Reading FC Match Report: 2014/2015 Season - Championship


Reading: --
Bournemouth: C Wilson (50), B Pitman (55), B Pitman (64).

On the day Hurricane Gonzalo passed through the UK the Royals defence were blown apart in a destructive thirteen second half minutes. Having controlled the first half, the Royals defence pressed the self-destruct button early in the second half to gift a more than willing recipient in AFC Bournemouth an easy three points.

Twelve goals conceded in the last five league games highlights the fragility of Reading FC’s defence. And with seemingly no immediate end in sight to the team’s defensive problems Nigel Adkins has a difficult few days trying to find the answer to their problems before they entertain winless Blackpool. Reading made two changes to the side beaten compressively by Derby last time out. Nick Blackman replacing the injured Glenn Murray while Jake Taylor made way for Hope Akpan. Hal Robson-Kanu went up front with Blackman on the left.

As in most games this season there was plenty of promise in Reading’s first half play. They controlled the ball for large parts and, in particular through Jamie Mackie, kept Bournemouth on the back foot. Unfortunately clear cut chances were far and few between. A dangerous Robson-Kanu cross in the 4th minute which was unable to find Simon Cox and a deflected Gunter cross smashing onto the post in the 36th minute being the most notable.

With the full backs more controlled in their movement, defensively Reading looked more solid than Saturday. However, there were some warning signs that a mistake was never far away. Alex Pearce misjudged a high ball in the 22nd minute and had to rely on the outstretched hand of Adam Federici to clear the danger from the head of Brett Pitman.

A wayward pass from Jordan Obita in the 44th minute resulting in a wild sliced clearance from Michael Hector. The Bournemouth pressure self-generated by a confidence sapped Reading defence. As the first half closed the Reading fans would have felt quite satisfied with the performance though. They were competing and preventing Bournemouth from playing. Few would have expected the whirlwind of defensive cockups they were about to witness.

An early Simon Cox shot in the 50th minute suggested Reading would continue as per the first half but these feelings were dispelled shortly after as Bournemouth grabbed the lead in the 51st minute. Hector at times see’s the football like a moth sees a flame. He chased a skilful Marc Pugh back towards the half way line trying to nick the ball from his feet. As Marc Pugh turned Hector he found a massive gap in the Royals backline. He was able to drive into the area and whip in a great cross which was easily headed home by the unmarked ex-Coventry striker Callum Wilson.

Michael Hector’s positional awareness suggesting that his best position might not be at centre back. Without a doubt a talent he has a tendency to go on David Luiz type walkabouts that without a proper defensive midfielder are difficult to cover. Cooper, a more traditional centre back, might be a better option during these difficult times.

In the 55th minute Reading found themselves two goals down with again Michael Hector at fault. Just outside the area Callum Wilson grabbed the ball from the feet of Hector and pushed a ball through to the oncoming Brett Pittman. Pittman slipped the ball past a helpless Adam Federici and into the bottom corner of the net.

Bournemouth sensed a third as Reading struggled to gain their composure and they didn’t have to wait long. An unmarked Brett Pitman claiming his second of the night as he was allowed to meet a 64th minute corner and drive the ball into the top of the net. Simon Cox was replaced by Jake Taylor in the 70th Minute with Pogrebnyak replacing Robson Kanu in the 84th minute.

Although Reading should have had a penalty in the 75th minute after an obvious Bournemouth handball, Reading were unable to create anything that would have brought some small reward from a poor result. It was actually down to Federici to prevent a more embarrassing scoreline with a couple of smart blocks late in the game.

As another game passes and Reading slip further down the table Nigel Adkins needs to urgently address the Royals defensive problems. You can’t help but think it’s a result of the way Reading play more than individual errors. A back to basics discussion is urgently needed on the training ground. It is difficult to pick a man of the match, probably should go to Adam Federici for keeping the score respectable. However, a special mention for the Reading fans, who sang throughout the game. I certainly went home still chanting ‘Since I was young’. Similar support on Saturday should provide a very welcoming three points.
Dave Roberts

This Championship game took place 1730 days ago in the 2014/2015 season.