Reading FC Match Report: 2023/2024 Season - League One
READING 2 CHARLTON 0
Reading: F Azeez (66), F Azeez (76)
Femi Azeez stole the limelight with two stunning second half strikes to continue the Royals steady
progress towards the safety of mid table. Apart from a slightly sluggish opening ten minutes,
Reading dominated the game and deservedly took all three points. After his first game in charge
Charlton manager Nathan Jones will now appreciate the enormity of the task facing him in keeping
his team in League One. Apart from a couple of half chances, and one shot well saved by Button,
Charlton rarely threatened to score, and in the second half struggled to get out of their own half.
Charlton pressed hard in the opening stages forcing three corners which came to nothing before Reading established control of the game. Addicks 'keeper Isted was tested with an excellent strike from a tight angle on the edge of the box from Wing. Smith also came close to opening the scoring when Savage picked out his well-timed run behind the Charlton back line. As the ball dropped over his shoulder, Smith hit a first-time volley with his first touch. It was outstanding piece of individual skill, but Isted reacted smartly to keep it out and it was scrambled away to safety.
Reading's back four looked in control throughout, apart from a couple of sloppy passes, which induced some self-inflicted pressure. Bindon's positional play, and composure in possession, had a calming effect on the whole team. Mola was getting forward down the left and Yiadom was creating problems for Charlton with linking up with Azeez and making his mazy runs through their midfield. Mbengue has been a revelation at centre back. Strong in the air and in the tackle, he also hit some very good long passes to switch the play.
Wing has grown in confidence in the past couple of months and was superb today. He was constantly won tackles and headers across the pitch. His range of passing was excellent, and when presented with an opportunity to have a strike on goal, he never hesitated. In short, he was always involved and hardly put a foot wrong all afternoon.
Knibbs should have given Reading the lead after fifty-eight minutes. Wing floated over a delightful cross, but with the goal at his mercy a couple of yards out, he headed the ball straight in to Isted's hands. Two minutes later Reading deservedly took the lead. Mbengue's long throw was not cleared, and the ball dropped perfectly for Azeez to hammer past Isted. Ten minutes later the Mbengue- Azeez combination produced a crucial second goal. The Mbengue long throw was only half cleared and Azeez, this time a little further out, volleyed an unstoppable strike past a motionless Isted. Having dropped so many points to late goals earlier in the season, Reading now know how the manage the game an defend a lead to the end. It was comfortable apart from a slight lapse requiring Button to make a good save from Kanu. Azeez had a half chance to complete his hat trick but blazed over from an acute angle. It was a bit greedy but who could blame him given the way he was striking the ball.
It was a very solid team performance and Seles has clearly made his mark on this squad. I am still not entirely convinced Savage is sufficiently reliable defensively, as demonstrated by his yellow card for a poorly time tackle near the end. Better teams than Charlton could exploit that weakness. I feel Craig should be starting in the holding midfield role.
However, with only one defeat in twelve league outings, who can argue with Seles' team selection?
This League One game took place 19 days ago in the 2023/2024 season.