Reading FC Match Report: 2013/2014 Season - Championship


Reading: P Pogrebnyak (pen 7).
Huddersfield: N Wells (4).

Reading, still struggling to find any kind of form at home, had to settle for a point against a side much lower in the league. Results may be going Reading’s way at the moment, but the quality of performance continues to be a concern for Nigel Adkins. On current form it is unlikely promotion will be achieved if they do manage to hang on to sixth spot until the end of the season.

Town signalled their intent when Smith was booked in the first minute for cynically scything down Pogrebnyak. After only three minutes Morrison, returning from injury to replace Gorkss at the centre of defence, completely misjudged a long high ball allowing Wells to race clear and put Town ahead. It seemed as if the Royals were continuing where they left off on Tuesday night. Once again they were level in a matter of minutes through a Pogrebnyak penalty. McAnuff wriggled through the Town defence and was pulled back just inside the box. Pogrebnyak held his nerve in spite of Gerrard’s pathetic gamesmanship in removing the ball from the penalty spot after he had set it down in preparation to take the kick.

McCarthy spilled a shot immediately after the equaliser but managed to recover quickly. Following his under par performance on Tuesday it had been suggested he should be replaced by Federici but Adkins was vindicated in retaining him when a minute later he prevented a certain goal with an amazing leap to tip the ball over the bar. It was to be the first of a string of saves which was to earn him the Man of the Match award. Huddersfield looked very comfortable in possession and more likely to score than Reading. Wells hit the bar as the Royals had to defend well to keep the visitors out. Gradually Reading began to threaten the Town goal and an outstanding exchange of first time passes on the right produced a really good cross which Pogebnyak directed towards the bottom corner. It took a very good save from Smithies to keep it out. The teams were evenly matched although Town were enjoying more possession. Reading to their credit were defending well and closing down their opponents much more effectively than in their previous game.

Hector had been drafted in to midfield and had a mixed game. He struck a shot well from outside the box but it was straight at Smithies, managed a couple of decent passes but also nearly cost Reading a goal losing possession carelessly on the half way line. It is unlikely he will keep Guthrie out of the team next week. Robson-Kanu was disappointing and was replaced by Le Fondre who also made little impact. Drenthe and Akpan were also introduced in the second half to freshen up the attack but it made little difference. McCarthy had to be on his toes to prevent Town from taking the lead when a poor pass out of defence (from Morrison I think) caught Reading out. Obita cleared off the line in the seventy-ninth minute as both sides fancied their chances of taking all three points and pushed forward.

Neither side were able to create a really clear chance and had to settle for a point. The worry for Reading fans is that Huddersfield were able to dominate possession and hit more shots on target. It was a vastly improved performance from Reading but still not good enough to raise expectations of success in the play-offs. Pearce typified an improved attitude winning headers with greater conviction. Obita continues to stand out for pure footballing ability. With seven games to go, now is the time to hit form.
John Wells

This Championship game took place 2056 days ago in the 2013/2014 season.