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


Reading: Pogrebnyak (5 mins).
West Ham: --

In many ways this was an ugly game of football but you will not find many Reading fans complaining about the outcome. Reading continued to adopt the tactics which has now seen them concede only one goal in three games and pick up four valuable points. When Pogrebnyak gave Reading the lead after only five minutes, even the more optimistic Royals fans would not have believed their team could hold on to such a slender lead for so long. Earlier in the season Reading seemed incapable of holding on to a lead but things are very different now. In spite being under pressure for most of the second half, and being subjected to some extremely unpleasant treatment off the ball from Carlton Cole and Kevin Nolan, Reading defiantly repelled an ill-disciplined Hammers side. Referee Oliver had a shocking game. I can rarely remember so many free kicks being unjustly awarded against a Reading side or so many fouls against them going unpunished. In failing to deal with some blatant ‘off the ball incidents’ he was either too weak to deal with them or simply incompetent. He must have been the only person in the stadium who failed to spot potential red card offences in the second half as the Hammers frustration began to get the better of them.

Reading got off to a flying start when Collins stumbled and allowed Pogrebnyak to take possession forty yards from goal. The much maligned Russian answered his critics with a clinical finish, guiding the ball past the advancing Jaaskelainen. Jimmy Kebe was singled out for some rough treatment early in the game, probably partly due to memories of the way he toyed with their defence last season resulting in Collison seeing red for a wild lunge as Jimmy paused to pull his socks up. Chances were few in the first half, the best of which from the Hammers was a header tipped over the bar by Federici. Both teams had promising openings resulting from careless passing but none produced a clear sight of goal. Reading generally sat back and tried to hit the Hammers on the break. On one occasion I counted five players out wide on the right with only Pogrebnyak waiting in the box. The cross did not arrive. Karacan was the exception constantly looking to make runs from midfield deep into Hammers territory.

West Ham pressed hard for the equaliser in the second half and Reading struggled to get out of their own half. When they did break forward good openings were missed by because the ball was not moved quickly enough to take advantage of gaps in the Hammers defence. Leigertwood for example failed to spot two Reading players totally unmarked on the right as he broke out of the Reading half. Hammers pressure was beginning to build and Fedrici made an excellent save from Collison on sixty-five minutes. A minute later Karacan came agonisingly close to securing the points with a great strike which crashed against the bar. A Hammers goal looked imminent as Reading hoofed the ball clear but with only Pogrebnyak forward it came straight back at them. Brian McDermott wisely replaced Kebe, who was working hard but looking vulnerable defensively, with Robson-Kanu, and Guthrie with Hunt. Hunt played up alongside Pogrebnyak up front and eased some of the pressure on Reading’s defence by closing players down and winning headers. West Ham were pumping long balls and free-kicks into the Reading penalty area, and Reading hoofing the ball upfield. It was not a pretty sight. Vaz Te should have equalised but headed wide from close range. The replay was enjoyed and celebrated noisily three times by the home fans! The final phase of the game saw Reading successfully frustrate their opponents by keeping the ball in the corner, and their fans by conceding possession carelessly

The relief at the final whistle was clear in the reaction of players and fans alike. It has been long wait for the second win but it has arrived just in time to keep the season alive. It was a solid team effort but Pearce, Mariappa and Karacan were outstanding in their commitment.
John Wells

This Premier League game took place 2820 days ago in the 2012/2013 season.