Reading FC Match Report: 2021/2022 Season - Championship


COVENTRY 2 READING 1

Reading: J Swift (pen 40)
Coventry: J Allen (62), M Godden (90)

Reading came agonisingly close to earning much needed a point away from home against a City side enjoying their best start to the season in fourteen years. They were denied by the questionable time-keeping of a weak referee, and poor game management by a Royals side who had battled hard and deserved to take something for the game. With the scores level after the allocated six minutes of additional time had elapsed, Reading won a corner. Having been under considerable pressure in the second half and repelled the onslaught of a City comeback, the obvious decision would be to keep the ball in the corner and run the clock down to earn a point. Unfortunately Reading unwisely launched the corner kick into the City box. The referee for some reason decided to add a further two minutes and City grasped the opportunity provided by Reading's poor tactical decision and the referee's generosity to counter attack and score the winner through substitute Godden.

Nobody would argue City had dominated the game for long periods and had far more attempts on goal than Reading, but it would also be fair to say the Royals played some tidy football at times, and with limited potential in attack, put the City defence under pressure. Puscas, who was Reading’s only experienced striker available, had one of his better games and set up a chance for Swift just before half time. Swift’s positive run in to the box was illegally halted by Dabo and the Reading midfielder picked himself up and stroked the spot kick past Moore to give Reading the lead.

Reading started the second half with renewed confidence and Laurent, who it has to be said was not at his best, drew a good save from Moore with a powerful low strike. As the second half progressed City’s fight back gathered momentum and Reading were defending desperately to keep them at bay. It has to be said Reading made life more difficult for themselves throughout by conceding possession cheaply with some sloppy passing (even when not under pressure) and poor decision-making. No one however could question their commitment with some brilliant blocks and tackles notably from Moore Morrison, Yiadom and Rinomhota.

On the hour, with City pressure mounting, McIntyre picked up an injury and Holmes came on to play right back with Yiadom switching to left back. Robins also made changes for different reasons bringing on Allen and Godden to freshen up their attack. The ball fell kindly for Allen who drilled in the equaliser with his first touch. Raphael saved brilliantly from a Gyokeres header as Reading hung on desperately.

Reading appeared to have weathered the storm and City’s desperation to find the winner spilled over into ill-discipline and Hamer, Sheaf and O’Hare picked up yellow cards. Clarke and Rinomhota also were shown yellow for Reading.

Six minutes of additional time came and went and when Reading pushed forward and won a corner. Would there be sufficient time to take the corner the Reading fans wondered. The answer soon became apparent as City successfully defended the corner and counter-attacked to score the winning goal and inflict misery of Reading and their fans. Veljko Paunovic, understandably incensed by the unaccountable additional time was quickly on to the pitch at the final whistle to deliver futile remonstrations to referee David Webb. Webb had received a lot of stick from both City and Reading fans, particularly in the second half, had a poor game overall.

These are worrying times for Reading and the way forward is not clear. Long term injuries are even more of a problem when recruitment is hampered. There are still plenty of good players in the squad but until they are back to full strength, sustaining the current levels of effort and commitment are going to be crucial in keeping Reading out of trouble.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 29 days ago in the 2021/2022 season.