Reading FC Match Report: 2015/2016 Season - Championship


READING 1 BLACKBURN 0

Reading: D Williams (11)
Blackburn: --

A breath-taking volley from Danny Williams after eleven minutes provided returning manager Brian McDermott with winning start, ending Reading’s disappointing run of four consecutive defeats. The return of the charismatic McDermott was clearly well received by the home fans as he emerged from the tunnel to be greeted by a cluster of photographers and a roar of approval.

With the gloom of recent events lifted Williams’ early goal gave the Royals the momentum they needed to arrest their slide down the table and hold on for a much needed win. It is too soon to assess how things will go for the rest of the season but already there is a more positive buzz around the club.

Blackburn are not an easy side to beat, this being only their sixth defeat in twenty-two games, but Reading were the better side and deserved their win. McDermott opted for a basic 4 4 2 formation drafting in Quinn at left back with both Obita and Taylor injured. Williams goal aside, there was little to choose between the teams in the first half.

In a feisty opening spell two Rovers players received yellow cards in the space of a couple of minutes, the first of which was given to former Royal Akpan for a late challenge on Norwood. Rovers had the first decent chance of the game after eight minutes, Koita heading just over from a free-kick. Three minutes later Gunter knocked a speculative ball down the line and Robson-Kanu flicked the ball on with his head. Williams, bursting through with a well-timed run stunned everyone but especially Steele in the Rovers goal by striking the ball early from a wide position and the ball flew into the top corner. It was as clean a strike as you are ever likely to see.

Rovers forced to push forward dominated possession but Reading on the whole looked in control apart form a couple of situations brought about by rash decisions from McShane. Quinn is such a good footballer he looked comfortable filling in at left back, composed in defence and creative going forward. There were few scoring attempts leading up to half time. Akpan tested Bond with a long range effort which the Reading ‘keeper managed to block but not hold leaving Gunter to tidy up with a clearance.

McDermott’s first change came at half time with Piazon replacing Vydra. The change had an immediate impact as Piazon linked up play superbly in and around the box. His awareness and subtle passing always looked likely to create chances. It was good to see McCleary and Blackman playing in wide positions but unfortunately they were not able to exploit the space on the wings.

The second half saw them coming inside too often which resulted in a lack of width at times. On one occasion, Blackman was unmarked in space on the right but deprived himself of a scoring opportunity by running inside making it impossible to find him with a pass. John replaced McCleary for the last twenty minutes and showed how it should be done. His first involvement was to accelerate between the two Rovers defenders assigned the task of ushering him away from goal and drew a save from Steele at the near post. Rovers could not handle his pace and close control.

The game was fast and open and both teams looked a little ragged at times. With time running out Robson-Kanu was rewarded for keeping the ball in the corner by being scythed down bringing Rovers’ yellow card tally to four. Rovers pushed hard for an equaliser but Reading defended resolutely. Quinn made a timely clearance to deny Rovers a chance and Bond pulled off a last minute save from Kiota.

In stoppage time Steele made his way into the Reading box for a corner and had Blackman got his head up he might have been tempted to launch a long range effort into the unguarded net but in the end it didn’t matter. Today was Brian McDermott’s day, and Reading fans can now look forward to the second half of the season with renewed optimism.
John Wells

This Championship game took place 525 days ago in the 2015/2016 season.