Reading FC Match Report: 2022/2023 Season - Championship


Reading: J Hendrick (60)
Norwich: G Hanley (50)

Slowly but surely Reading are establishing their credibility as a top six side in this league. This was a solid, rather than spectacular, performance against one of the strongest contenders to achieve automatic promotion this season. Second placed City dominated possession, but it was Reading who posed more of threat going forward. Reading were a disciplined unit defensively, and always looked capable of opening up City's defence. Reading had the better chances to take the lead in the first half, but it was City who scored with their first attempt on target just after half time from a corner. It was a scrappy goal to say the least, the ball finding its way through a crowded six yard box to Hanley to drive home from close range. Only then, as Reading committed players forward in search of the equaliser, did City begin to create chances on the counter attack. Deservedly the equaliser arrived courtesy of Jeff Hendrick, and from that point it was anyone's game. As the final whistle approached it appeared both sides were happy to settle for a point, which was probably a fair result.

Reading captained by Tom Holmes following the injury to Andy Yiadom on Saturday, and unsurprisingly, Lucas Joao was dropped to the bench following a series of mediocre performances. The changes were entirely justified and restored the pairing of Loum and Fornah in the centre of midfield, which worked so well earlier in the season. Both players worked hard, won the ball cleanly, and retained possession with some sharp, short passing. Andy Carroll lasted seventy-three minutes and was outstanding, winning just about every ball in the air, laying the ball off with his chest and, but for a good save from Krul, would have given Reading the lead with a powerful header from a quite superb Hoilett cross. Hoilett tormented the City defence throughout the first half and was a whisker away from creating the opening goal also in the first half when Ince only just failed to connect with his low curling ball to the near post.

Reading conceded seven corners, and having conceded from a late corner on Saturday, defended them well, so it was disappointing for the Royals when Hanley found himself unmarked at the back post to give City the lead. A good reaction from the Reading produced an equaliser in the sixtieth minute. Hendrick has had several poor attempts on goal so far this season, but having shaved the post in the first half with a long range attempt which had Krul beaten, his persistence finally paid off. Pouncing on a loose ball on the edge of the box, he teed the ball up for a controlled, almost nonchalant, volley which beat Krul at the near post.

Having seen his side work tirelessly to keep their solid defensive shape for sixty minutes, Paul Ince, often criticised in the past for a reluctance to make changes in the past, made three decisive and astute changes to inject some energy to the team. The changes worked as Reading repelled, and increasingly frustrated, City’s attempts to regain the lead. City continued to dominate possession in stoppage time without really threatening to find a winning goal as Reading kept their defensive shape and composure to earn a valuable and significant point with their first draw of the season.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 178 days ago in the 2022/2023 season.