Reading FC Match Report: 2014/2015 Season - Championship


Reading: G Murray (44).
Blackburn: R Gestede (17), B Marshall (55), R Gestede (68).

On the night after Halloween, the horror results continued for Nigel Adkins and Reading FC as they suffered a 3-1 defeat to a resurgent Blackburn Rovers. The game took on a similar pattern for this season, as a fragile Reading crumbled in the second half after a promising first half performance.

Following the Blackpool win Adkins named three changes to the line-up. Jake Cooper replacing the suspended Michael Hector and, surprisingly, Jamie Mackie and Simon Cox making way for Jake Taylor and Nick Blackman. The changes to the team suggesting Adkins is still searching for his best team as he once again chops and changes personnel without any kind of tactical tweak.

The first half started with some early pressure from Blackburn and two early chances for Gestede but it was Reading who nearly took the lead on 5 minutes. An in swinging corner from Oliver Norwood finding Glenn Murray on the edge of the six yard box. His glancing header hitting the crossbar and bouncing away to safety.

There was a half chance for the disappointing Hal Robson-Kanu in the 8th minute but he managed to slice his shot wide. Robson-Kanu, I am sure, will become a big talking point for Reading fans whilst the team continue to struggle to find form. The promise he showed in the team’s last premier league season has failed to materialise into any consistent form since. Whether this is because of the injuries or the search on how to best adapt him into the side is unknown. It would seem best, certainly as Mackie, Cox and Blackman have shown to be more capable this season that until he can find some form his best position would be on the bench.

Blackburn managed to snatch the lead in the 17th minute. Reading unable to stop a cross at source allowed the dangerous Gestede to get in between Pearce and Cooper to power a header past Federici. Whilst the goal was a great finish Reading need to start working on how to prevent the cross from wide areas. Gunter and Obita whilst adding width when coming forward, need to improve their defensive duties if the team is not going to continue to suffer. Either that or Adkins needs to get the team covering the full backs forward forays. Surely the full backs primary responsibility is to prevent the wide players from throwing dangerous crosses into the Reading area?

With Blackman lively and Murray getting in good positions the Royals searched for a way back into the game. Murray saw a shot go inches wide in the 18th minute and Norwood went close with a shot from an Akpan lay off in the 30th minute. A good volley from Jake Taylor in the 38th minute brought a good save from the Blackburn keeper. Reading managed to go into the break level after a fine cross from an Obita forward run alluded the Blackburn back four and found the predatory Murray. Murray applied an easy finish into the back of the net. There seemed hope for Reading as the second half started but once again that hope was soon dispelled. A fine save by Federici from a Gestede header in the 53rd minute was in vain as he was left stranded from a sublime Ben Marshall free kick finish in the 54th minute. The free kick awarded controversially following a Hal Robson-Kanu foul.

With Reading struggling to muster the same response as in the first half and Blackburn pressing the Reading possession quicker, it seemed like only one team would win the game. It was no surprise, therefore, to see Blackburn extend their lead in the 68th minute. Gunter was turned inside out by a drive from the impressive Marshall, and again was unable to stop a cross which fell invitingly for Jordan Rhodes. Rhodes header cannoned back off the post and fell nicely for Gestede to smash home his second of the day.

The defensive record of the Royals is looking desperate now. Three goals conceded in five out of the last seven games suggesting that as a unit they are failing to learn from their mistakes. I am sure any team in the Championship will be looking at the Reading fixture knowing if they can score one then they will score more.

The next two home games now look very important for Adkins. They are games at the start of the season you would expect Reading to win but in current form you just don’t know. The return of Daniel Williams will be a massive boost. You would hope with his energy and commitment it would add a much needed piece of steel to the Reading midfield. However, anything less than four points will leave many people questioning Adkins tenure.
Dave Roberts

This Championship game took place 2382 days ago in the 2014/2015 season.