Reading FC Match Report: 2019/2020 Season - Championship


READING 1 NOTTM FOREST 1

Reading: T Figueiredo (og 90+7)
Nottm Forest: B Watson (90+6)

In a frantic final two minutes of added time Reading fell behind to a controversial goal then dramatically snatched a thoroughly deserved point when Figueirido defected Jordan Obita's superb cross in to his own net. The sense of injustice over Forest's goal was more than matched by the euphoria of Reading's immediate reply. It had been a very good game between two sides looking to extend their winning run. Something had to give, and in the end a draw was a fair result.

Forest dominated the first half as a sluggish Reading side struggled to find the form which had seen them win four games in succession. The visitors carved Reading apart with their pace going forward and slick passing. Meite went on a surging run to provide Baldock with a sight of goal but his effort was blocked, but from that point Reading struggled to get out of their own half. Forest pressure produced four corners in the opening ten minutes. There was bit of an edge to the game sparked by a late challenge by Sow on Charlie Adam. Charlie provided the appropriate verbal reprimand which should have come from referee Dean Whitestone. Sow, given license by the referee, went on to persistently commit fouls throughout the game whilst six other players received yellow cards for far less. Interestingly over the entire match, Forest committed almost twice as many fouls as Reading (ten to nineteen) but Reading received twice as many yellow cards (four to two).

Reading had bigger issues to consider than the quality of refereeing in a half in which they were on the back foot most of the time, squandered possession with some poor passing, and rarely looked like creating anything going forward. Reading’s defence has been consistently solid in recent games and it had to be so again for most of the first half. Adam may lack pace but he got back to make a brilliant block in the box to deny Forest. Adam and Ejaria played wide on the left while Swift was having a poor game in the centre of midfield. Baldock was isolated up front most of the time but looked sharp when he was called into action. Slowly Reading began to edge their way in to contention. Ejaria slipped a nice ball through to Meite who struck a first time effort well forcing Samba to save with his legs. Adam almost surprised everyone just before half time with a rasping volley from a tight angle which flew just over the bar. The way things were going a Forest win was looking the most likely outcome.

Reading were out of the blocks with a flying start after the interval. The transformation was remarkable. Charlie Adam moved in to a more central position and his impact in terms of passing and leadership inspired his team and roused the crowd. Now it was Forest who could not get out of their own half as Reading streamed forward playing with a fluency and confidence completely absent during the first forty-five minutes. Swift, Ejaria, and Adam clicked into gear, and with Blackett and Gunter getting forward to good effect, Forest were on the ropes. It was Blackett who came close to opening the scoring when his well-timed run was picked out by Ejaria. He continued his run onto the box, made room for a shot. His composed strike beat Samba but came back off the post. On a rare counter attack ex-Royal Grabban took advantage of a stumble by Morrison to break clear of the defence but a brilliant piece of goalkeeping from Raphael pushed him wide and his attempt to curl the ball into the unguarded net was dealt with comfortably on the line by Moore. At the other end Samba foiled Morrison with his legs again when the ball fell kindly to him from a corner. Reading were now looking more likely to go on and win the game as Forest tried everything to slow the game down to relieve the pressure.

The game went into five minutes of stoppage time and both sides seemed happy to keep the point they had earned. As the five minutes elapsed the ball went out of play at the Reading end. Neither the referee nor his assistant looked sure what to give, so Mr Whitestone somewhat arbitrarily decided to give a corner. From the corner the ball appeared to cross the line for a goal kick but was hooked back in to play by Forest forward and it fell to Watson to drill home for what appeared to be a cruel (from a Reading perspective) winning goal. The celebrations of the Forest team and their fans were understandably over the top, only surpassed by the ecstatic response by the home players and fans to the own goal Forest conceded immediately following the restart. Justice had been served. Only the referee knows where the additional time came from for all this late drama but from a Reading point of view – who cares! This result is further evidence of the confidence and resolve which Mark Bowen has somehow managed to instil in a squad which a short while ago seemed destined to be fighting a season long relegation battle.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 184 days ago in the 2019/2020 season.