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Wycombe 1-1p Reading

Reading eventually overcame a decent Wycombe side after penalties in the The Morrisons Car Park Cup. Only six places separate the teams in the league, and the home side will be disappointed that they didn't manage to hold onto their lead after being the better team for large parts of the game.

Gomes decided to experiment with a sparkling-new 5-3-2 formation given there wasn't three points up for grabs. McIntyre, Morrison and Moore deployed at the back. Richards and Rinomhota both sat fairly deep in defence, letting Wycombe stretch the play when they had possession of the football, but then pushed right up to support attacks. Pelé sat deepest of the midfield three, Adam and Ejaria in front of him - the latter with a particularly free role. Puscas played as 9, with Boyé buzzing around in the 10 role.

Shooting toward a raucous away end in the first half, you'd hope that could buoy the side on, and they definitely had their chances. Boyé missed a sitter from eight yards when his fairly tame strike, while slipping, was saved by the keeper. Puscas got in behind but allowed the defender to get back at him, and didn't get a clean shot away. He also had a decent chance when, after some lovely play by Omar Richards, he headed over from even closer than Boyé. Admittedly, Richards ball may have been a touch too high.

Rinomhota had a tough time on the right, a few bad touches and a few poor balls. Admittedly it was his ball in that Boyé failed to convert, so he should have racked up at least one assist. Conversely Richards, on the other flank, continued his strong start the campaign. Presumably due to the added cover he seemed more comfortable running at the defence, and has a slightly Suarez way of being tackled and yet still coming out with the ball. Special mention to Ovie Ejaria for running the show. Able to turn on a sixpence, good vision, intelligent on the ball. I love him.

We must also talk about Charlie Adam. He was fairly crucial to attacks in that first half - often spraying passes to either wing (especially out to the left for the gallivanting Richards). The issue, though, is that his fitness is completely non-existent - you could see it within the first fifteen minutes of the match. Often his lack of pace slowed attacks down. It was no surprise that, when Reading started to chase the game, he was the man to depart.

In the second half Baldock came on. Presumably to hassle the defence a little bit more, although it did take away the technical ability of Boyé. Strangely, Boyé did actually take to the pitch for the second half but was replaced before kick-off. I don't think I've missed a new rule in that regard. Sam did himself any favours, and was generally pretty poor.

Reading failed to defend a corner again as Alex Samuel's dash to the near post wasn't covered off, and he managed to flick it into the far corner. I've heard some argue that it never should have been Wycombe's set-piece, but I thought it may have taken a slight touch. There were definitely no arguments on the field. It's a worrying trend, if we're going to concede from any corner in - it will be exploited at basically any level. We were fairly lucky to get away with a draw at the end, after another corner ended up with the ball hitting the bar.

As I said, Adam was almost immediately taken off after the goal, and with Swift's introduction we moved to a 4-4-2-ish system. Rinomhota pushed into midfield with Moore filling in at right back. Given that Morrison has played there before it was an interesting decision - presumably made to give the former Birmingham City captain a chance in his given position. The changes made an immediate impact. A gorgeous through ball from Swift took out two Wycombe players. Puscas stabbed the initial pass toward goal only to see it saved, and then followed up on the rebound. Hopefully a sign of what's to come.

Rafael was undoubtedly the hero in the penalty shootout, and he did what he had to during the game. It's interesting that he seems to play a more direct kicking game than Virginia - and it didn't always come off. I'm convinced he'll be a firm fan favourite, and I can't see him remaining on the subs bench for much longer. It was also good for Loader to score the winner - hopefully we can move on from deadline day.

A few final notes - Tom McIntyre has the potential to be a starting centre back, and soon. He reads the game so well, and the only mistake I can remember him making is being a little naive with a push in the back to give a free kick away. Likewise Wycombe's Anthony Stewart was immense, and kept Puscas quiet on the whole - it was just an excellent ball combined with perfect movement that he was caught out by. And on the topic of Puscas, he looked more lively when he started dropping a little deeper to get the ball, after we switched to a 4-4-2, and although he doesn't seem to be on the exact same wavelength as all our players I thought he combined with Boyé well.

Hopefully we can catch Cardiff out on Sunday, although it's in front of Sky cameras which, infamously, is never a good thing. I wouldn't be surprised if we did try the 5-3-2 again, just with a stronger side out.


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