Royals unconvincing despite three points
Saturday 31st August 2013
Attendance: 7,396 (2,103 away)
Reading picked up their first victory in five games and first clean sheet for the season, as they beat a dogged Yeovil side by one goal at Huish Park.
Royals boss Nigel Adkins made eight changes to the side that was thrashed at Peterborough on Tuesday night, with the only survivors Adam Le Fondre, Chris Gunter and Shaun Cummings for his first league appearance, with Wayne Bridge out with a knee injury suffered in training during the week. This meant the likes of Guthrie, Drenthe and Pearce were recalled to the starting XI.
The home side had only scored one goal in the league in four games, but made a very bright start to the game in Somerset, which was the first league meeting between the two sides. Ed Upson scored Yeovil`s solitary goal this campaign and almost doubled his tally, as his long-range drive was palmed away by Alex McCarthy, who had a loan spell with the Glovers back in 2010.
Garath McCleary had Reading`s best effort of the game in the early exchanges, bypassing two players, but his left-footed effort didn`t cause Hennessey any problems. It was a game lacking in many clear cut chances, but it was Gary Johnson`s side doing most of the pressing in the first half. James Hayter should have done better with a chance in the area, after the Royals failed to clear a corner.
The performance was far from Reading`s best from Adkins` point of view, but made a strong finish to the first period. Royston Drenthe was surprisingly quiet in this game, but despite having three players around him on the left, worked a cross into the box, which beat everyone except substitute Danny Williams, whose volley wasn`t far wide of Hennessey`s post.
The second period started similarly to the first, with the hosts doing a lot of pressing and working the ball forward quickly. Forward Andy Williams had Yeovil`s best chance of the game in the first few minutes of the half, as he was slipped in by a team mate, but his effort was deflected just wide of the goal by Alex Pearce, but wasn`t seen by referee Trevor Kettle.
Reading could only get better in terms of their performance and it did as the half progressed. The game was opening up and Le Fondre found Drenthe in space on the left side of the area and despite beating his man, his fierce effort was deflected away for a throw in. Joel Grant responded with a rasping shot of his own, but was a few inches wide of the post.
It was getting to stage where one goal looked as if it was going to win the game and with both sides pressing for the goal, it was lucky that the golden chance would fall to us. Adam Le Fondre received the ball in space on the left and drove at Luke Ayling, forcing the defender into bringing him down in the penalty area, with the referee pointing to the spot with thirteen minutes to play.
The striker stepped up himself and dispatched the spot kick with confidence to give Reading a lead, which they probably didn`t deserve on the balance of play. Some are arguing that Le Fondre dived to win the penalty, which may have been the case, but making a challenge like that in the box is asking the referee to make a decision - which was luckily in our favour!
There was still time for one more clear cut chance in the game and it fell to Yeovil, with substitute Ngoo made a nuisance of himself, by attacking a cross from the left, but Alex McCarthy did enough to stop the forward from scoring. Reading saw the game out for a three points to hopefully wash away the worries of the Peterborough mauling.
It certainly wasn`t a good performance from us - we kept good amounts of possession, but struggled to break Yeovil down, who deserve credit for their performance. The worry is that if we play like that against the majority of teams in this league, we will lose. It`s a nice win before we go into the international break, but if you look at the bigger picture, performances need to improve.
Yeovil - 4-4-2: Hennessey, Ayling, McAllister (C), Edwards, Webster, Seaborne, Upson, Hayter, Ralls, Grant, Williams.
Subs: Foley, Tate, Dunn, Twumasi, Dawson, Hoskins, Ngoo
Reading - 4-4-2: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Morrison, Cummings, McCleary, Karacan, Guthrie, Drenthe, Blackman, Le Fondre
Subs: Federici, Mariappa, Gorkss, Williams, Akpan, Robson-Kanu, Pogrebnyak