Reading FC Match Report: 2020/2021 Season - Championship


Reading: Y Meite (31), T Esteves (90)
Swansea: J Lowe (67), A Ayew (83)

Pontes Esteves registered his first goal for Reading with an excellent stoppage time equaliser to salvage a little pride from a game they simply had to win. Having taken the lead in the first half which kept alive the mathematical possibility of the Royals making the play-offs, Reading fell behind in the second half to a Swansea side sparked into life by the introduction of substitute Ayew. Swansea, only needing a point to secure their place in the play-offs, virtually ended Reading’s hopeful aspirations to overhaul Swansea in last two games of the season with goals from Lowe and Ayew.

With Swift back in the starting line-up, and Joao recovered from his recent shoulder injury, Reading fielded arguably their strongest side for several weeks, even with Olise on the bench. It was an evenly contested first half with both sides attempting to pass the ball through midfield. For all the neat passing, scoring chances were few and far between. Raphael did not have to make a save before half time and Reading looked much sharper in the final third as half time approached. A lovely turn and pass by Swift gave Joao a run on goal, but Joao stumbled, recovered, and then dragged his shot wide from outside the box.

Reading took the lead after half an hour following some slick passing before Swift clipped a delightful diagonal ball in to the box where Miete timed his run to perfection to powerfully head just inside the far post to beat Woodman. Reading could have extended their lead four minutes before the interval when a sloppy pass was picked up by Joao who had time and space to beat Woodman from just outside the box. It was not a bad effort but too close to the City ‘keeper, and it was the sort of chance he was snaffling up regularly at the beginning of the season.

Reading looked comfortably in control until the hour mark when Swansea made three changes including crucially Ayew. He had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes before he produced a moment of magic. Surrounded by three Reading player on the touchline, he back-heeled a pass through Moore’s legs to send Fulton racing through on goal. Fulton’s strike was well saved by Raphael but Lowe was on hand to snap up the rebound for the equaliser. Velkjo Paunovic sensing the game was slipping away from Reading reacted replacing Miete and Swift with Olise and Samedo. No sooner had the changes been made than Laurent’s excellent solo run won a free kick for Reading on the edge of the City box. The best player to take advantage of the opportunity was now on the bench and Olise’s attempt struck the wall.

Reading might have restored their lead when Fulton hauled Joao down as he set of to attack a cross to the far post, but with Championship officials and no VAR, the City defender got away with the offence. Swansea sealed their play-off place with less than ten minutes remaining. A lovely exchange of passes on the left put Bidwell in behind the Reading defence and he found an unmarked Ayew in front of goal who emphatically slammed the ball into the back of the net. Reading were left playing for pride and to their credit their heads did not drop. With stoppage time almost over Aluko picked out Esteves on the edge of the box and the young wing back stroked the ball with his weaker foot just inside the post. It was a classy finish from a player with a great deal of skill.

There was no time for Reading to go in search of a winner, so their season which promised so much has ended in disappointment, but not in failure.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 146 days ago in the 2020/2021 season.