Reading FC Match Report: 2020/2021 Season - Championship


Reading: Y Meite (57)
QPR: Lyndon Dykes (45)

As the season progresses points are harder to come by, and when they needed three today, Reading had to settle for one. Bournemouth need only to win their game in hand and the Royals will slip out of the top six for only the second time this season. Certainly there was a greater sense of urgency about Reading's performance this afternoon and although they put Rangers under pressure at times, they fell behind on the stroke of half time. Miete scored his third goal in as many games to level the scores early in the second half and Reading looked a good bet to go on and win the game but Rangers rallied, and in the end Reading were the team hanging on for a point.

Olise and Ejaria stood out in the first half giving Reading the edge in midfield and both Miete and Joao had chances which were blocked. Rangers too had good spells of possession and there were moments of panic in the Reading defence missing the authority of Morrison. Gibson was occupying his spot at the back and looked confident but not entirely error free. Joao still looked short on confidence and his touch eluded him a couple of occasions at crucial moments.

Rangers had the first clear cut chance to take the lead after twenty-six minutes when the ball dropped to Charlie Austin who chested the ball down and volleyed wide from close range. Four minutes later Olise had an even better chance when Ejaria went on a typically mazy run past three defenders and pulled the ball back. Sadly for Reading, although not under pressure, Olise got underneath it and skied the chance over the bar. He is capable of better than that, but it is beginning to become story of Reading’s season. The way things are going at the moment it was hardly surprising when Holmes completely lost his bearings and Lee Wallace ran in behind him to slide the ball across for Dykes to finish at the near post. The goal also raised questions about Raphael and Moore alertness at the back.

Grasping the importance of three points Reading went about their task with renewed enthusiasm after half time. Rangers were looking very shaky at the back and the foul count began to rise rapidly. Referee Whitestone became the latest in a series of referees who allowed Reading’s opponents to blatantly haul the likes of Ejaria and Olise to the ground without a caution. Chair finally pushed his luck too far and received his just deserts for a ridiculous foul (or maybe two) on Laurent before comically protesting his innocence.

Moore looked to have given Reading the lead but his strike was surprisingly disallowed for offside. It was impossible to tell from the woeful iFollow coverage whether or not the referee got the decision right. Two minutes later a brilliant through ball from Andy Rinmhota, back to his best today, found Miete bursting into the box. Meite beat Dickie before putting the ball through Dieng’s legs for the deserved equaliser. Rangers were reeling under the pressure and two minutes later Ejaria hit another perfect defence-splitting ball for Joao. Reading fans watched in disbelief as Joao took the ball past the ‘keeper then stumbled, lost his balance, and put the ball wide of a completely open goal. It was the kind of moment which can prove the difference between reaching, or not reaching, the play-offs. Joao won a header in the box and nodded the ball across goal where no Reading player anticipated the chance and another opportunity went begging. Holmes had a decent strike which flew past the post but from that point Rangers freshened by the introduction of Willock and Ball decided attack was the best form of defence. Suddenly it was Reading who looked increasing likely to concede.

With a last throw of the dice Veljko Paunovic introduced Puacas, Esteves and Semedo, but the changes had little impact and it took a good save from Raphael and some desperate defending from Reading to hang on for point which was a fair result but not good enough for Reading at this stage of the season. It was the same old story of recent games. Poor finishing and defensive lapses undoing all the promising football played in the middle of the pitch. It is becoming monotonous the way teams are allowed get away with persistent foul play undeterred by yellow cards by lenient referees and it is a factor in the outcome of Reading’s games. Today Rangers racked up nineteen fouls to Reading’s eight.

Reading generally complete well for the ball in the air but they often lose out on height advantage and again today Rangers won a higher proportion of headers. All the teams at the top are dropping points at the moment so anything can happen between now and the end of the season. At this stage all Reading can do is to continue to work hard and hope for a few things to go their way.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 130 days ago in the 2020/2021 season.