Reading FC Match Report: 2022/2023 Season - Championship


Reading: A Carroll (27), T Ince (53)
Swansea: L Cullen (71)

Going into the second half of the season, Reading climbed back to the fringes of the promotion race with a hard-earned three points at home to Swansea. Reading learned their lesson from their previous encounter with the welsh side earlier in the season when they ended up coming away from the Liberty Stadium empty handed after the letting a two goal led slip conceding three second goals. It was lively encounter in which Swansea dominated possession but found it hard to breach a solid Reading defence always looking threatening on the break with Ince and Meite's pace.

In a lively opening, Reading pressure caused panic in the City defence and might have taken an early lead, but the visitors soon settled in to their passing game. Joe Allen was allowed roam midfield and pick out passes unopposed as Swansea threatened to unlock the Reading defence. After nineteen minutes Tom Ince chased down a long ball and wriggled free of his marker to deliver a cross which Andy Carroll directed a firm header on target but straight at Benda in the City goal. For all their possession City only created one clear cut chance in the first half when Cooper was denied by a good save from Lumley after twenty-four minutes.

Three minutes later Reading took the lead through Andy Carroll. Benda got insufficient distance punching a cross and Carroll volleyed home through a crowded penalty area. Swansea were clearly rattled by Reading’s physical presence in the box and should have gone further behind when Carroll was hauled over attempting to attack a ball delivered onto the box from a free kick. After the now obligatory antics which precede the spot kick, Miete was sufficiently distracted to balloon the ball over the bar to the joy of the City fans, who delighted in the opportunity to remind English fans of Harry Kane’s similar recent failure from the spot in the World Cup.

A medical emergency amongst the away fans, which thankfully turned out to be not too serious thanks to the swift responses form the medical staff around the ground, caused a lengthy delay just before half time.

Eight minutes in to the second half Tom Ince pounced on yet another error at the back from the visitors to extend Reading’s lead with the help of a fortunate deflection wrong-footing Benda. City launched an all-out assault on the Reading defence freshening up their attack with the introduction of a Cundle, Paterson, and Cullen in a triple substitution. Armstrong Oko-Flex replaced Wood to further bolster their offensive threat. Reading sat back, and with all hands to the pump defensively, there was little hope of relieving the pressure by playing out from the back and enjoying a spell of possession in the City half. Rahman replaced Meite with half an hour to play confirming Reading’s intention to hang on to their lead. A worrying tactic for the home fans.

Swansea pressure almost inevitably produced a goal. Piroe’s fine header was saved by an equally fine save from Lumley but he could only push it against the post and Cullen was left with a tap in the reduce Reading’s lead to a single goal. Long replaced a weary Carroll and Mbengue came on for Hoilett to help see out the final ten minutes without conceding another goal.

Unlike the Reading teams of recent seasons, this group of players are full of fight and tough to break down and seeing out the final ten minutes and six further minutes of stoppage time. They might have even added a third goal when Benda was caught up field for a corner, but Ince’s attempt didn’t have the legs to roll into the unguarded net. Now that would have been harsh on a Swansea side who had battled hard throughout. Reading are now back in the chasing pack of four clubs locked on thirty-five point occupying the fourth to eight places.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 94 days ago in the 2022/2023 season.