Reading FC Match Report: 2017/2018 Season - Championship
READING 0 SHEFF WED 0
Sheff Wed: --
Although Reading only managed to pick up a point at home against an equally ambitious Wednesday side there are signs Reading are moving in the right direction. The Royals second half display was worthy of winning the game lacking only the finish to some promising attacking play. Wednesday did threaten on the break particularly near the end but there were spells when they were simply pinned in their own half by a dominant Reading. Again the team could not be faulted for work rate and Moore, McShane and Van den Berg looked very comfortable at the back against a potent Wednesday strike force. Those fans who for some reason felt the need to boo their team need to reflect on the recent run of games which has seen two wins, two draws and a defeat against runaway league leaders Wolves in a game in which they looked capable of taking at least a point.
Wednesday came into the game four points outside the play off places and unbeaten in six games having taken points off Villa, Bristol City and Ipswich in their last three games, so they were certainly not low on confidence. It was a slightly cautious opening forty five minutes but Reading dominated possession and were getting good crosses into the box which Wednesday on the whole dealt with well. Gunter was a revelation getting down the left to good effect putting in five decent crosses with his weaker left foot.
Barrow was direct in his runs down the same flank but often found himself confronted by two defenders in a well organised Wednesday rearguard. Loovens was deservedly shown a yellow card for his cynical foul to prevent the Reading winger from breaking through on the halfway line. Aluko was tormenting the visitors defence on the opposite wing but could not quite find the finish required on two occasions. Early in the half he got behind the Wednesday back four and slid a ball across the edge of the six yard area when a scoring attempt might have been a better option. Just before half time he squandered Reading’s best chance of the game. Kermorgant headed down a cross to the far post and with time and space he lost his composure hammering the ball in to ground with the ball sitting up nicely and the goal at his mercy.
Wednesday should have taken the lead just after half time when the Reading defence pushed up and did not get the offside decision they were expecting leaving Manone confronted unprotected by a line of Wednesday attackers. Fortunately Joao poked the ball tamely into his hands when a goal appeared the most likely outcome. The game opened up and as more space appeared the ball was moved forward quicker by both teams. As the half unfolded Reading gradually took control of the game and looked more likely to find the crucial goal. Wednesday tried to hit Reading on the break but generally Reading’s defence contained their attack comfortably leaving Manone with very little to do.
There were spells when it was difficult to tell if Wednesday were sitting back or simply unable to get out of their own half under Reading’s pressure. Chances fell to both sides as full time approached. Barrow was unable to set himself to take advantage of a low cross and missed from close range in front of goal and Rhodes mistimed a header which drifted wide. Reading’s day was epitomised by Clements superbly hit goal bound shot from the edge of the box being blocked inadvertently by Aluko, presumably trying to get out of the way.
So Reading edge their way slowly away from the relegation zone and eight points from the last five games is by no means cause for alarm. No-one is more acutely aware of Reading’s need to improve their finishing than Jaap Stam and we can only hope funds will be made available for him to strengthen the attack soon. Goals seem particularly hard to come by at home but Reading have found the net nine times in the last five games. Again the home fans were disappointing. They had more to shout about than the vast and vociferous contingent of visiting fans and yet they were subdued and slow to encourage during the game when their team pressed forward. The few isolated boos at the end were clearly not deserved. I could not agree with Owls manager Carvalhal’s blinkered view of the match that his side were “more of a threat” than Reading. They were in fact lucky to escape with a point.
This Championship game took place 117 days ago in the 2017/2018 season.