Reading FC Match Report: 2019/2020 Season - Championship


Reading: J Obita (56)
Hull: M Wilks (82)

Reading struggled to find any kind of rhythm against a struggling Hull side, and having taken the lead with a well worked goal from Obita midway through the second half, conceded a late goal courtesy of a freakish deflected shot by Wilks. Reading had not played well all afternoon but Hull had not looked likely to get anything out of the game until their fortuitous equaliser. Reading however only have themselves to blame for not taking all three points from this fixture. The lack of energy and creativity was somewhat mysterious given the enthusiasm and resilience evident since Bowen has taken over has made them such a difficult side to beat.

In spite of, or maybe because of, a recent run of four defeats, Hull started brightly and Maddison almost gave them the lead in the second minute. It took a good save from Raphael to deflect his effort onto the upright and an equally good block from Moore to foil Irvine's attempt to knock in the rebound. Further notice of intent was served by Irvine who curled a shot narrowly wide with Moore appealing for an offside decision. It was initially an open game with both sides squandering possession with poor passing and decision-making on the ball.

Reading’s play was predictable and laboured going forward. The plan seemed to be to get the ball to Gunter or Obita in order to get the ball into the box from wide positions. Obita struggled to get past the full back to get his crosses in and Gunter had to be replaced by new signing Araruna after twenty-seven minutes due to injury. The young Brazilian made an instant impact finding Baldock with a brilliant ball over the City defence. It was a pity Baldock’s excellent first touch with his right foot, which took him clear of his marker, was not matched his second, a shot dragged wide of the post. Reading’s only other attempts of note were created by a nice pass inside the full back by Baldock which put Meite clear with only Long to beat, but his shoot was blocked by the Hull ’keeper’s right foot; and a shoot from Ejaria after a typically mazy run through a forest of City defenders, also blocked by Long.

There was little more urgency from Reading after the interval. Aranuna became more involved after being noticeably starved of the ball by his team mates in the first half. His touch and instant awareness of passing options made him stand out amongst such mediocrity. Whether or not he will cope with the physicality of the Championship remains to be seen. Obita had been advised to take up a more central role and was having more impact as demonstrated by Reading’s goal in the fifty-sixth minute. He made a good run across the box and was found by a superbly weighted and timed pass from Swift, and smashed it through Long’s legs from a tight angle. He was almost immediately replaced by Richards which I suppose was to provide a bit more pace down the left side.

Determined to finish off the opposition with a second goal Bowen brought on Aliko to replace Baldock who deservedly received generous applause for his contribution. Nobody had worked harder than he had, and although he was supported by Meite going forward, he had not received very good service from the rest of his team.

Ejaria always threatened to unlock the City defence but failed to deliver the killer blow. Swift continues to infuriate with his erratic performances. Today he gave the ball away far too often with sloppy passing and running onto trouble because he didn’t get his head up. His delivery from corners and free-kicks rarely seem to clear the first defender. Pele had a steady game and looked good on the few occasions when he decided abandon his defensive chores to carry the ball forward.

As the game began to stagnate most Reading fans were probably feeling disappointed with the performance but expecting their team to hang on for a narrow victory. Wilks strike and the extremely fortunate deflection off Morrison’s outstretched leg denied them the consolation of three points. Reaching the play-offs has never really seemed a realistic proposition and today’s result and performance confirms that view. Reading’s season is kept alive by the Cup run and the prospect of putting things in place for a more realistic challenge next season. There will need to be some changes but there is definitely something to build on with the current squad.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 494 days ago in the 2019/2020 season.