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


READING 0 SOUTHAMPTON 2

Reading: --
Southampton: J Rodriguez (34 mins), A Lallana (72 mins).

The sun shone on the Madejski Stadium today and the impetus provided by the appointment of a new manger gave Reading lift. Certainly the Royals started brightly enough creating three good chances to take an early lead, but when the visitors went ahead against the run of play, confidence visibly drained away and they slumped to an eighth consecutive defeat. Any doubt that Reading’s league position is entirely attributed to the quality of the playing squad, was finally removed with this performance and result. Brian McDermott worked miracles with these players but they were never going to be good enough to survive at this level. Nigel Adkins was warmly welcomed by both sets of fans but he has the monumental task of seeing out this season and laying the foundations of what will surely be another Championship campaign next season.

Adkins re-shuffled his team, making five changes from the previous game. It was a team selected to compete at a higher tempo with Karacan, Guthrie and Akpan at the heart of midfield. It worked for a while, and for the first time in ages Reading dominated possession in the first half. Mariappa and Morrison got on the end of good crosses from Guthrie. Although Morrison’s effort was handsomely wide, Boruc had to produce a good save to keep out Mariappa’s well-directed attempt. In between those attempts an excellent scoring opportunity was wasted by Le Fondre of all people. There were also loud appeals for a penalty when Robson-Kanu, who looked sharp, was felled in the box. Having soaked up a fair amount of pressure, a simple ball dropped in behind the Reading back four gave Rodriguez the chance to put Southampton ahead. Federici was a fraction too slow off his line to do anything about it and got clattered for his efforts. A shaken Royals defence were all at sea and almost immediately conceded a second. Fortunately this time when Rodriguez breached a very square defence his shot crashed against the bar.

Akpan limped through the final minutes of the first half and was replaced at half time by Leigertwood. It was the first of three substitutions which had little impact on the game except Hunt did actually win one of the many long balls punted up from the back four. Southampton took complete control of the second half and sealed the victory with a goal which exemplified everything Reading are unable to do – pass accurately and move into space. A statuesque back four did not even get close to Lallana as he strolled into the box and beat an exposed Federici. Reading chased and closed players down but when they did manage to win the ball they squandered possession far too easily and quickly. There were a few appeals when Le Fondre flicked a header goalwards and Boruc gathered the ball very close to, or possibly over, the line. I don’t think it would have mattered much if it had gone in. It was depressing to see just about every Reading player resort to clumping the ball hopefully forward. Reading fans have developed a habit of leaving early but even by their standards the ground was incredibly empty long before the end. The true Reading fans stayed to the bitter end and even managed a chorus of “Reading ‘til I die”. No doubt they will be the fans renewing their season tickets at the end of the season come what may.
John Wells

This Premier League game took place 2235 days ago in the 2012/2013 season.