West Brom comeback sinks Royals
17th October 2009
The Royals took the lead once again, away at West Brom thanks to a Matt Mills goal, but some awful defending ensured we left the Hawthorns with nothing.
Brendan Rodgers declared himself happy with his sides defending so far this season before this game but insisted we improve upfront, so it was rather strange that he opted to recall Matt Mills for Darren O`Dea at the centre of the Royals backline. It was another example of Rodgers saying one thing but doing another, but the rookie manager was proved right after just six minutes when Brian Howard`s free kick found Mills at the back post to head home his second goal of the season.
It was just what we deserved for a positive start to the game and it should have been two not long after but Jobi McAnuff wasted a glorious chance when he volleyed over from Shaun Cummings cross. Unfortunately, as so often has been the case this season, it was a fantastic start but it we failed to keep up the momentum and fell apart defensively from midway through the first half.
You would be forgiven for thinking that we were the team most likely to score from our own corner but no! The dead ball was cleared to the edge of the box where McAnuff allowed it to bounce and decided to play the way he was facing, nothing wrong in that, but his hopelessly short backpass to Adam Federici meant the Australian had to come steaming out of his area but was beaten to the ball by Jerome Thomas who clipped the ball over the onrushing keeper and had a straight race with Cummings to reach the ball - he won and put the ball into an empty net. It would have been funny if it wasn`t happening to your club, and all the hard work from the opening stages of the game was well and truly undone by a stupid and needless back pass. Before the break Ryan Bertrand had to be replaced by O`Dea at left back after the on loan Chelsea man picked up a head knock.
The second half was all West Brom and Federici had to be in fine form to keep the scores level, making two fine saves from Chris Wood who had replaced Roman Bednar after just four minutes of the game. Federici could do nothing though to deny Thomas his second goal when he raced clear down the left hand side and slotted home, Cummings hardly covering himself in glory again allowing the winger far too much space.
Despite the introduction to Grzegorz Rasiak and Shane Long from the bench, the Royals simply failed to create any chances and the game was made safe when yet more shocking defending allowed Youssouf Mulumbu to volley home from the edge of the area, despite us having three attempts to clear the ball.
A shot from Graham Dorrans from the half way line almost caught out Federici but the keeper just managed to scramble back and tip it over the bar. But by that point we were a side that was well beaten.