Reading FC Match Report: 2022/2023 Season - Championship


READING 2 BRISTOL C 0

Reading: M Loum (52), A Carroll (90)
Bristol C: --

Shane Long and Andy Carroll, Reading’s former Premier League strikers, came off the bench combining to create and score a stoppage time goal which had Premier League quality written all over it, to secure a well-deserved home win. In a match full of endeavour but generally lacking in quality, Reading were the most potent force going forward, and having taken the lead shortly after half time through Loum, never looked like losing. City made several changes after falling behind and put the Reading defence under pressure but ultimately failed to register an attempt on target throughout the entire match.

After three successive defeats which saw the Royals drop out of the top six, it was important to register a home win to restore confidence. Reading took control of midfield and kept their shape preventing City from threatening their goal, and were positive going forward. It has to be said also, the quality of City’s passing was sloppy to say the least. Reading produced the first good chance when Ince pounced on a loose ball and whipped in a cross which Meite got his head to, but was unable to direct on target. Reading pressure forced a string of corners in the first half but the delivery was poor and City dealt with the threat without too much difficulty. A second chance fell to Hendrick who once again demonstrated an inability to strike the ball cleanly in front of goal. Having said that his second half performance was outstanding and certainly had his best game in a Reading shirt.

The game was brought to life shortly after half time when an Ince corner to the near post was met by a well-timed run from Loum who glanced his header past ‘keeper O’Leary. The goal prompted Nigel Pearson to make three substitutions to inject a sense of urgency in to his weary looking team. Martin seemed intent on winding up the Reading defence with his antics at corners but overall the changes had little impact. Reading were guilty of making a hash of some of their clearences, but on the whole maintained their discipline and kept City at bay.

Joao had another anonymous game and I am not sure he currently justifies his inclusion in the starting eleven. He gave way to Long after sixty-eight minutes. He was clearly disappointed with the decision but he had little impact on the game and when he did find himself with a sight of goal he wanted too much time and lost possession. Meanwhile Hendrick and Ince kept driving Reading forward on the break and looked increasingly likely to score a second. Meite was replaced by Andy Carroll near the end, departing to a well-earned ovation from the home fans.

With two of six minutes of stoppage time to played, and home fans becoming slightly edgy at the prospect of late equaliser from City, Reading ended their anxiety in style. Hendrick slid a delightful ball down the line for Long to chase. Demonstrating he still has a turn of speed, Long got to the ball ahead of the City full back and ran into the box. His experience shone through as he looked up and delivered a perfectly weighted an timed pass between City defenders into the path of Andy Carroll, arriving with equally perfect timing, at the far post to steer the ball past O’Leary. City fans headed for the exit and Reading fans basked in the glory of a fine home win. Now for Burnley away, which is undoubtedly going to be the toughest fixture of the season.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 38 days ago in the 2022/2023 season.