Reading FC Match Report: 2018/2019 Season - League Cup


READING 0 WATFORD 2

Reading: --
Watford: Isaac Success (37), Quina (62)

The gulf in class between the Premier League and the Championship was underlined this evening as Reading were eliminated from the Carabao Cup by a very good second string Watford team. Sloppy play provided Watford with two opportunities who full advantage with two well taken goals. The Premier League side controlled the game throughout and looked far more menacing around the box than Reading. The Royals could not be faulted for their effort and commitment but they were no match for a pacey, slick passing Watford.

Reading had a bright opening ten minute spell in which Meite unsettled the Watford back line and McNulty snatched at a half chance on the edge of the box and sent the ball high and wide. Watford soon settled in to their game and it was clearly going to take a good performance to get the better of them. They pressed Reading and attacked with such alarming pace Reading were unable to get a grip in midfield and were under pressure at the back. The best chances of the first half fell to Watford. It took a brilliant block from Moore and some resolute defensive work from Reading to keep the scores level. With half time approaching the sluggish Swift was dispossessed on the half way line and Watford sliced open the Reading defence with a sequence of passing which left Success with a tap in to give the visitors the lead. In reply Swift’s free kick was easily saved by Gomez and McNulty missed a decent chance when Swift slipped a good ball to Gunter who dug out a great cross form a very wide position. Having controlled Gunter’s cross, his next touch was less impressive, and his shot flew over the bar.

Paul Clement sensibly replaced Swift with Sims at half time to introduce some much needed pace on the right. It certainly helped sharpen Reading’s attack but without really throwing Watford out of their rhythm. The second crucial, and probably inevitable, goal was an absolute screamer by Quina from outside the box after sixty-two minutes. Closing players down is not the strongest feature of the current Reading side and ‘keeper Walker was given no chance as Quina was allowed to control and tee up his shot from distance. He is too good a player to be allowed that much time and space in that area and he punished Reading severely for doing so.

Clement’s substitutions resulted in a progressively more attacking formation as Baldock and Yiadom replaced O'Shea and Richards. Watford managed the game well from that point, keeping possession and wasting time at every opportunity. To their credit Reading had a real go at grabbing a consolation goal with Meite and Yiadom on the left and Sims on the right making the Watford back four work for their clean sheet. A sweeping move ended with Kelly lifting his shot over the bar but Gomez was never really tested. Walker made a smart save low to his left to keep the score respectable near the end but it always going to be Watford’s night.

Kelly and Swift struggled in midfield against a Watford midfield who were generally stronger, quicker and more skilful. Chalobah was the pick of the bunch. McNulty chased everything and the new signings generally all played with a plenty of willingness and desire. Paul Clement was disappointed with the quality of the performance. Let’s hope he can achieve some improvement and lift his team on Saturday. His job is not made any easier by Tim Dellor’s morose post-match summary and insistence on putting negative words in to the mouths of fans as they leave the ground. Radio Berkshire thankfully have Mick Gooding, who does know what he is talking about, and is trying to remain upbeat.

John Wells

This League Cup game took place 54 days ago in the 2018/2019 season.