Reading FC Match Report: 2018/2019 Season - Championship


Reading: S Baldock (4), J Bodvarsson (70), A Yiadom (81).
Hull: --

Reading ended their run of home defeats with an impressive victory over struggling Hull City. The Royals were quick out of the blocks taking the lead through Baldock in the fourth minute when he pounced on a loose ball in the six yard box following a flicked header (from Ezatolahi I think) at the near post from a corner. The outcome was in the balance until Reading secured all three points with two superbly created and taken goals in the last twenty minutes. Reading were reduced to ten men for the last ten minutes when O’Shea was adjudged to have denied Hull substitute Martin a scoring opportunity with a mistimed challenge on the edge of the box, but it was too late in the game to threaten Reading’s secure grip on the game. It was a richly deserved and much needed result which lifted Reading out of the bottom three for the first time this season.

As promised Paul Clement made significant changes to the team which performed so poorly in midweek. Swift, Gunter and Aluko found themselves relegated to the bench to make way for Sims, O’Shea, and new signing Ezatolahi. The starting eleven hinted at a change of formation with three centre backs in the team but Clement stuck with the four-one-four-one set up as in recent games. Ilori moved across to right back to accommodate O’Shea, Ezatolahi occupied the holding midfield spot, and Baldock played wide on the left leaving Bodvarsson to lead the attack. It was by no means a rigid formation with players able to move freely around the pitch to good effect. The defence looked very secure. No unnecessary risks were taken and there was no hesitation in hitting the ball long when danger threatened. Yiadom in spite of his height disadvantage won everything in the air, and both he and Ilori were effective going forward. Ezatolahi showed promise in front of the back four but will need time to adjust to the pace of Championship football.

Reading’s early pressure yielded Baldocks’ opening goal and it looked for a while as if Hull might capitulate but somehow they kept Reading at arm’s length. On the half hour Baldock combined well with Bodvarsson whose goal bound strike was deflected for a corner. A minute later Bacuna tested Marshall with a well struck free kick from the edge of the box. Bodvarsson spurned a shooting opportunity when he took many touches as the city defence backed off allowing time for a challenge to deny him his chance to add to the score. Hull looked shaky but hung on and had their best chance of an equaliser in stoppage time at the end of the first half but an unmarked Irvine was clearly disappointed with his effort which flew over from close range.

Reading lost their grip in midfield at the beginning of the second half and it took a brilliant covering run and challenge by Ilori to snuff out danger at the expense of a corner. O’Shea’s lack of pace was exposed in the second half. A late challenge on the half way line resulted in a yellow card and a self-inflicted facial injury which required several minutes of treatment and a new shirt. Swift and Barrow replaced Baldock and Ezatolahi to freshen up the attack and Reading scored the crucial second gaol two minutes later. Slick passing from Barrow, Baldock and Yiadom worked an opening in the box for Bodvasson who kept his head and calmly placed the ball inside the post. Ten minutes later Reading put the game out of Hull’s reach. A clever penetrating ball from Kelly led to the ball reaching Yiadom on the penalty spot who skilfully made room for himself to beat Marshall with another composed finish. O’Shea completed an unhappy second half bringing down Martin and received a red card. Worrying that he was outpaced by Martin – hardly the quickest forward in the league! Reduced to ten men Reading showed admirable discipline and Hull were resigned to defeat long before the final whistle.

After such a poor performance against Norwich it was encouraging to see such an impressive response from the plyers and the manager. There was an energy about the performance today that was missing from Wednesday’s debacle. Sims and Yiadom were outstanding for their energy and intensity of their play and Ilori looked far more at home on the right. Baldock again worked his socks off and played a major role in maintaining the attacking momentum and unsettling the opposing back four. It was a performance that will put the squad in good spirits for a tricky away game at Brentford next week.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 735 days ago in the 2018/2019 season.