Reading FC Match Report: 2022/2023 Season - Championship


Reading: --
Sheff Utd: I Ndiaye (60)

Turning up on a bitterly cold evening to watch your team take on a team occupying an automatic promotion spot at this stage of the season, especially after a heavy away defeat at the weekend, was a significant test of loyalty and commitment for Reading fans. In return, those that did make the effort, deserved better in terms of the result. They were rewarded however, by a very good performance from their team in terms of loyalty and commitment. Sometimes you do not get what you deserve and on this occasion Reading clearly deserved a point.

I always take statistics with pinch of salt but this evening they told a story. After mustering only three shots (with none on target) on Saturday The Royals registered twelve goal attempts (four more than the visitors) with three on target (compared to United’s four). Reading were not helped by an exceptionally weak and lenient referee who issued only two yellow cards (both against Reading) and did not come even close to allowing sufficient stoppage time to compensate for the now obligatory ‘fake’ injury time fiasco by United throughout the second half. The referee also allowed an inordinate amount of time for United to celebrate their goal and for their team to gather on the half way line to enjoy a celebratory drink! I would not suggest the referee cost Reading the game but he certainly gave United a little more help that they needed.

The game started a tremendous pace as the visitors were quick and penetrative in their running and passing. Reading could easily have crumbled but they were clearly up for the fight on this occasion. United for all their incisive play could not find a chink in the Reading defensive armour. Tom Ince was again the first Reading player willing to take on the United defence and get a shot away in the sixth minute but dragged it wide of the post. McBirnie got his head to a Basham cross at the far post. Yiadom in spite of his lack of height, prevented McBirnie from getting in a clean header, and Lumley was able to gather his attempt easily. Ince had a shot blocked and Berge drew a save from Lumley. Carroll missed the target with a header from a good cross from Yiadom. Ince came closest to opening the scoring just before the interval with a good strike which flew just wide of the upright. Whilst United had territorial advantage, Reading looked more threatening on the break.

Reading had certainly withstood The Blades early onslaught I the first half and early in the second half seized the initiative. Carroll missed with a header and had a fairly feeble shot from outside the box easily saved by Foderingham. Yiadom had shot blocked as Reading began to test the United back four. The mood was changing as Reading began to look as if they believed they might produce an unexpected result, and then United took the lead against the run of play.

When presented with ample time and space to play the ball in behind the United defence Guinness-Walker could not decide the best passing option and gave the ball away on the halfway line. United quickly took advantage of the error. Bogle slid a ball through the Reading defence and McBirnie timed his run to perfection reaching the ball on the goal line just before it ran out of play and cut it back to Nydiaye, who also timed his run to the near post perfectly, and tucked his chance away under pressure from Holmes. It was a very good goal.

Reading might have levelled the score if they had been given the correct amount to do so, but five minutes of stoppage time was not sufficient. As it happens they came very close. Yiadom hit a tremendous shot which had Foderingham at full stretch, the ball flying just wide. The United ‘keeper tipped over a powerful header by Carroll from a superb Guinness-Walker cross. There just time for Lumley to foil sub Billy Sharpe from putting an undeserved two goal gloss on a United win, but that would have been unjust.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 20 days ago in the 2022/2023 season.