Reading FC Match Report: 2018/2019 Season - Championship


READING 2 BRENTFORD 1

Reading: Y Meite (8), Y Meite (15)
Brentford: N Maupay (45)

Buoyed with confidence gained from a magnificent away draw against league leaders Norwich in midweek Reading raced into an early lead with two superbly taken goals from Yakou Meite in the opening fifteen minutes. Typically Reading settled for consolidating that lead instead of pushing on for third goal and almost paid the price after Brentford’s hopes were revived by a disastrous sequence of events just before half time which allowed Maupay to slot home his twenty-sixth goal of the season. The second half saw a familiar scenario for Reading fans as they watched their team hanging on desperately to claim three absolutely vital points. However, all is well that ends well, and it was a deserved victory overall although Reading made hard work of beating an average Brentford side they looked capable of blowing away before half time.

The opening fifteen minutes gave hope of not only remaining in the Championship but hinted of better things to come next season. Reading imposed themselves on the game, and before Brentford could get started Barrow sliced open their defence with a simple but perfectly weighted pass for Meite to run onto and calmly slip past the advancing Daniels. Oliveira was dominating play around the edge of the Brentford box with his touch and strength and Barrow should have increased Reading’s lead when Oliveira drilled the ball across the edge of the six yard box. Only Barrow will know how he failed to touch it into the empty net. The second goal came as Reading pressure mounted and Rinomhota drew a foul from Benrahma. Lewis Baker’s delivery to the near post was perfect, as was the timing of Meite’s run and header at the near post to guide the ball inside the far post. (Not the first time this season Meite has demonstrated his prowess in the air! It would not be an understatement to say that Reading were in complete control of the game.

As the half progressed Brentford began to enjoy more possession as the Royals took their foot off the gas. Baker was outstanding playing in his spot in front of the back four and set Oliveira free with a chance to extend the lead but with Meite ideally placed to complete his hat trick he opted to take the chance on himself and failed to make room for his shot. Reading had lost the intensity of their play in midfield. Ejaria over-elaborated, lost possession, and then got himself booked for a silly grab at Benrahma. Gunter was not having one his better games although he was exposed by a lack of cover at times. On the stroke of half time the referee failed to spot an infringement just inside the Brentford half and instead of awarding Reading a free kick he allowed Brentford to play on. Rinomhota had been caught out by the referee’s error and also received a yellow for pulling back Watkins. The problem was compounded by a rare goalkeeping error from Martinez who spilled Benrahma’s long range strike from the free kick (which was straight at him) and Maupay reacted as all good strikers do to pop the rebound into the net to ruin the home fan’s half time cup of tea.

Brentford boosted by the goal came out stronger in the second half and it was a much more open game. The first meaningful attempt on gaol came from Lewis Baker. Demonstrating tremendous skill and awareness he spotted Daniels off his line and struck the dead ball superbly and it took a very good save from the backpedalling ‘keeper to tip it over. There were plenty of promising situations for both sides but neither could find a finish. Meite headed just over, Maupay had a shot blocked and Reading’s defence was stretched at times. In spite of some good passing football Brentford were most dangerous from high balls pumped into the box from set pieces, but Miazga, Moore, and Oliveira dealt well with that threat effectively. Reading again found it difficult to get out of their own half, particularly as the front three began to look tired, Meite through effort, Oliveira through lack of fitness and Barrow just seemed to lack application – especially when Brentford were in possession.

Reading were not helped by a referee who failed spot some blatant pushes and shoves and an eagerness to wave cards at Reading players whilst allowing Brentford to deliberately handle the ball, and on one occasion (I think it was Maupay) to angrily grab Yiadom’s shirt around the neck, with impunity. Fourteen fouls by both sides and four yellows for Reading to Brentford’s one said it all. Anyway, as I said earlier – all’s well that ends well and justice was served as Reading held on for the win they deserved. I saw nothing to today which makes me doubt Reading’s ability to avoid the drop but it’s’ going to be close!

John Wells

This Championship game took place 11 days ago in the 2018/2019 season.