Reading FC Match Report: 2013/2014 Season - Championship


Reading: J Lundstram (og 68)
Yeovil: S Duffy (20)

Yeovil celebrated at the final whistle after holding the Royals to a draw after being reduced to nine men with twenty-five minutes left to play, and having only eight for the last ten minutes. It was indeed an achievement but not one of which they should feel proud. Manager Gary Johnson shamefully contributed the blatant cheating, batting the ball away to prevent Reading from taking a throw-in (an action which remarkably went unpunished by referee Mathieson). Time-wasting and feigning injury are tactics used routinely by away sides to disrupt games recently, and Yeovil certainly made full use of these strategies today. A lack of discipline resulting in a series of rash challenges which should have cost them the game resulted in three yellow and three red cards. Reading unfortunately were unable to take advantage of their numerical superiority in a complete shambles of a second half.

Reading started brightly and with Robson-Kanu and Mc Cleary switching wings and firing crosses in the first five minutes it looked promising for Reading. Outstanding defending prevented Le Fondre from scoring as he stretched to reach a low cross. As the game settled down the quality of play deteriorated rapidly. Yeovil had a considerable height advantage throughout the team and Reading’s passing was so poor (again) they played into their hands by resorting to long high balls to Pogrebnyak and Le Fondre. It was game which would not have looked out of place in League Two. Reading fans taunted the away fans with a chorus of ‘Going down’ and almost immediately were made to eat their words when McCarthy came out for high ball and did not quite make it allowing Duffy to loop a header over him into the empty net to give Town the lead. There were some nice touches from Le Fondre but Reading’s first shot on target was a feeble effort from McCleary in stoppage time at the end of the first half.

Akpan was sacrificed to bring on Guthrie at half time and he certainly brought a bit more stability and possession in midfield but mainly in deep, low impact, areas of the pitch. Reading were now passing the ball across the back four before hoofing it up field. The introduction of Drenthe brought a spark to the game winning a penalty resulting in a straight red for Wesbster . Le Fondre, having missed a good chance from a Gunther cut back, continued to misfire and his penalty was saved. His suffering lasted only briefly as his goalbound prod was somehow bundled into the Yeovil net by Lundstrum in a comical mix-up which did not involve any Reading players. Almost immediately Town lost Ralls following an ugly foul on McCleary and the visitors were down to nine men. The game was there for the taking. Pogrebyak had two headers saved, Guthrie had a powerful drive blocked and Obita shaved the post with a well flighted strike from outside the box. Things went from bad to worse for Yeovil as Moore saw red for a second yellow and the board indicated seven minutes of stoppage time.

Yeovil can count themselves lucky not to go down to an absurd seven players for another red card for a foul worthy of a second yellow but the referee had lost the plot by now. He was ignored by a Town player when he asked him to retreat for a free kick on the edge of the box and allowed the kick to be taken with the defender a mere five yards away from the ball. Doubts about Adkins tactics continued to grow as he threw on Blackman and removed Gorkss. The team had lost its shape altogether, and as the main ploy seemed high balls in to box, it might have more sense to push Gorkss forward as he was the most likely Reading player to win the ball in the air. It would be unfair to blame the manager for team bereft of ideas and apparently lacking an understanding of the basic principles of the game. With three extra men it was absurd for players to be running at defenders and conceding possession. There were must have been always at least three unmarked players available. Unfortunately nobody seemed interested in showing for a short pass, they were all gathering at the far post for crosses which almost invariably found the head of a huge Town defender. It was a situation which emphasised the lack of movement evident throughout the game.

Talk of the play-offs continue as several of the top teams are faltering, but Reading had sixty-five percent of possession and twenty-one corners today; played for long period against eight or nine men, and had to rely on an avoidable own goal to salvage a point at home against the team at the bottom of the league. This is not promotion form, and with only two wins out of the last seven home games, Reading will need to pick up some points from their next two away games to stay in the race.
John Wells

This Championship game took place 2091 days ago in the 2013/2014 season.