluggish start, had an outstanding second half.

Middlesbrough certainly posed a threat with their slick passing but Reading confined them to long range efforts throughout. Danny Guthrie was clearly carrying and injury and although he came out for the second half he only lasted a couple of minutes before he too had to be replaced. Akpan was a more than adequate replacement and helped Reading through an early spell of Middlesbrough dominance in the second half. Reading demonstrated why attack is often the best form of defence by pressing forward at every opportunity keeping their opponents on the back foot. A brilliant run by Pogrebnyak took him through the Boro’ back four and but for a fingertip save by Konstantopoulos, it would have made the made victory certain. The referee, who missed several blatant pushes on Reading players as they prepared to attack the ball in the air, also missed the save and infuriatingly awarded a goal kick.

Pogrebnyak was winning the ball in the air and generally running the Boro’ defence ragged, had a looping header which landed on the roof of the net. Le Fondre came even closer to scoring a third with a header from McCleary’s cross which beat the ‘keeper but came back off the cross bar. The home fans sensed victory and roared their team on to a fine win. Gunter almost gifted a consolation goal to Boro’ with a ridiculous back pass. McCarthy maintained his concentration to the end and was out smartly to snuff out what was a good chance.

A win at Doncaster on Saturday (which should not be taken for granted) would set up a exciting finale to the season at home to Burnley. Tonight’s performance was extremely encouraging. Everyone played well. The injuries to Guthrie and Robson-Kanu are cause for concern but Reading’s season is still very much alive.
John Wells

This Championship game took place 2033 days ago in the 2013/2014 season.