Reading FC Match Report: 2020/2021 Season - Championship


Reading: S Aluko (64)
Brentford: M Jensen (11), B Mbeumo (23), B Mbeumo (29)

The outcome of this game was decided within the first thirty minutes with a good Brentford side taking full advantage of some poor defending and a dreadful goalkeeping error by Raphael to race into an early three goal lead. A more spirited showing and a headed goal from substitute Aluko in the second half maintained a respectable score line, but in truth Reading never looked likely to recover from their poor start. There was no lack of fight and spirit in this defeat but the errors keep coming thick and fast and have proved costly in recent games. Reading have now slipped out of the top six, and the sooner the players currently out of action due to injury return, the better.

Baldock was included in the starting eleven at the expense of Aluko, and Olise appeared, initially at least, to play further forward. The opening ten minutes provided no hint of the imminent disaster. Brentford to the led when poor communication between Rinomhota and Baldock resulted in Jensen being allowed to run into the box unmarked and receive a pass from Canos which gave him a clear sight of goal. His strike was hit firmly at Raphael who somehow allowed the ball squirm through his legs and trickle over the line. Rinomohta’s decision to delegate the responsibility of marking the player in the most threatening position (in the box), to Baldock, who was still chasing back, was a poor one. Reading tried to hit back but Samedo’s finish was tame and Moore’s clean volleyed strike following a corner was straight at Brentford ‘keeper Raya. After twenty-three minutes Mbueno cut in from the right, and with Esteves not getting tight enough, he smacked the ball inside the far post. Good strike but a goal could easily have been prevented by better defending. Six minutes later Brentford killed the game off with a third goal. Reading’s defence was ripped open by some excellent short passing and once again nobody was close enough to Mbueno to prevent him from steering his shot past Raphael.

With a three goal cushion Brentford had no need to take any risks and were happy to contain Reading. It was a frustrating second half for the Royals. Aluko looked sharp in possession and nodded in a fine header from an Olise cross three minutes after coming on to replace Samedo providing Reading with a glimmer of hope. Reading enjoyed a lot of possession and Brentford dished it out, racking up seventeen fouls. Had referee Stroud had been more observant it that number would have been greater. Janelt and Jensen were shown yellow cards and Toney got away with persistent infringements. It was an irritant rather than an influence on the outcome of the game. Laurent was again the player who stood out with his purposeful direct running and passing. Also once again there were flashes of good play from Ejaria, but as the game wore on he began to lose possession by dribbling into trouble and holding on the ball too long. Olise similarly looked very good but he is too easily outmuscled and it took a great saving tackle from Holmes to deny Brentford a fourth goal after he had been dispossessed in his own half.

Reading did occasionally threaten to score a second goal. Ejaria tested Raya with a good effort and Holmes had sniff of goal in the six yard box but Brentford predictably and understandably took every opportunity to run the clock down, but it wasn’t great to watch. It was all too easy for Brentford in the end and although they are not the team they were last season they look a good bet for the play-offs again. Reading’s season still hangs in the balance and depends very much on how much ground they lose until they return to full strength. At the moment a point a game looks a realistic target.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 221 days ago in the 2020/2021 season.