Reading FC Match Report: 2020/2021 Season - Championship


Reading: O Ejaria (34)
Barnsley: A Mowatt (pen 61)

With a little over fifteen minutes remaining, in a game that had degenerated into an ugly scrappy spectacle Lucas Joao was presented with a golden opportunity to give Reading an extremely valuable away win. Only he will now why he failed to roll the ball into an empty net with Barnsley ‘keeper stranded. It is remarkable how such a talented player has declined to extent even the simplest finish seems to be beyond him. Reading may well pay dearly for the loss of two pints today come the end of the season.

Barnsley have been on a very good run recently which has seen them rise into contention for a place in the play-offs so it was clearly going to be a tough game. Getting kicked off the park has become a regular occurrence this season and today was no exception as they were on the receiving end of nineteen fouls, plus as usual, a few that the referee missed. Barnsley’s press was suffocating and the intensity of their opening onslaught kept Reading pinned in their own half for long periods. Barnsley’s dominance did not produce any real threat the Reading’s well drilled defence. For all their energy Barnsley lacked quality in their passing and tended to lump the ball into the box and scrap for it, a tactic which didn’t work on this occasion.

The first real chance of the game fell to Meite who won the ball on the halfway line, but with only the ‘keeper to beat, made a horrible mess of his shot and the ball was woefully off target. Reading produced the only moment of attacking quality of the first half after thirty-four minutes. Andy Rinomhota from deep in his own half dropped a long ball behind the Barnsley defence and Ejaria ran onto it. His first touch was exquisite and his second was a cool finish from the edge of the box. Reading’s cause was not helped when a recurrence of Morison’s hamstring injury forced him off just before half time.

Barnsley brought on the muscle for the second half in the form of Dike who turned out to be fairly harmless and Reading began to put together some passes in the Barnsley half. There were still few moments of god football as Barnsley tended to lump the ball forward at every opportunity and Reading tried to pass their way through midfield occasionally but were equally risk averse and launched the ball over midfield for safety’s sake. The ball spent a lot of time in the air as the ball was kicked and headed back and forth without much purpose.

After sixty minutes Andy Yiadom was spotted wrestling with Styles in the box. It was a silly and unnecessary challenge and it cost Reading the lead. Mowatt drove the ball straight at Raphael who obligingly just managed to get out of the way. Reading had the chance to restore their lead after seventy-three minutes but Joao’s remarkable miss let Barnsley off the hook. The referee penalised Joao for being offside and then awarded he free kick inside the Reading half in his own half which was somewhat puzzling to say the least. Raphael came for the ball from the kick and dropped it under pressure. Thankfully Anderson poked the ball against the post and Moore cleared off the line. Raphael had looked shaky under pressure all afternoon.

It was a gritty performance from the Royals and there is still everything to play for, but they are running out of games to pick up the points required to secure a top six finish.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 117 days ago in the 2020/2021 season.