Reading FC Match Report: 2020/2021 Season - Championship


Reading: L Joao (pen 16), M Morrison (53)
Nottm Forest: --

Reading marked the fans return to the Madjeski Stadium for the for the first time in nine months with a comfortable home win curtesy of goals from Lucas Joao and Michael Morrison. There may have only been two thousand fans inside the ground but that was enough to generate the match day atmosphere Reading fans and players have been missing for such a long time. Manager Veljko Paunovic came on to the pitch to greet the fans before kick-off and was given an understandably warm reception. Only sixteen minutes had elapsed before Reading scored the first goal witnessed by home fans since the first lockdown in March. Having been denied three penalties, and experienced unpunished red card offences against them in their previous game, referee Gavin Ward redressed the balance when Yates was his hand to clear a Holmes header off the line. Ward was sent off and Joao calmly slotted home his fourteenth goal of the season. It was just the start Reading needed the mark the occasion.

After a tentative start Reading sparked into life. Richards found Joao in the box but he was slow to react and the ball was cleared. Meite cut inside from the right and Forest ‘keeper Samba had to react quickly to beat away his powerful strike. Reading were making the early running but it was Forest who Forest almost took the lead. A needless foul by Laurent gave the visitors a free kick inside the Reading half and Knockaert’s delivery found Lyle six yards from goal. He struck the ball well but Raphael pulled off a remarkable save to keep it out. Rinomohta went past Knockaert who, clearly miffed, finally brought him at the third attempt. From the free kick Samba, who failed to catch anything in the entire match, was beaten to the cross by Holmes and Yates unwisely helped his ‘keeper out by preventing it from crossing the line with his hand. Joao is not the easily unsettled by opponents and was certainly not fazed by the Forest player's attempts to delay the kick. After his short composed run up, Samba committed to his right, and Joao placed the ball to his left.

Down to ten men, Forest had few chances to break out of their own half, and Reading enjoyed a lot of possession without creating too many scoring opportunities. Meite spurned a great chance to double the lead on twenty minutes. Olise slid him a perfect pass behind the defence, but having turned the defender, he lashed the ball miles over the bar. Reading were making hard work of prising open the Forest defence. With such a small crowd it was easy to hear what the players were saying and Moore hit the nail on the head when he urged his team to ‘move it quicker!’ There were blocked shots and headed attempts which lacked power but the second goal was not looking likely.

It took until the fifty-third minute for Reading to remove the nagging if doubt of an unlikely equaliser.

Olise’s free kick was blocked, and his strike which immediately followed, was saved and went for a corner. Olise then drilled in the corner which Morrison guided firmly past Samba to kill the game off completely. Reading continued to dominate possession without really testing Samba as a rash of substitutions and free kicks disrupted the flow of the game. A couple of minor squabbles handled badly by the referee, who up to that point had been unnoticed (usually a good sign), resulted in yellow cards for Cafu and Richards. Forest broke away a couple of times but the tireless Rinomohta was always alert to the danger and covered huge distances to snuff out the danger. His role, alongside Laurent, are the foundations of this Reading’s success this season and deserving of greater recognition.

Olise on the other hand is drawing a lot of attention and rightly so. He is an elegant player who glides around the pitch delivering great passes and keeping possession for his team. He is not the finished article yet, and neither would you expect him to be at his age, but he has tremendous potential. He probably needs to give more thought in to what he does without the ball, and showboating is certainly something to leave well alone because it has a habit of coming back to bite you! Lolley made that point without too much venom, dumping him on the ground after the ball had gone following his series of step overs shortly before he was substituted.

Reading now seem back on track with seven out of nine points from their last three games. This afternoon they didn’t need to get out of second gear to pick up the points. Forest were poor and on this form are going to struggle this season. Next up Birmingham City fresh from their away win at Bristol City, and I am looking forward to a home game under the lights against significantly tougher opposition.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 235 days ago in the 2020/2021 season.