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Nottingham Forest 4-0 Reading

It wasn't a happy afternoon in the East Midlands where, for the first time this season, Reading's inexperience really shone through. With The Pog out injured it fell to Cox to lead the line, with Ryan Edwards just behind him. As normal there was an almost incestual link between the two clubs, with Michail Antonio starting for the home side, plus former Forest players Cox and Gunter in hoops.

Interestingly the home support didn't seem to be overjoyed with the returns. "Simon Cox, he's always offside" rang round the ground on multiple occasions, while Gunter was subjected to the fact he, "used to play for a big club". I'm assuming they were talking about Tottenham.

Excitingly Kuhl made his first start, and he looked calm and composed on the ball. He completed 86% of passes, although only 'completed' two of nine crosses - most of them from corners. In that stat Obita didn't fare much better, not finding anybody with any of his five crosses. Another interesting stat is that Hector only won 20% of aerial duels - incredibly poor when compared to Pearce's 60%, especially considering Hector is actually 10cm taller. He was also caught in two minds on at least one occasion, which left space for Nottingham to get in behind but thankfully Federici cleaned up to stop the score from becoming too embarrassing.

I'm becoming a stuck record but yet again the inability to stop the cross was the downfall. The first goal came from Cummings not getting out to the Burke, and him being able to pick out Antonio. No. 2 was down to Gunter's defending. Completely losing Antonio and allowing him to prod home at the back post - although the lack of pressure on the cross was obvious. For goal three Antonio was under no pressure when he picked out Fryatt. The last was just a horrible, horrible goal mouth scramble after a corner that should have been cleared but wasn't. Followed by, what I felt, was a completely uncessary 'shhing' gesture by goalscorer Assombalonga.

The worst part was that Reading were very much in the game just before the break, and actually looked the more likely to score - and level the game. A couple of breakaway chances, a tantalising ball from Obita just evaded Hector at the back post, and Aaron Kuhl completely mis-hit what should have been a simple half volley. Unfortunately, after the fifteen minute spell that saw the score move from 1-0 to 4-0, the game was over and there was no way back.

Interestingly the four midfield players that finished the game - Tshibola, Tanner, Kuhl, and Norwood - didn't have a Reading start to their name before the game. [Thanks BBC Sport]. Experience isn't everything, of course, and Kuhl/Norwood looked good in midfield, even if the game was already lost by the point they paired together. At this point Obita definitely needs to drop back into LB, he's mostly ineffectual in the middle of the field, and Cummings has no left foot to play in that position. He's getting caught out way too much.

The game really brought home how much we rely on Pog. With him out injured there was nobody to hold the ball up, and bring others into play as he's done so well in the opening games of the season. I'd like to see us bring in another big, strong striker for Cox to play off because our threat dissipates without the Big Russian. Cox is definitely a key piece to the puzzle though, making three times as many key passes than anybody else. If only we'd been able to tinker around in pre-season.

I think it's fairly telling that, even with the scoreline, the majority of those in blue stayed to applaud the team off. This wasn't a team that didn't put effort in, it's just a team that's not good enough to compete at this level yet. They'll get there. I'd rather be supporting this team, than be on the terraces of the City Ground singing about their big club, and how they're top of the league after four games. This team do show promise, it might just take them a while to realise it.


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