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Reading 1-2 Wigan

So the first game I've been to in a while, scheduling my coming back from university in time to make it.

What an idiot.

Two goals within the first 12 minutes of a game against a team in the bottom half of the table is not good enough. Okay, so yes their first goal - a lovely flowing counter attack which ended in a goal after two defenders blocked an earlier cross, leaving a man free on the edge of the area - was nice, but it highlighted the fact that Reading were playing without a midfield. Both Dannys (DD) were pushed up far too high, and with Gunter attacking up the wing as he normally does with no cover, it was far too easy to exploit all the space on our right hand side. The exact position which Jem Karacan was so adept at filling was where at least one-half of DD should have been. It was more Pearce at fault for the second goal, who was pulled off early in the second half for McCleary - but we have no other choices at CB, something which should have been addressed in the close season.

The boos at half-time were completely justified, but it was mainly the fact the manager had got the game completely wrong tactically rather than anything else. That and a severe lack of effort - nobody was showing for throw-ins or easy out balls and just stood expectantly further up the pitch. We ended up playing a 4-3-1-2 formation with Drenthe just off the strikers, but still expecting him to play wide-right, and McAnuff wide-left as nobody was picking up the runs of their wingers and it just led to our players all running around without a real clue of how to play.

The second half started with Obita being brought on for Cummings and showing immediately why that was a terrible idea. Obita is not a left-back and so his half-hearted leg-at-the-ball clearance saw it almost end up in the back of his own net. Gorkss was pretty clearly concerned by his young counter-part and took it upon himself to cover almost everything, be that preemptively clearing the ball or covering behind him, which frequently left him out of position. There's no doubt we needed a change at HT but to go quite so aggressive so early on left us with severe problems at the back.

Gunter managed to break into the box and was clawed back which resulted in a Billy Sharp penalty that was fired nowhere near the target - leading to calls for Adam Le Fondre. I don't really understand the logic of Sharp taking a penalty when he was anonymous for almost the entire game. He'd hardly touched the ball, whereas Pavel (now referred to as: Our Saviour) looked up for the game,

Our defensive problem only worsened when, as I mentioned, McCleary came on for Pearce - forcing Gunter into the CB position whilst Garath played RB (or RWB is probably a more appropriate name). For huge periods this left us with two defenders, or when Gorkss went for a corner, a single guy on the half-way line. How we weren't caught by as good a counter-attacking side as Wigan is entirely beyond me. Our Saviour managed to pull a goal back - he was pretty much the only thing good about the performance - but it was obviously to no avail.

Adkins needs to instil some tactical know-how into our players. They all seem to have free roles, which means that there are huge holes all over the park for the opposition to drive into.

Reading, for the first half, were just completely out-played by Wigan, and in the second they had no reason to throw away a 2 goal lead and played well to defend it. It may be because this is exact what's happening with my NHL team at the minute - giving away two goal leads early in the first period - that's getting me quite so annoyed with Reading, but they need to change. I've been giving Adkins time and I will continue to, but this performance has completely changed by mind about how tactically astute the guy is. He seems completely reactionary instead of trying to get Reading playing properly.

On the plus side, Dellor's interview with SJM was actually incredibly good. Well done, Tim.


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