Reading FC Match Report: 2017/2018 Season - Championship


READING 0 BRISTOL C 1

Reading: --
Bristol C: A Flint (84)

The disappointment of losing to a late goal is always hard to take, but even more so when expectations had been raised by a good away performance at Birmingham and new additions to the squad. Typically Reading enjoyed a lot of possession throughout, but a well organised City pressed high up the pitch from the kick-off denying Reading time and space all over the pitch. Ultimately though, it was poor finishing and good goalkeeping which prevented the Royals from taking anything from this game. In their best spell just after the interval, new signing Bodvarsson wasted two excellent opportunities to give them the lead. City ‘keeper Fielding made excellent saves from Kelly in the first half and Bacuna in the second. As so often happens in football Reading were punished for their inability to convert chances into goals.With six minutes to go the Reading defence failed to deal with a high ball into the box and it fell to Flint who drilled it goalwards low and hard, and although Manone got a hand to it the ball trickled agonising just inside the post. Reading never looked likely to find a way through the City defence in the closing stages and City left with the points.

Barrow stood out in the first half. His pace and skill were too much for the City defence but several promising situations came to nothing. City however can count themselves lucky not to have Baker not sent off when he brought Barrow down when he was clear of the City defence. Aluko made a promising start and will surely trouble defences this season. He certainly is certainly not afraid to shoot and sent a couple of efforts whistling just past the post from outside the box. Bodvarsson held the ball up well at times and it helped to have someone to compete for the long balls Reading were forced to play due to City pressing their back four when in possession. City had a sniff of goal early in the first half but Reid lifted his lob onto the roof off the net.There was little between the teams up to half time although Reading looked more likely to make the breakthrough.

In a lively opening to the second half Reading began to open up the City defence. The crowd found their voice and heavy rain, thunder, and lightning helped to generate a bit more atmosphere. Twice Aluko presented good opportunities for Bodvarsson in front of goal. The first attempt was complete air shot as Aluko fizzed the ball across the six yard box. The second was an inexcusable scuffed attempt with ample time and space to pick his spot. Hopefully he will find his scoring touch soon. Bacuna almost repeated his strike against Millwall a couple of weeks ago but on this occasion Fielding made a very good save low to his left. Van den Berg had a solid game and to his credit steered clear of trouble following his first half yellow card for a blatant obstruction.

City took steps to nullify the threat of Barrow after the interval helped by a lenient referee who allowed some poor challenges to go unpunished. Nevertheless there were a few raised eyebrows when he was replaced by McCleary with just over twenty minute remaining. Edwards had already replaced Kelly who was forced off with a calf injury. Bodvarsson was replaced by Beerens and suddenly we were awash with wingers and no-one able to win anything in the air up front. With so many new faces on the pitch the team seemed to lose its shape a bit and were unable to mount any pressure in the final minutes.Bodvarsson was replaced by Beerens and suddenly we were awash with wingers and no-one able to win anything in the air up front. With so many new faces on the pitch the team seemed to lose its shape a bit and were unable to mount any pressure in the final minutes.Bodvarsson was replaced by Beerens and suddenly we were awash with wingers and no-one able to win anything in the air up front. With so many new faces on the pitch the team seemed to lose its shape a bit and were unable to mount any pressure in the final minutes.

At this stage of the season league the table means very little. Reading in sixteenth are only three points outside the play-off places and if last season is anything to go by, most teams will reach double figures in games lost before the end of the season. There is nothing to suggest the optimism about the quality of the squad before the game is unfounded, except perhaps the lack of a decent striker. Kermorgant will be a welcome addition when he finally returns.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 12 days ago in the 2017/2018 season.