Reading FC Match Report: 2017/2018 Season - Championship


READING 2 CARDIFF 2

Reading: C Paterson (og 16), M Barrow (41)
Cardiff: J Bennett (83), L Tomlin (90)

Paul McShane almost snatched a victory for Reading in the dying seconds of stoppage time but they had to settle for a point when for eighty minutes they looked set to claim a magnificent home win against second placed City. Reading, deservedly ahead by two goal at half time, finally succumbed to intense City pressure to concede two late goals. Having appeared to have weathered the storm of City's second half onslaught the Royals lost their composure and discipline in the last ten minutes allowing the visitors to salvage a point. It was a disappointing outcome for Reading fans but probably a fair reward for City’s second half endeavour.

Starting with an unchanged side for the fourth game in succession Reading played some superb football building attacks from deep in their own half with excellent passing and movement particularly down the right through Bacuna and Aluko. With Barrow tormenting the City defence on the other wing Reading looked likely to open up the City defence. Reading opened the scoring in the sixteenth minute from a Kelly corner whipped in to the near post which Paterson glanced the ball into his own net as ‘keeper Etheridge came to claim it. Cardiff looked ordinary to say the least and although Manone made a good save it was Reading who looked more threatening going forward. Barrow added a second goal four minutes before the interval with a good strike for the edge of the box which beat Etheridge with the help of a deflection. Barrow might have added a third moments later when Kelly put him in behind a fragile looking City defence but his shot was blocked.

Predictably City came out fighting in the second half and pressed Reading more effectively in their own half. Reading had the chance to score a crucial third goal five minutes after the interval when Etheridge had gifted possession to Edwards who slipped the ball to Kermorgant but his shot lacked power and accuracy letting City off the hook. Hoilett should have pulled a goal back for City a couple of minutes later with a downward header which cleared the bar. True to form City manager Warnock paid no heed to a warning from referee Martin and opened his mouth once too often and was sent off. (Not for the first time at the Madejski Stadium.) His presence on the line was apparently not missed by his players who went on to dominate the game as Reading retreated deeper into their own half. Stam wisely opted to keep Kermorgant on for his defensive qualities but replaced Kelly with Bodvarsson to freshen up the attack.

Reading could not get out of their own half and although Kermorgant performed heroics at the back as City swarmed all over the Reading defence. Everyone was behind the ball but the quality of the defending let them down. City were given too much room in midfield and in wide positions and were able to get behind the Reading back line. Seven minutes from time Bennett found himself unmarked in the box and rifled the ball past Manone. Sensing Reading were wounded City went for the kill and in stoppage time Bamba's header came back off the bar and substitute Tomlin lashed the rebound against the bar, but this time the ball came down over the line for the equaliser.

With a further four minutes of stoppage time remaining a third City goal was on the cards but Reading managed to regain their composure and mounted an attack. Almost on the final whistle McShane got his head to the ball at the far post and his attempt struck the post. It is a measure of how much Reading have improved that a draw against second placed Cardiff was a disappointing result. Reading are playing some good football, scoring goals, and only one defeat in eight games. The run includes some good results against strong teams. There is every reason to feel optimistic about the rest of the season.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 133 days ago in the 2017/2018 season.