Reading FC Match Report: 2015/2016 Season - Championship


SHEFF WED 1 READING 1

Reading: D Williams (49)
Sheff Wed: M Sougou (90)

As Hillsborough emptied Jonathan Bond did his Father Christmas act in the last minute and gifted Modou Sougou with a simple finish, allowing Sheffield Wednesday to snatch an underserved point. It was a crushing mistake that left the Royals fans and players devastated. Reading had dominated proceedings from start to finish in a near perfect display. They defensively look solid, with McShane and Ferdinand controlling the back four. The midfield was busy and knocked the ball around with comfort and precision. The front two worked tireless and created plenty of openings. It was a game that Reading FC should have won comfortably.

Following Saturday’s draw with Leeds, Obita was surprisingly dropped for Taylor. Tshibola returned into midfield as Blackman dropped to the bench. Ferdinand, quite rightly, retained his starting berth and Fosu was named as a substitute as he returns from injury. With my ex-wife having more width than the Reading line up you feared that Reading lacked the cutting edge and pace to create and convert chances. Unfortunately that appeared to be case as Reading failed to score any more than one of their fifteen chances. Jonathan Bond’s mistake could have been overlooked slightly if the Royals had taken advantage of the opportunities created.

Any early threat was dealt with comfortably by Paul McShane and Anton Ferdinand who are looking an assured centre back partnership. McShane was superb as he lead by example and Ferdinand displayed his ‘defending made easy’ qualities. A stunning piece of defending from Ferdinand in the second half preventing Wednesday a clear run on goal.

From the early stages Reading kept the ball with ease, however, without any pace or real creative thinking players, it was pedestrian pace and failed to worry the Sheffield Wednesday back four. The first half passed without Reading troubled. A few long range attempts came from Norwood and Gunter, one Norwood effort from inside his own half was well wide.

As the first half closed you sensed it would a case of if Reading score they will win. A solid defensive unit and controlling the ball meant they looked comfortable. The need for pace and direct running was sadly lacking though in order to evaluate the Reading performance into a victory.

The second half started with Reading controlling the game again and they managed to take a deserved lead in the 48th minute. Some good work by the unselfish Orlando Sa saw the ball ricochet into the path of the onrushing Danny Williams. Given time and space Williams was allowed to drive the ball into the top corner.

As the Royals continued to dominate, they could and should have had a second in the 54th minute. A deep corner found Orlando Sa unmarked in the six yard box. As he rose to head the ball he got his body positioning all wrong and with the ball slightly behind him his header dropped harmlessly to the floor. It was a chance any striker should be finishing and whilst his support work was superb, he doesn’t look to have that instinct in front of goal.

Further chances followed with Norwood hitting a free kick into the arms of Price and Robson-Kanu driving a shot high over the bar. Obita replaced Taylor in the 76th minute. Blackman and Hector replaced Robson-Kanu and Sa respectively in the 84th minute. As the game closed out you sensed that one goal might not be enough. The frustrated Wednesday crowd started to encourage their team. The royals looked resolute though and Sheffield couldn’t create many openings.

As the clock turned ninety minutes it was time for Bond to self-implode. A hopeful deep cross from Wednesday appeared to be covered by Ferdinand. Bond came rushing out, tried to grab the ball with an outstretched hand but ended up dropping the ball into the path Sougou. It was an easy finish into an empty net that left the Royals players looking confused and bewildered by the young keeper’s decision making. It is hard to be that critical of Bond but he had little to do all game but even then you sensed he wasn’t confident. His kicking, in particular when he is rushed, was poor and he had dropped an earlier cross. Hopefully he will learn and progress but you wonder if more mistakes can be tolerated.

Overall it was a great performance and with the addition into the team from one of the creative bunch, McCleary, Fosu, Fernandez or Hurtado, then you expect Reading to start converting these games into wins. The problem is you always sense a mistake or disaster is always round the corner for Steve Clarke and his men.
Dave Roberts

This Championship game took place 702 days ago in the 2015/2016 season.