Reading FC Match Report: 2020/2021 Season - Championship


Reading: L Joao (16), A Rinomhota (46), J Swift (72)
Coventry: --

This was far Reading's best performance of the season, but the quality of their goals from Lucas Joao, Andy Rinomhota and John Swift underlined why they are currently chasing an automatic promotion spot and Coventry City will probably be looking over their shoulder at the threat of relegation for the remainder of the season. In terms of possession the sides were evenly matched over the ninety minutes, but in terms of the quality of football, Reading clearly had the upper hand.

Reading did not start particularly well and City were snapping at their heels from the kick-off. City’s tactics were somewhat crude to say the least. Andy Rinomhota, making his one hundredth appearance in a Reading shirt, was scythed down by Hamer in the first minute. Olise was fouled virtually every time he touched the ball in the opening ten minutes. Referee Dean Whitestone failed to take any action to discourage their calculated intimidation which invited City to persist. City racked up fourteen fouls in the first half and not a card was seen apart from one to Holmes for an offence no worse than at least half a dozen committed by City players. City huffed and puffed and should have taken the lead when Ostigard headed a McCallum cross wide from close range. Three minutes later Reading took the lead. Joao controlled a delightful ball long from Swift on his chest, held off a strong challenge and hammered the ball past Wilson. It was a typical Joao finish, all about touch, strength, and composure.

In spite of the treatment they were getting from City Reading began to threaten City’s goal. Ejaria went on a mazy run into the box and hit the post. If he had got his head up and squared the ball to an unmarked Joao Reading would almost certainly have had a second goal. If VAR had been available Joao would probably have been awarded a penalty when he was prevented from scoring a tap at the far post from a Holmes cross by a tug from a City defender. Reading were worth their lead at half time.

Veljko Paunovic wisely replaced Holmes at half time following his yellow card and subsequent attempts by City to wind him up to get him sent off. Esteves proved a more than adequate replacement. There is never a bad time to score but Reading’s second goal could not have come at better time. Within a minute of the re-start Olise played Joao in on the right, and once again Joao’s strength, skill and awareness in the box was too much for City’s defence to handle. Having lost his marker he rolled the ball back invitingly to Andy Rinomhota arriving with perfect timing in the box to apply an accurate and composed finish.

After that it was hard to see City coming back. Ostigard forced a save from Raphael with a well-directed header after fifty-seven minutes, but gaps were beginning to appear at the back for City. Dean Whitestone finally gave City skipper a long overdue yellow card after sixty minutes when he cynically brought down Olise as he closed in on goal. Olise’s free kick drifted harmlessly over the bar. Olise was in the thick of the action and was taken off with a shoulder injury soon afterwards. He was also given a sly kick by a passing City player after he went down. After seventy minutes Ejaria, who had an excellent second half, was hacked down after he pounced on another stray pass on the edge of the City box. The culprit was unsurprisingly MacFadzean again, so that was the end of his evening, and City were reduced to ten men. Swift’s dead ball kicking had been poor all evening but on this occasion he more than made up for it with an absolutely superb curing strike into the top right hand corner giving Wilson no hope of keeping to out.

That was clearly game over. Both sides made substitutions as they went through the motions of completing the ninety minutes. Baldock deprived Tetek of an assist by missing an absolute sitter when clean through, and Mr Whitestone rounded an extremely poor evening’s work showing Morrison and Joao absurdly unwarranted yellow cards in the final minutes. Reading ran out comfortable winners in the end and cemented their place in the top six, six points clear of Stoke in seventh place.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 193 days ago in the 2020/2021 season.