Reading FC Match Report: 2015/2016 Season - Championship


READING 0 BIRMINGHAM 2

Reading: --
Birmingham: C Donaldson (2), R Shotton (27)

The optimism generated by Reading’s two recent victories and a highly entertaining win earlier in the week vanished this afternoon as Reading stumbled to defeat against City side still flirting with the notion of reaching the play-offs. Falling behind in the second minute to a well taken goal from Donaldson, the Royals were unable to raise their game, conceded a second after twenty-seven minutes and never recovered. As the rain lashed down Reading struggled to find any rhythm as passes went astray, tackles were missed, and shots flew wide of the target. It was overall one of the poorer performances of the season.

Brian McDermott opted for the same starting eleven used against Forest on Tuesday although the squad was strengthened by the availability of McCleary and Rakkels. City had done their homework and did not allow Obita and Gunter time and space to get crosses in from wise positions. Neither player possess the skill or acceleration to go past players so Reading were forced to try to play their way through the centre of City’s defence which never looked likely at any stage. Cox, Kermorgant and Piazon dropped off the defence to receive the ball but City were happy for them to do so as long as they continued to pass backwards and sideways.

Obita allowed Cotterill sufficient space and time to whip in a cross to the near post in the second minute for an unmarked Donaldson to head in powerfully from close range. Reading had started slowly and the goal did not exactly galvanise them into putting City under pressure. City’s second goal came from a Cotterill free kick. Reading were outnumbered at the far post and when Al Habsi saved Shotton following up was able to prod home unchallenged. In a half littered with basic errors Reading’s attacks were ponderous and predictable. Gunter did not seem to know when to go forward or when to hold his run and was reprimanded by Quinn for his shortcomings at length and rightly so.

Lafferty and Donaldson gave McShane and Cooper problems with their physical presence up front and City had a greater appetite for winning the ball all over the pitch. Piazon missed a good chance when hoofed the ball over from close range, Quinn headed wide and Cox made room for a shot on the edge of the box but ballooned the ball into the stand. Legdzins in the city goal had little to do except collect high balls pumped into the box which he managed with ease.

Piazon was removed at half time to allow Vydra to come on to inject a bit of urgency around the City penalty area but that didn’t make much difference and dropping Cox into midfield was equally ineffective. John came on and again was unable to make the impact he usually has when Reading are chasing a game. Reading had a lot of possession in the second half but City were not troubled by the ball being passed across the pitch in front of their defence. Cooper and Kermorgant had a sight of goal but their headers were mistimed and never really troubled Legdzins. It was in the end a comfortable win for City leaving Brian McDermott with a lot to think about. The current squad do not look likely candidates for a top six finish next season. It is, I hope, going to be a busy summer in the transfer market.
John Wells

This Championship game took place 587 days ago in the 2015/2016 season.