Reading FC Match Report: 2015/2016 Season - Championship
READING 1 BRENTFORD 2
Reading: G McCleary (58)
Brentford: R Woods (17), S Canos (72).
Reading suffered their second defeat in three days at the hands of a very well organised and determined Brentford side. There was no lack of effort from Reading, but Brentford were strong defensively and took full advantage of Reading’s defensive lapses. Having recovered from conceding after seventeen minutes with a McCleary equaliser just after half time, Canos burst through a stretched back four to hammer the winner past Bond. Any hope of a late reprieve was extinguished when Hector was harshly punished with a second yellow with a couple of minutes plus stoppage time remaining for taking a tumble in the box under a challenge from a Brentford defender. The defeat continues Reading’s remarkable slump in form making it six defeats in the last seven games.
The arrival of Brian McDermott had clearly lifted the mood of Royals fans, and his team had the visitors on the back foot with some direct and spirited attacking play in the opening fifteen minutes. Robson- Kanu ran Tarkowski ragged with his skill, strength, and pace in the opening minutes and the Brentford centre back was cautioned for his rugby tackle on the Reading striker. Reading looked likely to open up the visitors defence every time they attacked particularly down the left with Quinn getting forward and Ola John going past defenders with ease. John almost made room for a shot but was closed down very quickly, Robson-Kanu muscled his way into the box but his shot was blocked by Button, and Blackman struck his free kick just over the bar. The bubble of enthusiasm was punctured quite suddenly, and against the run of play when Woods was allowed to run through the Reading midfield unchallenged and as the defence backed off the he scored a spectacular goal from just outside the box. Great goal, but awful defending. Reading continued to press forward but lacked the cutting edge to convert pressure into goals. Reading tried without success to pass their way through the centre of Brentford defence on more than one occasion. Although the was no lack of effort form Reading, Piazon was often not strong enough in possession and I was disappointed to see Blackman opting out of potential physical challenges. On the stroke of half time, much to Brentford’s relief, Ola John went down with a hamstring injury and did not come out for the second half. It was not the only change at the interval as Robson-Kanu, apparently due to fatigue, was also withdrawn.
Vydra and McCleary came on for the second half and soon made an impact. McCleary did not settle immediately with some sloppy passing and Vydra missed an absolute sitter when Quinn delivered a brilliant ball to the far post heading the ball down and up onto the bar from a couple of yards. However, on fifty-eight minutes they produced a superb equaliser with McCleary finishing clinically when Vydra slipped a perfectly timed and weighted pass behind the Brentford defence. At that point the game could have gone either way as the game became more open. Hector carelessly lost possession on the half way line leaving himself out of position and was grateful to McShane for his absolutely brilliant tackle to prevent Vibe from scoring as he took full advantage of the gap created by Hector’s absence. Piazon seemed destined to score when he drifted skilfully through the Brentford defence but sadly he scuffed his shot and Button gathered the ball comfortably. On seventy-two minutes Canos demonstrated how it should be done, weaving his way through the Reading defence to finish well for what proved to be the winner. Liburd was surprisingly used ahead of Sa and he did not look quite ready for the challenge with a couple of heavy touches poor technique when presented with a good chance sending the ball high and wide of the target. Poor technique was not only affecting the inexperienced as Norwood picked out McCleary with a good pass but his touch was so poor the chance was lost.
It was a bad day all round for Reading. No points, Hector suspended, and Ola John out with a relatively long term injury. Brian McDermott must be wondering, as did Steve Clarke, what his best starting eleven might be. His first task seems to be as he indicated in his post-match interview is to instil a sense of teamwork and collective responsibility. That doesn’t happen overnight.
This Championship game took place 690 days ago in the 2015/2016 season.