Reading FC Match Report: 2013/2014 Season - Championship


Reading: D Guthrie (11), A Le Fondre (39), G McCleary (80), P Pogrebnyak (90).
Doncaster: T Robinson (31).

Pavel Pogrebynak crowned an outstanding performance with a magnificent fourth Reading goal in stoppage time to complete a convincing victory over a Rovers team reduced to ten men for the last fifteen minutes due to injury. In a highly entertaining game the Royals created far more scoring opportunities than their opponents but had to wait until the eightieth minute for the crucial third goal. Pogrebnyak continued his recent good form and was deservedly awarded the Man of the Match Award for his contribution to a good Reading performance.

Reading had Rovers rattled from the start, taking the lead following intelligent and powerful forward play by Pogrebnyak. Racing beyond the Rovers back four, the Russian striker held the ball up and picked out Mc Cleary on the edge of the box who in turn laid it off for Guthrie the strike venomously past a helpless Turner. Reading were exploiting the space down the flanks and beyond the Rovers back line with some superbly weighted passes. It took some desperate defending to keep the score down to one, Obita coming closest to adding to the score after more good work on the left by Pogrebnyak. His cross was nodded back across goal by Le Fondre for Obita to finish. His effort lacked power and Turnbull managed to claw the ball off the line.

Reading’s dominance prompted a very early tactical change by Rovers manager Dickov. Switching from a 4 5 1 to 4 4 2 formation with the introduction of Robinson paid dividends for the visitors. Passing their way deep into the Reading half took pressure off their back four and soon produced a free kick on the edge of the box. The kick was well saved by Federici, but as the Reading defence stood admiring his good work, substitute Robinson smashed in the equaliser from an acute angle. Reading had slackened off and might have conceded a second but Morrison and Pearce coped well with a 2 v 2 attack. The Reading lead was restored with another good goal ten minute before half time. McCleary carried the ball through the centre of midfield before sliding a pass through the Rovers defence for Le Fondre to collect. Showing remarkable composure and awareness, and with his back to goal, he flicked the ball past the advancing Turnbull taking everyone by surprise and the ball trickled over the line.

Rovers pinned Reading in their own half for the opening five minutes of the second half. Reading were not helped by a string of appalling decisions by referee Andy D’Urso. Obita had faded out the game and although showed some promising touches it is hard to see how he kept Robson-Kanu and McAnuff out of the starting eleven. He was eventually in fact replaced by McAnuff, but not before Robson-Kanu had surprisingly replaced Le Fondre (rather than Obita). With all their substitutions made, Rovers skipper Jones had to leave the field with serious shoulder injury and they had to play out the remaining fifteen minutes with only ten men. McAnuff and Robson-Kanu began to torment Rovers down the left wing and produced a low cross which McCleary drove home, striking across the line of the ball without hesitation and with unerring accuracy. Reading were really turning it on now and Robson-Kanu illustrated why he should have started when nut-megged the full back – with his back to him!

It was however fitting that the final word was had by the ‘Big ******* Russian’ (as the fans have affectionately christened him). Receiving a deep cross he made room for a shot and lashed the ball into the roof of the net from a very tight angle. Those of us not in the car park rose to our feet to acclaim a goal of breathtaking power and quality. I have no idea why a player who was so poor for so long can suddenly produce amazing form, but who cares. Reading have found a new hero and it could transform their season.
John Wells

This Championship game took place 2224 days ago in the 2013/2014 season.