Reading FC Match Report: 2015/2016 Season - Championship
READING 0 WOLVES 0
A draw was a fair result in this uninspiring mid table clash between two teams almost certainly destined to remain in the Championship for at least another season. Both teams will on reflection feel they could and should have won, but in the end neither had the cutting edge to claim the goal which would have yielded all three points.
Reading started brightly keeping possession in their opponent’s half in the opening minutes. In the ninth minute quick thinking from a throw-in by Kermorgant released McCleary to cross for Robson-Kanu, but his shot was blocked. At the other end Al-Habsi came out swiftly to clear when Henry broke through the centre of the Royals defence. That was pretty much the story of the first forty-five minutes, half chances were not converted and clear cut opportunities were denied by well-organised defences. The swirling wind did not help but both sides failed to adapt their game particularly well to the conditions and the ball seemed to spend a lot of time in the air. Most the first half was a scrappy stalemate played out in the centre of the pitch. Reading were not having much joy attacking from wide positions. The threat posed in recent games by Robson-Kanu was nullified by the strength and pace of Iorfa, and after a bright start McCleary drifted inside eliminating the option of spreading the play on more than one occasion. Some of Reading’s defending was not as convincing as it should be with Obita under a lot of pressure from the pacy Van La Parra. Henry saved well from a Henry free kick conceded by Obita following his less than decisive clearance, but overall it was dull first half.
By half time Obita had the measure of Van La Parra to such an extent he was eventually replaced by Byrne. Obita has looked vulnerable at times this season but he was excellent after the interval. The game opened up considerably in the second half and Reading nearly engineered their own downfall. Al-Habsi came out for a ball that Gunter could have dealt with comfortably and didn’t quite make it leaving Henry with an open goal. (Communication a possible subject for discussion on the training ground next week!) Al-Habsi redeemed himself with a remarkable recovery to block the shot. With the ball loose in the box McCleary generously retuned the ball to Henry for a second bite at the cherry and some desperate defending was required to clear the danger. With half an hour left, Brian McDermott made the change that worked so well against Huddersfield in the Cup bringing John on for McCleary to play on the left and switching Robson-Kanu to the right to escape the unwelcome attention he was receiving from Iorfa. It was a slight improvement although John tended to shirk his defensive duties. Norwood shot just wide following a John cross and near the end Robson-Kanu opted for accuracy rather than power form outside the box and Ikeme saved easily. Vydra was having an off day and was replaced by new signing Rakkels who looked sharp.
McShane battled away in the centre of defence and led by example and probably saved Reading a point with the most amazing block inside the box when Sigurdarson had drifted through the Reading defence and looked certain to score. Reading also had their chances near the end. Rakkels nodded the ball down to Kermorgant who struck his shot well but just wide and Rakkels appeared to be brought down in front of goal. If it wasn’t a foul, it was strange time to decide to fall over!
It was not a great game, and point at home is not really good enough; but the way some fans, and surprisingly, the Radio Berkshire commentary team, seem to be so eager to criticise Brian McDermott so soon after taking over is unhelpful to say the least. Things were not going well before he arrived and it takes time to put things right especially half way through the season. Shortly before Clarke’s departure Reading had a run of ten games with only one win scoring ten goals and conceding eighteen. People it seems have short memories.
This Championship game took place 650 days ago in the 2015/2016 season.