Reading FC Match Report: 2022/2023 Season - Championship


READING 2 ROTHERHAM 1

Reading: A Carroll (52), T Fornah (90)
Rotherham: Peltier (38)

A last minute winner from Tyrese Fornah earned Reading a vital three points against relegation threatened Rotherham. Rotherham took the lead just before interval courtesy of a Peltier header before Paul Ince made crucial changes to spark a comeback lifting the Royals into a more comfortable mid table position. The introduction of Azeez and Fornah at half time gave Reading a cutting edge which had been sadly lacking in a dour and dire first half. Andy Carroll levelled the scores early in the second half, and in a game which could have gone either way, Fornah popped up in the six yard box to nod in the crucial second goal.

In a chaotic opening ten minutes Rotherham’s defence was a complete shambles, but Reading were unable to take advantage of their dominance. It was an ugly first half with United conceding a string of free kicks clattering into Reading players on and off the ball in the middle of the pitch before settling down to enjoy decent spells of possession. The ball was hoofed and headed back and forth as Reading struggled going retain possession going forward. Their lack of movement and poor passing meant United looked fairly comfortable at the back. Peltier hit the bar with a delicate effort before heading the opener from a free kick on the right after thirty-eight minutes triggering a chorus of boos from sections of the home fans at half time.

To his credit, Paul Ince made decisive changes at half time. Azeez was introduced to play wide on the left. His pace, and willingness to take defenders on, provided the cutting edge so sadly lacking in the first half. Azeez linked up well with Guinness-Walker who had replaced the injured Rahman just before the interval. Fornah, also introduced at half time, brought greater cohesion to midfield with his touch, movement and passing ability. With a better balance in midfield, McIntyre was now far more effective in his holding role and had very good second half. Tom Ince held a wide position on the right linking up with Yiadom. Ince saw less of the ball with Lumley picking out Carroll, who was now gravitating towards Azeez on the left, with his increasingly improving distribution. Carrroll was winning nearly everything in the air, in spite of United’s dubious tactics to prevent him from doing so.

The half time changes took seven minutes to deliver the equaliser. Guinness-Walker was fouled down by the corner flag on the left. Azeez struck a perfect free kick for Carroll to meet with a typically thunderous header giving Johansson no chance. Rotherham hit back and the game became more open as both sides went looking for a second goal. The Reading defence recovered well to prevent a persistent Washington from restoring United’s lead when he broke clear on the halfway line.

The combination of Azeez and Carroll delivered the winning goal in the last minute. Azeez found Carroll with a corner around the penalty spot. Carroll headed the ball towards goal and the ever alert Fornah popped up to head past Johansson from close range. Rotherham threw on the tallest players remaining on the bench for the four minutes of stoppage time, which lasted closer to six minutes, before the referee blew the final whistle earning himself a barely served hug from Mbengue.

With the threat of relegation diminishing Reading will go into the next crucial fixtures against struggling Cardiff City and Blackpool with a little more optimism. Hopefully Paul Ince will consider starting with the eleven which finished this game.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 521 days ago in the 2022/2023 season.