Reading FC Match Report: 2018/2019 Season - Championship


Reading: C Harriott (77)
Swansea: O McBurnie (2), C Roberts (30), M van der Hoorn (45), O McBurnie (pen 48)

Matters came to head this afternoon when Reading, in front of their own fans were humiliated by a useful, but nevertheless, mid table Championship side. You do not have to be genius to work out there are significant problems at Reading Football Club on and off the pitch, and not just this season. The underlying issue is that certain individuals within the hierarchy of the club with insufficient knowledge and understanding of the game are making decisions which are clearly in the long term not going to take the club in the right direction. The debate in the media typifies the absurdity of the situation the club now finds itself in. Clearly in November they felt the problem was the manager. Newly appointed Chief Executive Nigel Howe made his mark immediately. Paul Clement was blamed and then sacked for not producing the desirable results, ironically after his team had just begun to show signs of improvement.

Following Clements departure Scott Marshall (who did know about the squad) and Jose Gomes (who knows very little about the squad) have overseen an appalling run of results. Four defeats and two draws with only two goals scored with nine conceded leaving The Royals five points adrift of fourth from bottom Rotherham. Guess what now? The media have changed tack blaming the quality of the squad. Does that mean Clement was actually doing a decent job with a poor group of players? Draw your own conclusions. Certainly blame should not be allocated to the new manager but, valuable time has been lost as two new successive managers have experimented to find a solution. He may well put things right but today's performance is not very encouraging and time is running out.

There was an optimism which always accompanies the appointment of a new manger this afternoon which evaporated within two minutes as poor defending allowed Naugthon time and space to cross for McBirnie to head past Jaakkola with relative ease in spite of the presence of Ilori and O'Shea. Reading's confidence at that early setback was not too badly knocked although as the half progressed Swansea looked far slicker going forward taking full advantage of slack marking and the time and space on the ball it provided. Swift tested Mulder with a free kick from a good thirty yards but the City ‘keeper pushed it away. Aluko spun away from his marker but hoofed his shot extremely high and wide. City increased their lead after thirty minutes.

A poor clearance gave them possession wide on Reading’s left and the ball was worked inside before a lob over the back four was nodded down and scrambled in by Roberts. There were plenty of Reading players around to deal with the situation but the lack of response to the danger made it easy for City. City were now in complete control adding a third from free kick on Reading’s right which was floated over to the far post. Once again Reading’s defence went missing and Van den Hoorn, unchallenged, poked the ball past Jaakkola from close range.

With the result beyond doubt Reading carried on where they left off at the beginning of the second half. A stray pass conceded possession allowing City an early attack. McBirnie found himself with a lot of space in front of goal but the gangling City striker could not sort his feet out and Reading cleared the danger. He didn't have long to wait to compensate for his profligacy. Yiadom got his challenge on Routledge horribly wrong and McBirnie converted the resulting penalty to complete Reading's humiliation. From that point on City were content to sit back and allow Reading to pass the ball around in front of their defence. The substitutions made by both sides were all about giving everyone a run out. The only bright spot on a terrible afternoon for Reading was a nice finish from Harriot making his return to the team following an extremely long absence through injury.

It is painful for Reading fans to watch yet another manager find out where the strengths and weaknesses are in the squad whilst slipping ever closer to League One. For example, how many times is Aluko going to be recalled to the starting eleven and fail to come up with the goods? There are some really good players in the current squad but it is a little worrying when the team has to rely so heavily on such young player as Andy Rinomohota to hold midfield together. Jose Gomez made it clear in his post-match interview there will be significant outward movement of players in the near future, which is when we begin to find out if his judgment is sound. Let us hope it is. There is a lot riding on his ability to succeed.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 632 days ago in the 2018/2019 season.