Reading FC Match Report: 2023/2024 Season - League One


READING 1 LINCOLN 1

Reading: T Bindon (83)
Lincoln: F Draper (72)

When Tyler Bindon nodded in Lewis Wing's corner seven minutes from time, it ensured justice was served in a match which Reading had outplayed a team heading for the play-offs on an unbeaten run of fifteen games. The late equaliser was nothing less than Reading deserved, not only because they were clearly the better side, but also because they had to overcome a Lincoln side who had throughout, persistently manipulated an extremely weak referee. With teams around them at the bottom of the league losing the point gained leaves Reading six points clear of the bottom four with four games remaining. Barring further intervention by the EFL it means Reading will almost certainly remain in League One next season.

Following a chastening away defeat against Bolton earlier in the week Ruben Selles brought Elliott, Yiadom and Mukairu into the starting eleven, leaving Ehibhatiomhan, Savage and Mola on the bench. After a typically slow and sloppy opening ten minutes Reading began to dominate the play as Wing increasingly influenced midfield. With Smith as always, engaging the opposing centre backs, Knibbs popping up in space in the box, and Azeez driving forward down the right, Reading were looking more likely to take the lead.

A brilliant pass from Wing sent Smith scampering into the box to cut back a cross to meet Elliot's well-timed near-post run. Closely marked, Elliottt got to it first, but his effort flew wide of the target. Mukairu wasted an opportunity to take advantage of finding space on the left by delaying his strike on goal as Reading pressure mounted.

On the half hour Reading were controversially denied a clear penalty when Knibbs won the ball on the right and found Azeez, who drilled a close-range strike straight at Jensen. Mukairu's goal-bound follow up attempt was blocked by the arms of the lunging Moylan on the line. The quick-thinking Moylan clutched his face and rolled around in front goal. The naive referee Alex Chilowicz bought it and allowed play to continue as Lincoln broke forward. When the Lincoln attack broke down Chilowicz halted play to allow Moylan to receive treatment for his fictitious facial wound as boos from the home fans echoed around the stadium. A Radio Berkshire post-match text from a fan reported Moylan had winked at the Reading fans behind the goal after he 'recovered'. Sadly, Lincoln tactically faked injury throughout the game and the referee didn't know how to deal with it. It hard to respect a team so intent on using such tactics so persistently.

The second half saw Reading continue to control the game, but as so often happens when you do not take your chances, Lincoln converted one of their four attempts on goal with just under twenty minutes remaining. Azeez was slow to close down outside the box, Roughan was given time to cross, Bindon allowed Draper to get in front of him to get his head on the ball and Pereira failed to get a 'strong hand' to the ball and palmed his attempt into the net.

It was harsh on a Reading defence, having managed restrict a team who had registered seventy-two goal, and scored twenty goals in their previous five matches, to just four attempts on goal in the entire match. Everyone does their bit off the ball. Mbengue is prone to the odd error, but his pace often rescues Reading at the back, and Bindon is simply outstandingly composed in possession and strong in the air.

Credit must also be given to Selles again for the players reaction to falling behind so late in the game. There was no hint of panic, or a reckless charge forward. Everyone just calmly got on with the job, continuing to have faith in their passing ability and movement to unpick their opponent's defence. On this occasion pressure brought a corner and Wing's cross found Bindon at the near post. There is confidence and belief in this squad and the home fans clearly appreciate what they are achieving.

John Wells

This League One game took place 54 days ago in the 2023/2024 season.