Reading FC Match Report: 2014/2015 Season - League Cup
SCUNTHORPE 0 READING 1
Reading: J Taylor (85)
In the face of adversity a young Reading team dug deep to secure a spot in the Carling Cup third round after a late Jake Taylor goal. Scunthorpe would argue the goal was harsh after they had dominated for large periods of a scrappy cup tie whilst a young Reading team will leave with a confidence boosting victory.
Reading were forced to make changes following the defeat against Nottingham Forest as Hector and Obita joined the ever growing injury list. Craig Tanner, Jake Cooper and the experienced Jamie Mackie came in for their full team debuts, while Hope Akpan started the game in midfield.
As Adkins and Crosby received a standing ovation on their return to Glanford Park, the absence of Alex McCarthy from the team and bench seemly confirmed his pending transfer to QPR. The elusive Anderson taking McCarthy’s substitute role. A late challenge in the first minute from Gary McSheffery on Shaun Cummings looked to have added further to Reading woes. Cummings received lengthy treatment before he was forced to retire hurt at half time.
From that point Reading struggled to get any control of the game. Forced into long balls and slack passing as Scunthorpe pressured all over the pitch. Scunthorpe were stretching the Reading defence with some smart movement in the final third. Federici saw some early action as a Madden shot had him scrambling across his goal in the 11th minute.
As the half continued few clear chances were created by either side. A Blackman shot went weakly wide of the goal, whilst another cleared the stand, landing somewhere in the retail park surrounding the stadium.
Scunthorpe, whilst having more of the play seemed sloppy when in the final third. An impressive Jake Cooper patrolled the back line with some old fashioned defending. The game was by-passing the Reading midfield and the attacking trio of Tanner, Mackie and Cox struggled to get involved in the game. The moment of the half came in the 36th minute as a top corner bound strike from Madden produced a stunning save from Federici to push the ball for a corner.
As the half played out Scunthorpe had more possession winning a succession of niggly fouls as Reading scrapped to stay in the match. Sean Long replaced the injured Shaun Cummings at half time going into right back and Gunter shifting over to the left. The game continued in the similar vein as Scunthorpe were more dominant with the ball but without carving out many clear cut opportunities. The Reading crowd silenced by a lack of continued possession from Reading.
The game started to turn after a strong penalty appeal was rejected as Cox was barged over in the box. The Reading crowd sensed Reading were getting stronger as Kuhl and Akpan started to get their foot on the ball in the final third, and at last Reading started to make the Scunthorpe defence work. Tanner hit a shot from an Akpan pass high and wide. Mackie chased a long through ball into the keeper’s hands and Gunter hit a shot into the stand after a good drive forward.
Flurries of Scunthorpe activity, in particular from McSheffery and Madden, continued to cause issue for the Royals before Tanner and Mackie were replaced by Edwards and Taylor in the 73rd minute. Bishop should have scored in the 76th minute as a Scunthorpe corner dropped onto the edge of the six yard box. His shot was inches over the bar.
As the game played out you sensed that one good chance was due for a now confident Reading. Edwards looked energetic, continually chasing possession and looking for a penetrative pass. Taylor was making dangerous runs into the penalty box. Both showing the qualities to try and justify selection for the next game at Middlesborough.
The breakthrough game in the 85th minute as a Blackman corner was headed back across goal by Pearce. Taylor showed predatory instincts to pounce on the loose ball and send a volley past the Scunthorpe keeper.
The goal was right in front of the hardy 219 travelling Reading fans and vigorous celebrations followed by both the team and fans. Whilst the result and performance doesn’t paper over the issues faced by the Royals it certainly will go some way to provide the younger players with the confidence that they can perform at this level. A confident and assured performance by Cooper, in particular in the first half, was enough to take the performance of the night. However, the first half save by Federici gave Reading the platform to get a result.
With Middlesborough up next, and the amount of experienced casualties, you have to hope the closure of the transfer window brings much needed support for a group of resilient and hardworking youngsters.
This League Cup game took place 1929 days ago in the 2014/2015 season.