Reading FC Match Report: 2022/2023 Season - Championship


Reading: J Hendrick (28), J Hendrick (42)
QPR: T Roberts (66), T Roberts (80)

An extremely poor decision by referee Darren Bond just after half time almost certainly cost Reading a win they arguably didn't deserve. Shortly after the interval Shane Long burst in to the Rangers box and was brought down from behind by a clumsy challenge with the goal at his mercy. Long may not have scored, Reading might not have converted the penalty, but either way they were denied the chance to take a three goal lead by a referee's mistake. A third goal would have been almost certainly enough to secure a home win. It doesn't help to dwell on such things but neither should they be completely ignored.

Rangers will be equally justified in claiming they deserved at least a point for their efforts particularly after falling behind by two goals in a strange first half. Reading opened brightly and Rangers struggled to clear an Ince cross and had an early sniff of goal as the ball bobbled around in front of goal. Rangers then quickly settled into their rhythm and threatened to dominate the game. They were quicker to close down and to pick up any loose balls the middle of the pitch, of which there were many, as Reading’s passes constantly failed to reach their intended target. Fortunately for the Royals, Rangers’ couldn’t find a way though their defence in spite some impressive passing and movement going forward. A clever flick by Dykes drifted just past the post was the closest they came to scoring in the first half.

Gradually Reading managed to string some passes together and took the lead in spectacular fashion. Jeff Hendrick has struggled on occasions this season with his technique when striking the ball at goal from distance, but in the twenty-eighth minute he drilled a superb effort just inside the post from outside the box giving Dieng no chance whatsoever. Reading were now in the ascendency and Long came close to adding a second. Dickie deflected his attempt over for corner. Rangers responded well, but three minutes from half time Yiadom’s fine strike was parried upwards by Dien and Hendrick was lurking at the far post to tap into the empty net.

The second half was a very different story. After referee Bond had decided it was acceptable for a Rangers defender to bring down Shane long from behind when he was clean through on goal, Rangers dominated possession forcing Reading to sit back and soak up pressure. Paul Ince decided to fortify his defence with the introduction of Scott Dann and Tom McIntyre, a strategy which clearly did not work. Rangers pulled a goal back three minutes later. Tyler Roberts exposed the lack of mobility, and slack marking, in Reading’s centre back trio. Holmes was turned easily by Roberts, and neither Dann, or Sarr were sufficiently nimble to prevent the Rangers striker from driving the ball inside the far post.

A good save from Lumley denied Rangers an equaliser, but Reading were looking distinctly shaky at the back. Ince’s last throw of the dice to stem the flow of Rangers’ onslaught was equally ineffective. What was desperately required was a forward to hold the ball up to take pressure of the Reading defence. On came Joao and Meite to replace the injured Carroll and Long. Sadly neither were able to fulfil that role. Meite to his credit, as always, brought energy and threat to the attack. Joao however was totally anonymous. Surely the now fit Azeez should be on the bench too offer something different up front.

The inevitable equaliser came as Reading lost their way completely. Sarr failed to get his head to a cross at the far lost and when the ball fell to Roberts in the six yard box there was only going to be one outcome. The remaining ten minutes of the ninety, and an additional six minutes, were nail-biting for Reading fans who watched their team scrap for a point for which they were eventually grateful.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 518 days ago in the 2022/2023 season.