Reading FC Match Report: 2023/2024 Season - League One


Reading: H Knibbs (23)
Leyton Orient: D Agyei (pen 19)

It was bound to be difficult to replicate the level of performance achieved against top six Derby on Tuesday night. I suppose hard-fought draw against Orient side, also on a good run of results, was always on the cards. Reading lacked the energy, intensity and quality of passing of the win earlier in the week, but in the end sheer effort and determination earned a point. This was the kind of game Reading were losing earlier in ethe season.

Reading started well with the main threat coming down the right, with Yiadom and Azeez in particular, posing problems for the Orient back line. Wing had a shot blocked, and attempts from Azeez and Knibbs missed the target. Somewhat against the run of play the visitors took the lead. Azeez switched off and allowed Sotiriou run off him into box giving him time and space to deliver his cross. That said Sotiriou's cross was not particularly good but for a reason only known to Holmes (or maybe not!) he raised his hand to make contact with ball. Agei calmly slotted in the spot kick in spite of Button coming at least a yard of his line before the kick was taken.

Reading responded well to falling behind and within four minutes Smith flicked on Savage's corner at the near post and Knibbs calmly rolled in the equaliser. Knibbs was no doubt relieved having missed an absolute sitter a minute earlier, somehow failing to make a contact with a Yiadom cross which only need a touch at the far post to put the ball into an open goal.

It was easy to see why Orient had not conceded a goal in their previous league games. Aggressive and constantly pushing boundaries to test the referee, contesting decisions pinching a few yards at throw-ins, standing over the ball after conceding free kicks, they were difficult to break down. Overall, a well organised but abrasive side. Reading, sluggish at times, were often caught in possession. Bindon was particularly ponderous on the ball.

Reading struggled defensively at the beginning of the second half. A weary looking Dorsett was replaced by Mola, and Craig came for Savage to bring much needed greater physicality into midfield. Vickers replaced Mukairu who had not been at his best today. Orient replaced half their team during the course of the second half.

The introduction of Mbengue, as always, brought excitement to the game at both ends of the pitch. His sloppy back pass almost presented Orient with second goal. Fortunately for him, and Reading, Button came to his rescue with a fine save from Agei. As the play became slightly chaotic Mebengue completely lost the Orient wide player he was supposed to be marking, but again Orient failed to take advantage of the situation. Never short on energy or enthusiasm Mbengue made a couple of forward runs which threatened to open up the Orient defence. Wing had a half chance, but his touch let him down. In the end both teams were probably happy with a draw.

Holmes finally succumbed to an injury sustained in a full-blooded challenge on the halfway line and was replaces by McIntyre near the end. Hopefully not a serious injury. His presence in the back four is even more crucial following he departure of Abbey.

The BBC website described the match as " entertaining draw...". Assistant manager James Oliver- Pearce said in the post-match interview "...It was some of the best football we've played all season..."

Maybe my expectations are too high, but I think can and have played better this season. I imagine Ruben Selles would agree having lost his voice during the match and was unable to conduct the post-match interview himself!

John Wells

This League One game took place 33 days ago in the 2023/2024 season.