Royals survival bid damaged by Latics thumping
23rd February 2013
Reading were thoroughly embarrassed at the Madejski Stadium, as they were trashed 3-0 by a comfortable Wigan side.
Royals boss Brian McDermott opted to make four changes from the team that lost 2-1 as Old Trafford on Monday, with Akpan, Kebe, Harte and Pogrebnyak coming back in to the side and Morrison and Karacan retaining their places for this fixture. The visitors had the better of the opening exchanges at the Madejski Stadium and Franco Di Santo's fizzing effort from just outside the box forced Federici to make a good save.
Reading improved as the half progressed and had a decent chance themselves, when good work on the right from Karacan allowed Kebe to swing in an inviting ball for the head of Hope Akpan, but his header ballooned over the crossbar. The Malian then had an effort of his own after Wigan failed to clear a corner kick, but his rasping volley only hit the side netting, with half of the ground thinking the ball was in the net.
January signing from Crawley Hope Akpan was in a much more advanced position in this game and was heaping the benefits, having another half chance as he won the ball in midfield and driving on, onto the completely mishit his effort at goal. Goal-shy Pogrebnyak would have thought he had given the Royals the lead after Kebe's low delivery, getting goalside of Gary Caldwell, but the Scotsman responded with a superb challenge.
After Reading failed to profit from these opportunities, Roberto Martinez's side finished much the stronger. Federici again had to be about his wit's to deny Kone's close-range effort, after Boyce played through the Ivorian. However, the visitors did take the lead soon after, following some shambolic defending from the Royals as they failed to Shaun Maloney's corner and Kone cleared up by poking the ball into the net.
Shell-shocked by conceding such a crucial goal, McDermott's men folded and conceded another simple goal. Sean Morrison gave away the ball in the centre of midfield and with Ian Harte out of position, Beausajour lifted over a perfectly-weighted ball for the onrushing Kone to run in and finish comfortably past Adam Federici. The Madejski Stadium was in a state of shock and the chorus boo's at the half time whistle reflected the anger.
Potentially dropping further into the relegation mix, McDermott needed to gamble, thus deciding to call on the heroics of Adam Le Fondre at half time. Despite this introduction, the Royals went further behind. Centre-half Maynor Figueroa played a simple one-two with Franco Di Santo on the edge of the Royals box, allowing the defender to calmly slot his shot through the legs of Adam Federici, putting the result beyond any doubt.
The objective of getting anything from the game was not made any easier by the dismissal of Pavel Pogrebnyak on 55 minutes, as the Russian appeared to aim a stamp at the ankle of the goalscorer Figueroa and Phil Dowd viewed it as a red card offence. It was to become an exhibition came from there on in, with a long-range Jobi McAnuff effort the closest that Reading came in the second period.
The one of the very few positive performances in this game was from Adam Federici and the Australian had to make some smart, routine saves to keep the scoreline from embarrassing. Firstly, Figueroa tried his luck gain with a firm effort from 20-yards but the keeper was equal to it. Jordi Gomez was next to try his luck, but Federici was again aware to wisely push away his effort.
It wasn't a good day for Reading and as Brian McDermott has said, we just need to forget about it and move on. This was one of the four crucial games we needed to win and puts pressure on us to win the other three at home against QPR, Southampton and Villa, which won't be routine as today proved. We can only concentrate on trying to get something at Everton next week, then preparing for Villa for the week after.
Reading: Federici, Kelly, Morrison, Mariappa, Harte, Kebe, Leigertwood, Akpan, Karacan, McAnuff (C), Pogrebnyak
Subs: Taylor, Shorey, Pearce, McCleary, Robson-Kanu, Hunt, Le Fondre
Wigan: Al Habsi, Boyce, Scharner, Caldwell (C), Figueroa, Beaysejour, McArthur, McCarthy, Maloney, Di Santo, Kone
Subs: Robles, Alcaraz, Stam, Espinoza, Gomez, McManaman, Henriquez