Reading FC Match Report: 2015/2016 Season - Championship


READING 1 BRISTOL C 0

Reading: N Blackman (90).
Bristol C: --

Reading sealed a much needed and deserved home win with a Nick Blackman goal in stoppage time. City looked set to earn a point (from a match in which they failed to muster a single shot on target) until Vydra chased back deep into his own half to win the ball with a superbly timed tackle and feed McCleary who slipped the ball to Nick Blackman just outside the City penalty area. Confronted with four City defenders Blackman kept his head, made room for the shot, and steered the ball into the far corner before heading off to the City bench to have the final word in his spat with their coaching staff. It was satisfying moment for Reading, and Blackman in particular, who in truth had a poor first half and up to that point had only limited impact in the second. It was not the finest game of football but nevertheless highly entertaining.

City had been soundly thrashed on their previous two away games and were clearly intent on improving their recent dreadful form on the road. They pressed Reading all over the pitch and did not allow them time to find any rhythm with their passing. In the opening phase of the game they got at the Reading back four and gave McShane a torrid time before he limped off after half an with a calf strain. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as his replacement, Ferdinand, proved to be the ideal partner for the less experienced Cooper who went to have a fine game. Ferdinand’s assured touch and consistently accurate distribution had a settling effect on the Royals defence and in fact the rest of the team. Reading eased their way into the game and gradually took control of midfield. With better finishing from Vydra Reading would have been two goals up by half time. Quinn found him with a delightful ball through the middle, but with only Fielding to beat, his first time strike drifted wide of the post. Clever play from Sa on the edge of the box presented him with an even better opportunity inside the box, but with ample time to pick his spot, he shot tamely at the ‘keeper. Blackman also seemed out of sorts playing wide on the right, not helped by his poor attitude. He moaned about poor pass from Vydra and when guilty of the similarly poor pass blamed Gunter for not getting on the end of it. His body language and lack of involvement indicated he was not happy. Vydra on the other hand was busting a gut to compensate for his profligacy in front of goal. His work rate was impressive throughout.

It was a lively second half littered with defensive errors and misplaced passes from both sides but it was full of incident which at times a proved a little too much for the inexperienced referee Handley. Vydra directed a header at the ‘keeper but was unable to generate sufficient power to test Fielding. McDermott’s first tactical change came early in the half and proved effective. McCleary came on for Sa and replaced Blackman on the right wing giving Blackman his opportunity to move inside. McCleary ran his full back ragged and troubled the City back four a string of crosses which no one managed convert into a goal. McDermott’s final change was an expression of attacking intent swapping Taylor for Robson-Kanu. With Quinn dropping into full back it gave more potency to the Reading’s attacks down the left. Williams and Norwood once again worked incredibly hard to maintain Reading’s dominance in midfield. As Reading pressed forward there was nagging doubt that a slip at the back might lose game but at this stage the Royals were more than matching their opponents in their desire to win the game. The home fans were right behind their team sensing a win was within their grasp and were rewarded for their optimism with Blackman’s excellent late finish and three useful points.
John Wells

This Championship game took place 512 days ago in the 2015/2016 season.