Match Report: 2011/2012 Season

10 September 2011: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: -.
Watford: Yeates (12 mins), Eustace (51 mins).
Half Time: 0-1.

Attendance: 17,128

Pos Team P Pts GD
22 Birmingham 4 4 -2
23 READING 6 4 -3
24 Doncaster 6 1 -8
Reading: A Federici, A Griffin (H Robson-Kanu, 58), K Gorkss, A Pearce, J Mills, J McAnuff, M Leigertwood, J Kebe, J Karacan (S Cummings, 80), A Le Fondre, M Manset (S Church, 75).
Subs not used: B Gunnarsson, A McCarthy.
Watford: S Loach, L Doyley, M Taylor, C Dickinson, A Mariappa, M Yeates (T Deeney, 80), J Eustace, C Forsyth, J Hogg, M Sordell (J Garner, 75), A Weimann (C Iwelumo, 89).
Subs not used: D Mirfin, R Gilmartin.
Reading: Pearce, Manset.
Watford: Forsyth, Sordell.
Ref: James Linington.
With three new signings making their home debut against a team without a win so far this season, there was an air of optimism among the Reading fans before kick off in spite a poor run of results. What followed left everyone at the club feeling deflated if not demoralised. It was as poor a performance as I can remember. I think I would have go back as far as the Tommy Burns era in Division One for something as poor. It is unforgiveable for any team to fail to produce a single strike on target for the entire game - especially at home. The fans were incredibly patient but I suspect that patience will wear thin unless is a victory is achieved over bottom of the league Doncaster Rovers next Saturday at home.

Reading kicked off and immediately a sloppy pass was charged down resulting in Reading being forced back into their own half. It was encouraging to see a superb first touch from Le Fondre in the third minute but that was probably his best moment in the entire match. He was poorly served by his team but even so, looked lost and had little impact. Watford played neat short passes and closed Reading down quickly. Mills looked edgy at first and was too hasty an inaccurate with his passing. Pearce looked very slow and failed to win the ball in the air all afternoon. It was this weakness which cost Reading the first goal as he conceded a free kick after being turned far too easily on the edge of the box. Yeates curled the free kick past Federici. Almost immediately Federici did well to save and hold onto another Watford free kick. McAnuff exchanged passes well with Mills and produced a good cross to the far post where Manset was lurking but failed to reach. Karacan won a free kick in a good position which Mills struck well and saw his effort take a slight deflection sending it wide of the post. Reading began to settle and mount some pressure and Leigertwood should have equalised from a corner but he failed to make sufficient contact with his head and glanced the ball wide from close range. Manset still looks a bit raw but was at least showing an appetite for the battle and was giving the visitors defence something to think about. His was able to hold the ball, run with it, drawing defenders out of position, and won a number of balls in the air.

Early in the second half Watford scored the goal which killed the game off. Another clumsy challenge gave Watford a free kick which was half cleared. The ball fell kindly to Eustace in acres of space who smashed the ball in from a close range. The absence of a marking or a challenge is worth investigating. From that point Reading faded and never looked likely to score as Watford cruised to an easy three points.

Last season's back four were slow, but Griffin, Khizanishvili, Matt Mills and Harte are all comfortable in possession and used to hold onto the ball and build play from the back. This often allowed Reading to take control of the game. The back four today was far from comfortable on the ball and resorted too frequently to a long hopeful punt upfield. Furthermore, only Gorkss looked really convincing defensively. With Leigertwood looking a shadow of the player he was last season Reading were vulnerable. Last season, with Long up front, opposing defenders were never allowed to relax, and crucially, Long was often able to use a burst of speed or his strength the get behind the back four. Nobody looked likely to do that today. Kebe was too easily contained by Watford's defence as was McAnuff. Even more worrying is the lack of leadership. For example, we all knew the game was lost by the time added time was being played, but for the captain to hoof the ball aimlessly overhead upfield when there players available to pass to is unacceptable.

Next Saturday for third time in succession face a team below them in the league and without a win. If Reading fail to win, the words crisis and relegation will begin to play on the minds of the players and fans. Not only has there been a poor run of results but they have so far been playing mainly the weaker teams in the league. We know Brian Mc Dermott is the ideal manager to deal with this sort of situation, which is just as well because it seems to arise annually, but the squad seems to get slightly weaker every year making the challenge even greater.
John Wells

What an absolute pile of crap. We don't mind our team losing, they often do, but when that's combined with no effort or passion then the fans have every right to be fed up, to put it mildly. Yes it's early days but we are in deep trouble already. The team seem devoid of ideas, confidence and any imagination. No point having a go at the new players they all did ok and first thing McDermott should do is make Gorkss captain. Watford made us look truly dreadful and easily gained their first win of the season, I can't recall a worst Royals performance for many years. Nothing typifies the modern game than the players car park afterwards, as we trudged backed to our car in the car park , there was Manset laughing and joking with his mates with his poxy headphones around his neck as he got into his 100 grand matt black BMW... an ex Hereford striker still to make a significant contribution to the club. What's happened to football being a game of the working man and woman, and what's happened to Reading Football Club? At the moment it's as black as most of the players supercars.
Nick Newbury

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Reading slipped to a fourth straight defeat as Watford picked up their first Championship win of the season. Winger Mark Yeates opened the scoring in the 12th minute when he curled a 25-yard set piece over the wall and into the bottom corner. Mathieu Manset came close to an equaliser for the home side but headed over the top. And Hornets captain John Eustace sealed the points with a simple six-yard tap-in after 51 minutes. Reading defender Alex Pearce was caught in possession and when the ball was squared across the box, Eustace was free to score from close range - the midfielder's first goal since April. Reading rallied in the closing stages but failed to find the target, with midfielder Mikele Leigertwood shooting wide and Wales international Hal Robson-Kanu missing the target when well placed. The Royals have now collected just three points since selling striker Shane Long to West Brom at the start of August and have slipped into the bottom three.
BBC Sport