Royals hopeless after fourth consecutive defeat
St. Mary's Stadium
8th December 2012
Reading suffered a fourth straight loss, as they put in a dire performance against Southampton and lost 1-0 at St Mary's.
The home side started the game very strongly, with the Saints coming close to opening the scoring within two minutes, as Jay Rodriguez fired into the side netting after the Royals defence failed to clear. Reading really struggled to have possession of the ball in the opening exchanges, as Southampton threatened again, but this time through Morgan Schneiderlin, as the Frenchman's effort trickled wide of Federici's post.
Brian McDermott's side showed gradual improvement as the game progressed, but would thank Adam Federici for keeping them in the game. The Australian has come in for criticism in recent weeks, but he had to be about his wits to palm away Rickie Lambert's goalbound curling effort from the edge of the box, before Adam Lalana's effort minutes later was not troubling Federici.
With 30 minutes gone, Federici was finally beaten but his blushes were saved by referee Jonathan Moss, who adjudged the keeper to have been fouled by Saints defender Yoshida. However, replays showed how the decision may have been very harsh on the hosts. The best chance of the half did however fall to Reading, as Shorey's free kick was kept alive by Morrison and Robson-Kanu's header hit the post.
The second period failed to see any vast improvements from the Berkshire side, with Federici once again called into action, this time to deny Jason Puncheon's effort from the edge of the area. Southampton continued to push and heaped the rewards, as Puncheon was to get the better of the resilient keeper. The winger received the ball in the area after a square ball from Nathaniel Clyne and finished expertly, into the bottom corner to give the Saints a priceless lead.
Reading struggled to form a response to this goal. Captain Jobi McAnuff was quiet for the majority of the afternoon and his effort after cutting in from the left, was not troubling Kelvin Davis in the Southampton goal. Adam Le Fondre had a decent chance to forge an equaliser, but could not direct his header towards goal, after an inviting cross from Robson-Kanu.
Nigel Adkins' side were keen on sealing the game, as the Royals seemed to have no outlet to scoring. Substitute Guly Da Prado came close twice in the final 10 minutes, firstly coming close with an audacious effort from the edge of the box, then forcing a smart save from Federici from 10 yards. It finished 1-0 to the hosts, who rose out of the relegation zone, while Reading were six points from safety out of it.
In summary, Reading were abysmal. Many of the fans around me have said it was the worse they have seen us play in a very long time and many would argue against that claim. It once again proves how our tactics are extremely outdated and that it is 'the norm' to playing an extra man in midfield. McDermott's substitutions were also brought into question once again, with notable discontent from Jay Tabb and Jason Roberts during the game.
Reading: Federici, Cummings, Mariappa, Morrison, Shorey, Robson-Kanu, Leigertwood, Tabb, McAnuff, Roberts, Le Fondre
Subs: Taylor, Harte, Pearce, Guthrie, McCleary Hunt, Samuel
Southampton: Davis, Clyne, Yoshida, Fonte, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Cork, Puncheon, Lallana, Rodriguez, Lambert
Subs: Boruc, Hooiveld, Ward-Prowse, Davis, Ramirez, Do Prado, Mayuka