Skip to main content

Nottingham Forest 1-0 Reading

Starting with two ties against promotion chasing sides was never going to be the ideal way to kick off the season, but once again Reading largely held their own in a tight encounter - only to be edged out late on.

Again, The Royals probably had the better of the early exchanges in a somewhat surprising, not-seen in yonks 4-4-2 formation. Firm twitter favourite Yakou Meite finally getting a start on the right wing, while Sam 'The Saviour' Baldock played off Bodvarsson. The set-up worked much like against Derby, with a high press harrying Forest who never really settled. The only real issue was that the ball kept bouncing off our Icelandic giant.

Both wingers seemed to have the freedom to drift inside, and linked up in the middle of the pitch for Reading's best chance of the game - Barrow sliding in Meite, who was put under pressure as he shot and didn't manage to get any real power. Similar in style to Bodvarsson's miss last week, although this was in an even better position.

Forest were almost ahead before half-time as the otherwise impressive Ilori allowed Grabban to wander in behind, though Mannone stayed big from a tight angle. As an aside I wasn't a massive fan of the Reading fans getting at Grabban - played out of position for much of the season he was here, but still made an impact at points.

There was also a lofted ball down the middle that the Forest player - who I know have no recollection of - failed to bring down. He still had a bit to do, but it was a fine ball to put him in a good position.

After criticising Kelly last week for a lack of composure he had a bigger impact at the weekend. A couple of much better free-kicks and balls over the top for Jon Dadi, probably helped by the fact that there was actually someone staying up top to play the balls to.

The goal, in many ways, was just unfortunate. McShane blocks a shot, it ricochets awkwardly for Blackett to get a hold of, and it pops loose for Soudani to curl, beautifully, into the net. Maybe Tyler should have been stronger but we have definitely conceded worse goals.

Barrow started to become more influential as we were chasing the game, putting in a couple of decent balls - and taking on his full back more than he had done in the first half, but to no avail. It was surprising how content we seemed to be with a measured build up play when we'd stuck Bod and Meite up front - I would have been pinging balls into them all day long.

Again left to rue a moment of quality, but promising signs. The real test was always going to be this run of games against sides who'll be struggling come the end of the season: Bolton, Blackburn, Sheffield Wednesday comprise three of the next four league matches.

Plus we can look forward to seeing some of the fringe players start in tomorrow's Carabao Cup game. Walker could put more pressure on Mannone with a good performance, Popa if fit, and Clement - who may feel a little unlucky to not be closer to the starting XI given his positive pre-season - are all surely candidates to make a start.


Popular posts from this blog

Replacing Omar Richards

In the summer team report I wrote: "we  really  don't want to be going into 2021/2022 without any LBs so a new contract for Omar has to be on the agenda early". And yet, that seems to be exactly what's happening with Richards set to depart for pastures new. Whether he goes to Bayern Munich or not, bigger clubs are circling. There's a couple of options internally, and the club are also looking elsewhere. Ethan Bristow The youngster has been the go-to left-back for cup matches and tends to start for the U23s. He's been brought onto the bench since Richards' injury, but has found himself behind Gibson and McIntyre in the pecking order. Bristow's little run inside drags the right-back narrow, and gives Aluko space to attack He has good vision to spot a pass, and often plays them first time to not allow the defence to put him under pressure. That's normally followed by an intelligent run, and not always to get the ball - sometimes he simply pulls a defe

Reading FC Season Review | 2020/2021

When your season starts with your manager having to watch your opening match from the hotel because he's not been hired in time to beat the quarantine, anything above getting relegated should probably be classed as a success. And Reading exceeded surely even the most optimistic of pre-season predictions. Veljko Paunovic Veljko Paunovic almost exclusively utilised a core group of players in a 4-2-3-1, only changing things when enforced. One of the consequences of that is that Reading had more players play over 3,000 minutes than any other side (roughly three-quarters of the season). That consistency is often seen as a good thing, but in a condensed season, it surely contributed to the injury woes. It can't have helped that the manager also used the second-fewest number of players over the course of the season. His substitutions were often categorised as late (Reading's subs played just 16 minutes on average, only Norwich's played fewer) or non-existent (Reading were 19t

Bournemouth 4-2 Reading

Reading slipped out of the promotion places for the first time this season after a fourth defeat. It looked like the international break had worked for the away side, after they lead by two goals at the break, only to concede four after half time. Semedo plays both a poor pass, and the wrong pass. Should drive, or pass to Aluko in space rather than trying a very difficult through ball. Before the game, I was critical of Alfa Semedo's continued inclusion, but it was his long legs nipping in before Begovic that won Reading their penalty. Despite that he just didn't offer enough in the rest of the match, costing his team going both ways. In the first half he had a great opportunity with a header - admittedly a chance he helped to create - but he got it completely wrong. As a defensive midfielder, heading should be well within his wheelhouse. Then there was the first time ball to try to put Ejaria through that went completely wrong, rather than easier pass to the completely unmarke