Skip to main content

Bournemouth 3-1 Reading

Reading allowed the chasing pack to move within two points with another disappointing defeat, this time away at AFC Bournemouth. Although the loss isn't exactly surprising, given the two sides' recent form, the manner of defeat was particularly frustrating.

The opening two minutes was all Reading, with Gorkss eventually putting a free header over the bar after getting completely underneath the ball - but that's where Reading stopped playing football, and started imploding. Matt Ritchie scored with less than ten minutes gone, when a ball into the left channel was pulled across the six yard box by Lewis Grabban.

Royston Drenthe made a blistering run down the right-wing at 1-0, but only ended getting bundled off the ball with ALF screaming for it in the middle. 1-1 is a completely different game, and Drenthe's aversion to passing the ball so often ends with the team on the defensive after losing possession. However the reason the fans chant his name is, not only because he's one of the highest profile Reading players ever, but also because he's so often the only player on the pitch who looks like he wants to be there. Admittedly not enough to keep him in the team - so many wayward crosses again today - but it would be nice to see that commitment from the rest of the team. I feel Pog should probably get a mention, he looked to provide the impetus on many an occasion and held up the ball as well as one could be expected with no support.

Today was a perfect storm against Reading. Gorkss had a particularly bad game - almost every pass missed its target, and so often got the team into trouble; Bournemouth knew exactly how to exploit our defence - over the top, and force the centre backs to turn; and finally having both Williams and Guthrie out injured meant that those in the central midfield positions didn't pick up runners, and our midfield was completely overrun. Playing Bridge also seemed like a mistake, he wasn't up to the pace of the game and was substituted early in the second half. When playing Gunter and Obita we have pace at the back to cover balls over the top, but today whenever Gunter was caught up pitch we had nothing.

So within 17 minutes it was 2-0, and they were lucky not to concede more. A weak McCarthy parry could have been turned in, but luckily a man in blue and white got there first, and a corner almost fell to Grubban but was taken off his foot acrobatically by a teammate who blazed over. Grubban was also clean through after he beat everybody for pace, but he somehow missed McCarthy's bottom left corner.

That wasn't to save The Royals though, as less than a minute before the 45 were up lax defending once again meant that Bournemouth could easily pick a ball into the corner before crossing - this time Kermorgant headed home. At half-time it was quickly becoming a question of damage control, because, what with teams closing in, goal-difference is quickly becoming an important factor.

It seemed like Bournemouth were content with what they had, but in the second-half they still managed to have the better chances. Hal Robson managed to pull a goal back with a nicely placed finish, but even that didn't save him from the fans' frustrations when he bottled a challenge. At that point, a 2-1 scoreline would have been a lot better, or potentially even a 2-2 if Drenthe had squared to ALF.

All in all, the result was flattering to Reading, but it also means that there is still something to play for. I just wish that the players saw that. Leigertwood looked fairly good for somebody who's been out for the best part of a year, and Reading actually played some fairly nice stuff in stoppage time. Although that may be because Bournemouth sat off and let them play. Leicester on Monday is huge!


Popular posts from this blog

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

The Big Man Cometh

In the grand scheme of things, I consider myself a bit of an Andy Carroll sceptic. Reading have a penchant for signing players that spend the majority of their time in the physio room, and Carroll aligns with that transfer policy to a tee. It must be said that given the lack of other options, and a short term deal that has no real risk for the club, there isn't any big downside in gambling on the Geordie. With that being said, even I was calling out for the introduction for The Big Man at half-time on Saturday. Reading had a heap of possession just outside the box in the opening forty-five but couldn't translate that into chances. Drinkwater had a tame shot saved after good work from Yiadom, but the best chance of the half fell to Puscas after a fortuitous deflection off a Forest player. The flag went up for offside but it didn't matter as the striker couldn't convert anyway. Both managers had done a fairly good job at negating the other side's strengths. Forest'

"We’ve never been so flat"

There have been some abysmal Reading performances this season, I don't really need to list them out. But in that dirge, there are two performances that I haven't fully come to terms with my feelings on. The visits of Sheffield United and Luton to The SCL are a clash between feeling like the concept behind the tactics was  reasonable and the implementation clearly not working. But there's one issue with my reading of the game; Veljko himself wasn't happy with either performance. In fact, he used the exact same word to label both - 'flat'. Reading's three in midfield meant they could cover SU attacking midfielders and wing backs And yet, the set-ups for both seem to perfectly explain why the team may be flat. Against The Blades they switched to a 4-3-2-1, with Ejaria dropping deeper to form the three alongside Drinkwater and Laurent. That trio were effectively tasked with stopping McGoldrick and Gibbs-White from being able to come central. On Wednesday we may