Reading FC Match Report: 2019/2020 Season - Championship


Reading: --
Huddersfield: --

After the deluge of goals on Saturday I suppose this evening's drought was predictable. Huddersfield, desperate for points, came into the game in positive and purposeful mood. The threat of relegation does tend to focus the mind, and to be fair to Huddersfield they passed the ball quite well, dominated possession, and put Reading under pressure at times. However the way Reading are set up now, they are very difficult to break down and didn’t really look in trouble at any stage. By the end Huddersfield were running down the clock happy to take a point, and Mark Bowen had made some positive changes in bringing on Boye, McCleary and Olise to try to win the game. A draw however always looked on the cards.

Reading’s most significant weakness, the absence of good strikers in the squad, was again evident in this fixture. Sadly Puscas was again very ineffective, failing to hold the ball up or show any real willingness compete for anything played up to him. Meite could not reproduce the form he showed at Luton on Saturday, and ability of Ejaria to create openings in the box was sorely missed. Obita knocked in some decent crosses but I have been watching him for at least ten years and have yet to see him take on a defender and beat him for pace. Both he and Puscas failed to make the most of their opportunities to score in the first half.

The strengths of the team were again plain to see with Pele and Rinomhota quick to snuff out danger in midfield, and inside and around the box. Morrison and McIntyre attacked anything played long and Osho and Blackett were reliable at full back. Swift showed some nice touches but didn’t really impose himself on the game.

The second half was, as Mr Dellor and Mr Gooding correctly pointed out, very scrappy and dull. It did not help to have the game constantly disrupted with lengthy stoppages for drinks, and or, substitutions and treatment of minor injuries. I can remember at least three such stoppages of over two minutes in the last half an hour. Surely the referee could use some discretion, and when there has been a break of over a couple of minutes while a Huddersfield player has his leg massaged on the pitch, and everyone goes over to the half way line for a drink and a bit of a natter with the coaching staff, perhaps give the “official drinks break” scheduled for ten minutes later a miss. Especially when people around the pitch were having to put extra clothing on to keep warm. It’s hard to believe the players were dehydrated. If they have any more drinks breaks they will also need a toilet break!

There is obviously nothing to play for this season and so I am hoping Mark Bowen will be thinking in terms of preparation for next season in the remaining fixtures, which is infinitely more useful than a run of meaningless pre-season friendlies. Certainly in the next two games against Charlton and Middlesbrough, Reading will be up against teams with something to play for, which will hopefully force them to retain some kind of intensity in their play.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 200 days ago in the 2019/2020 season.