Reading FC Match Report: 2012/2013 Season - Premier League


Reading: S Morrison (35 mins), A Al Habsi (OG, 79 mins).
Wigan: J Gomez (58 mins, 68 mins, 90 mins).

You begin to wonder 'will they ever learn'. In exactly half our league games we have led and ultimately failed to hold on. The same mistakes are being made by the same players game after game and you could easily make a case for dropping half of the team. How long until the decision is made to drop the manager? Having firstly fallen out with and then subsequently been forced to recall his blundering goalkeeper, seemingly banished one of his big pre-season signings from the side in Danny Guthrie allied with the continuing mystery surrounding the absence of Alex Pearce it would be fair to say that McDermott has performed as poorly as his players in terms of abject failure to make the desired step up. With certain, poorly performing regulars being apparently undroppable, you wonder whether McDermott might disappear from the manager's office before the likes of Gorkss, Leigertwood or McAnuff are stood down from the side.

At Wigan, there was the perfect example of the 'Groundhog Game'. Lead conceded. Mistake from Federici. A catalogue of errors from Gorkss. Gunter playing too narrow and affording the opposition time and room to exploit and punish us. Central midfield pairing unable to retain any meaningful possession. Little danger of scoring a goal from open play. We are around a third of the way through the season and still it seems that certain underperforming, mistake-making players are still guaranteed a place in the side every week. Will Anton Zingarevich - who broke months of silence to bask in some reflective glory of a rareified victory the previous week - be as forgiving towards poorly performing employees as McDermott is? Predictably, the same side which finally popped their Premier League cherry albeit in somewhat fortunate circumstances the previous week were to start, despite that result looking like woodchip wallpaper over some gaping cracks. At Reading FC, the damp is the only thing rising these days.

Reading had already survived two very near misses before taking the lead to which we have become accustomed and almost indifferent about these days. Beausejour on the Wigan left flank was treated by Reading as if he had a contagious disease throughout, with Gunter standing so far off the Latics winger that he was almost in Yorkshire all afternoon. A Kone header from a left wing cross was nodded wastefully wide by Kone, easily identifiable for his luidicrous bleach blonde hair but still the dithering Gorkss was unable to pick his man and instead chose to mark thin air. Gunter was involved in his most telling contribution of the afternoon midway through the half, almost slotting neatly into his own net trying to break up a Wigan attack and was indebted to Shorey who calmly swept the ball clear from the goalline with Federici - as so often this season - well beaten. In between these two escapes, a well worked Reading freekick saw Le Fondre plunge a header wastefully into the side netting and it was from another dead ball ten minutes before the break that Reading took a familiarly shortlived advantage. The foul on Robson-Kanu - who somehow managed to be busily ineffective throughout - was a generous award by referee Webb but a gorgeous delivery from Shorey was met by a firm header by Morrison which found the net. In my report from the QPR game I spoke of how these two caused Rangers a problems with our set pieces and again I reiterate that Shorey's quality is one of very few positive points which might indicate a revival in this desperate season.

A half time lead probably flattered Reading. Gomez led Gorkss in a Fandango and wastefully smashed well over shortly before half time and barely a minute into the second half more alarm bells were ringing when Leigertwood was caught in possession, Gomez fed substitute Di Santo and his shot was parried by Federici. Reading were becoming overrun, the hosts passing game was becoming more fluent and the inevitable equaliser came barely fifteen minutes into the start of a second half where Reading barely managed to string three passes together. Morrison gave away possession this time, wastefully and high up the pitch which created gaps. With Gunter nowhere to be seen, Di Santo was able to pick out Gomez who got ahead of Shorey covering for Morrison. Tame effort. Spilled. Equaliser. Federici demonstrated his own brand of ineptitude a minute later in spilling another effort, this time from Stam. Fortunately no-one was closing in this time, but a further capitulation seemed only a matter of time and a position of half time strength had long since been given away, the momentum with the home side.

A Tabb penalty shout seemed a stonewall one, but given the two which Everton had turned down the previous week we can hardly complain of poor fortune in that department. Le Fondre brought the best out of Al Habsi - whose star moment was yet to come - with a flicked header as Reading rallied but it was the least convincing comeback since Ricky Hatton stepped back into a boxing ring. Midway through the half, Beausejour from the left gave Di Santo a tap-in with Gorkss - as ever - trailing in his wake. The linesman's flag saved us for around sixty seconds. The gaps in the Reading 18 yard box were somehow even more telling than those in the sparsely populated DW Stadium stands as another deep cross from the left hand side was converted by the head of Gomez, who found himself isolated in a country mile of space between Morrison and Gorkss. With the game seemingly going away from us a huge slice of luck came our way; Roberts attempted to bulldoze his way into the box and his efforts allowed a speculative attempt from HRK which deflected and ballooned into the moist Lancashire sky and fell to ground through the gloves of Al Habsi and bounced over the line. An ill-deserved equaliser and we only had ten minutes in which to hold out for a point to keep us in touch with Wigan and the other relative paupers on the precipice at the foot of the Prem.

That we survived into injury time owed much to another slice of fortune as Gomez's scuffed effort was somehow kept out the tumbling Morrison following break resulting from a quite superb sliding tackle from Kaspars Gorkss.....on Mikele Leigertwood. The deserved Wigan winner came late and was gifted by a loose pass from Shorey, Leigertwood failing to win the ball back which allowed Gomez to play Kone in to the side of the pitch allegedly covered by Gunter. The ball into the box was swept home by Gomez, ghosting in utterly untracked. When you away goals of the type we routinely concede week in week out then moans about penalties not awarded tend to ring very hollow.
Neil Maskell

This Premier League game took place 3666 days ago in the 2012/2013 season.