News and Views

Another Home Defeat To Nil

28 February 2015
By Hob Nob Anyone?

It felt as if it was business as usual at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon as Steve Clarke reverted to his favourite starting eleven - but again saw them lose at home without scoring. Reading's home form is now atrocious after they have failed to score in three consecutive home defeats. It was Reading's second straight 0-3 reverse and saw the hard work of some recent away wins undone as the Royals slipped back to 18th in the table.

After the poor showing at Huddersfield in mid-week Clarke thought it best to shuffle the team around once more and recall his preferred starting eleven. That saw Cox and Pogrebnyak back up front with McCleary and Robson-Kanu back wide. Chalobah and Williams were in midfield and Chris Gunter returned at right back, after recovering from injury, to force Kelly onto the subs bench. Jake Taylor and Hope Akpan who both started on Tuesday night weren't even on the bench, and Yakubu was back to his role of coming on with twenty minutes left to play.

Visitors Nottingham Forest were probably worthy winners in the end but there was plenty of familiarity in the way the game went. Reading had the better of the first half and looked well placed for the second half, but then went a goal down not long after the break after a goal from nothing caught Federici off guard. They never really recovered from that goal and Forest were able to make the most of another defensive mistake and another error in placement from Federici to wrap up a win that, in the end, was straight forward. Forest's first and third strikes were spectacular long range screamers that flew into the roof of the net but Federici will surely feel disappointed not to have done better with such long range shots.

The first half had been much brighter. The atmosphere was much improved - helped in the North East corner by some bizarre stewarding targeting two fans for simply occasionally standing up, singing, and trying to enjoy themselves. The incident provoked a reaction from the fans as the stewards backed down and the resulting atmosphere was unusually good for this part of the ground. Reading had a few chances down the other end and won a couple of corners. From one corner Pogrebnyak headed just over. Simon Cox had chances after breaking into the area but his shots failed to find the target. Gareth McCleary was having a good game with some fast forward runs littered with step overs that looked like they might create some openings.

All that promise quickly faded in the second half. Federici made an excellent save before the mistakes returned for Reading. Reading still had the better of the possession but went from being in control to chasing a game they looked unlikely to get back into. Pogrebnyak found the side netting and had one decent effort saved, but Reading's shots were severely restricted.

Forest were excellent in defence and Reading found a packed area with no way through. Several attacks broke down as they were forced to put the ball out wide again with no options in the middle. Forest made it look easy down the other end and after their first it really felt as if the result was never in doubt. It does look like yet more changes are required to give Reading a chance of picking up what are quickly becoming vital league points. Bolton are the next trip for Reading on Tuesday night and it's very difficult to imagine us picking up points before what could be further embarrassment at Bradford next weekend.

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