Reading FC Match Report: 2020/2021 Season - Championship
READING 2 BARNSLEY 0
Reading: Y Meite (67), M Olise (76)
Reading took full advantage of two huge errors of judgement by Barnsley's centre backs to claim their second win of the season against a very organised and competitive Barnsley side. Having dominated the game for forty minutes Barnsley were reduced to ten men when Helik foolishly brought down Joao as the Reading striker chased down along ball. Ironically immediately before that incident Rinomhota had denied Barnsley a goal with an incredible block from Ludewig. Reading had rarely threatened the Barnsley goal up to that point but the numerical advantage allowed them to take more control in midfield. Mid way through the second half the ball bobbed around in front of the Barnsley goal following a Reading corner and Yakou Meite nodded the ball over the line from close range. A minute later Barnsley's other centre back, Anderson, decided to handle the ball outside his own box and received a second yellow card leaving the visitors down to nine men. That was pretty much game over. Olise put the result beyond doubt with an exquisitely executed volley from outside the box when the ball was cleared from a corner.
The result, for what it is worth, puts Reading at the top of the table on goal difference with a maximum of six points from two games, but it was a far from convincing performance. Barnsley played with a lot of energy and aggression, denying Reading time and space on the ball all over the pitch. In complete contrast to last week against Derby, Reading when pressed, were unable to string passes together and players on the ball made too many poor decisions in possession. Barnsley were dominating possession passing and moving well and certainly up until the sending off, looked the side most likely to score.
Joao looked isolated up front and received poor service form a brittle Reading midfield. Swift in particular was off the pace squandering possession incessantly. Only Araruna and Richards looked particularly comfortable on the ball and going forward. Barnsley’s four yellow cards and two reds reflected their over physical approach the game racking up a total of twenty fouls. They paid a heavy price for their lack of discipline although they could not be faulted for energy and commitment. In the end it took the direct approach of second half substitute Yakou Meite, returning from suspension, to unsettle the Barnsley defence and break the deadlock.
It is far too early to tell how this season will pan out but Reading have a good squad and a manager who clearly is intent of playing good football. A lot depends on how he can come to terms with the way football in played in the Championship. He will not be the first to struggle with that issue at Reading as we all know. Still, no-one can complain about maximum points and two clean sheets to kick the new season off.
This Championship game took place 131 days ago in the 2020/2021 season.