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Reading 3-1 Bournemouth

What. A. Win. There's something extra special about a victory when TMc gets involved in the goals, isn't there? 

Reading's set-piece routines have been a staple of Paunovic's reign to this point, and they were the difference-maker again with Tom McIntyre becoming an increasingly important piece to the puzzle. His header and then volley at the back post gave Laurent the chance to prod home from close range. Much like The Royals, Bournemouth seem to be dragged toward the front post, which gave McIntyre a free header deep.

McIntyre and Joao are looking to pounce, while Ejaria is an option even if Begovic pushes the ball wider

While the home side have to be thankful to Begovic for McIntyre's doubling of the lead, it was clever positioning of the defender at the back post. That, along with the shot being across the Bournemouth goalkeeper, meant there was always a good chance that TMc would get at least a stab at the ball. In general, goalkeepers like to parry free-kicks when there's so little time to react.

Rinomhota's runs to midfield caused issues in the first half especially

Bournemouth altered their shape after that goal, rotating their triangle in midfield. Billing and Lerma became the holding midfielders, with Lewis Cook playing in front of them. Rinomhota's runs had been causing issues, and particularly when coupled with his ability to win fouls. It was his beautiful dive bursting run that won the foul for McIntyre's goal too. Ultimately Diego Rico paid the price again, being hooked at half time against us for the second time this season.

Joao's goal effectively sealed the game before half time, and it was good to see the striker put his penalty miss behind him. The move started with Omar Richards stepping past Billing in midfield before interplay between Ejaria and Swift gave Ovie enough space to pick the pass into Joao. He took control, feigned to shoot, and rolled the ball across his body before scoring. 

Chris Mepham evidently wasn't expecting it, as he was slow getting back into position, and that created enough space for Lucas to slot home. Why Mepham wasn't immediately looking to double up on Joao is unclear to me; potentially he was expecting Rico to give that cover. The big man gave them a warning earlier on when he failed with the ball drag, but they had no such luck on this occasion.

Ejaria's assist was his first since Norwich, on that deflection, a month and a half ago. He hadn't even register a key pass in any of the last three games. Admittedly, against Bournemouth most ended in speculative shots from distance, rather than anything particularly special, but he was getting himself into dangerous areas. It was the movement of the attacking midfield trio that caused issues, with Cook being dragged all over the place. All three of Ovie, Swift, and Olise are most dangerous in central positions, and it's a good way of trying to open space for them. That was combined with Swift being more proactive dropping deep than against Preston, and when he did it that from the left side he had nobody following him.

Rafael had two targets throughout the game. Joao central, or Holmes on the right.

Danjuma had the beating of Tom Holmes in the first half, and I'm sure the Reading player was happy to see the back of him at half time. Holmes is an interesting case with Yiadom coming back in. Yiadom is clearly a more complete right back in open play, but Holmes height is pretty important for The Royals when it comes to set pieces all over the pitch. If Meite also returns to the starting line up, that may not be as much of an issue, but a single Holmes-Yids swap may mean a rethink from dead balls.

Reading clearly shut up shop in the second half, and they did ride their luck at points. Rafael pulled off a few good saves, but nothing that would be considered outstanding. Of course, a lot of that is down to Bournemouth's wastefulness rather than Reading, but nothing sums up the second half as much as Tom Holmes throwing himself in front of the ball to stop two excellent chances.

The only blot on the evening's work was Junior Stanislas' free-kick. Alfa Semedo turned and Joao stepped to his left, opening just enough space to fit a Mitre Delta Max. You could tell neither Rafael nor Morrison was happy, who both immediately took issue with wall. There's not too much to say, except that it's more than a little schoolboy.

And best of all, Friday night saw the return of the aforementioned Yak and Yids. Reading's injury crisis is coming toward an end, and that means we're only going to get stronger. Halleljuah.


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