Skip to main content

Reading 1-1 Bristol City

Reading recorded their fourth consecutive 1-1 WSL draw in a match that should have been an easy win. As in the last match before the international break, Reading lined up in a 4-2-2-2. Brooke Chaplen was replaced by Fara Williams behind the strikers

What can you say about a match that you dominate, but failed to take chances? It's been that way all season. The only time The Royals have scored more than once was against Villa in the second game of the season, but on the flip side they've only conceded more than once on the opening day when Arsenal put six past them.

All of that is a tad irrelevant to this game. To sum up just how dominant the home side were, they had almost the same number of touches in Bristol City's penalty area (59) as the away side had in the whole final third (61), and a third of the Reading's touches were in the third they were attacking (250 / 741). The home side had 71% possession and 33 shots. As I say, dominant.

Harding screws her shot wide after clean through on goal. She'd already missed in a similar position to the right of goal.

The best chances fell to Carter and Harding, who both found themsleves 1-on-1 with the keeper. The former took too long on multiple occasions, and allowed the defence back at her. Yet again Carter gets herself into good positions, but fails to convert. The issue is Reading don't have anybody else to fill that role. As for Harding, she lacked her scoring touch. Two egregious misses to either side of the goal in the second half cost her side the match. 

Salmon slips through Wellings, taking out Bartrip and Cooper. A lack of pace in Reading's defence has been exposed already this season.

In many ways the game is summed up in Bristol City's first goal. A Carter hooked cross ended up falling to Fishlock, whose volley was well saved by Sophie Baggaley. Five touches later and Charlie Wellings was racing clear of the Reading defence. Ebony Salmon, who shone throughout the match, took out both Reading centre-backs with a great pass. Bartrip dived in to win the ball, but to no avail, and Cooper couldn't keep up with Wellings after trying to stand her up earlier in the move. Cooper seemed to think that Bartrip had dealt with the danger - she hadn't. From there all Wellings had to do was slide it across to Emma Bissell and the eighteen year old finished the move off.

Reading's equaliser came from one of the few times Kristine Leine put a ball into the box. Harding ran across the keeper, who made a hash of gathering, and Williams smashed home. There wasn't much nuance to the play, but unlike anything else it actually got the job done. Balls into the box from wide seem to be what Reading are missing. When the forward players get dragged out wide, they rarely end with putting a cross into the box.

As with the men's matches recently, it feels like there isn't much to learn from a match that is unlikely to be repeated. What should be stressed is how poor failing to beat Bristol City is. A team that had conceded twenty-five goals and picked up a singular point in six matches leading up to the match at The Madejski.

One must assume that Manchester United, leaders of the WSL, may break Reading's 1-1 streak and it may be the second time that Moloney's has to pick the ball out of her net more than once.


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