Reading FC Match Report: 2015/2016 Season - Championship
READING 1 SHEFF WED 1
Reading: J Cooper (74)
Sheff Wed: G Hooper (10)
Reading fully deserved to win this keenly contested contest against a Wednesday side coming into the game topping the Championship form table (past six games) with a total of fifteen points, but paid the price for another slow start and had to settle for a point. It was similar opening to the Huddersfield game earlier in the week. Poor marking and hesitancy in defence encouraged the visitors in the opening ten minutes with Bannon hitting the post before Hooper gave them an early lead. As Wednesday consolidated their lead Reading worked their way back into the game and with the introduction of Kermorgant and John in to second half Reading dominated the game and played well enough to take all three points.
Reading’s sluggish start may have been due in part to key changes in the starting line-up. Having deposed Williams from central midfield, new signing Evans initially looked slightly bemused by the pace and intensity of the game. Obita returned in place of Taylor, who had hardly put a foot wrong at left back in recent games, but Obita certainly increased the attacking potency down the left flank. Having gone a goal down Al Habsi continued his recent run of good form getting down quickly to a snap shot from Hooper which bounced awkwardly in to from of him. Reading should have drawn level minutes later when Loovens, surprised by Vydra’s pace, mistimed his challenge and brought him down inside the box. Loovens feigned injury, possibly to avoid a caution, or delay the spot kick to unnerve Vydra waiting to convert the penalty. After a lengthy delay, poor refereeing allowed Wednesday to continue their mind games. Using his own interpretation of the laws of the game referee Martin seemed think acceptable to delay the penalty to allow ‘keeper Westwood time to have drink! With Westwood finally in position he advanced a metre off his line before Vydra took the kick and the ball struck the post. It was good hear the Reading fans chanting Vydra’s name in consolation. How Westwood was not cautioned for his blatant timewasting is a mystery as was addition of one minute of stoppage time at the end of the first half. Wednesday seemed incapable of dealing with the threat of Vydra by fair means as Hunt and Lee were both shown yellow for bringing him down.
For all their pressure leading up to half time Reading never really tested Westwood. Obita put a good ball into the box but nobody was here to take advantage of it. McDermott made positive changes bringing his other new signing Kermorgant at half time at the expense of Piazon, and although Evans had settled down and hinted at his potential, he made way for John, restoring Williams to central midfield. Wednesday rarely broke out of defence but Gunter made a brilliant block in front of goal from Forestieri, but it was very different game now and a Reading goal looked imminent. It came in simple but effective style after seventy–four minutes. Norwood hit a corner to the far post and Cooper heeded powerfully down past Westwood. Reading pinned Wednesday back in their own half and looked a good bet to clinch the win. Robson-Kanu and John continued to torment Wednesday’s defence down the flanks, Williams drove into the heart of their defence at every opportunity, and Kermorgant got his head to everything – except crucially Norwood’s superb cross for what should have been the deserved winner Wednesday hung on for appoint.
Reading may not be climbing table quickly enough for some, but there is clearly a better mood in the dressing room and they are certainly playing better football since his arrival. The play-offs seem beyond their grasp at the moment but I am sure they will not be too far outside the top six come the end of the season.
This Championship game took place 665 days ago in the 2015/2016 season.