Reading slip up at home again
Saturday 21st December 2013
Reading lost for a second consecutive time at home, the first time in Adkins' Royals career, at the hands of a resurgent Wigan side.
Nigel Adkins made just one change to the side that won at Huddersfield last week, as Danny Guthrie returned from his one-game suspension at the expense of Jordan Obita. Reading would have wanted to put on a better home showing than the performance against Bournemouth two weeks ago, which saw us concede two very sloppy goals in the very half in quick succession.
I`m afraid this looks like it is becoming a trend at the moment, as it continued in this game, after some very inexcusable defending on two occasions. The away side broke in numbers and McClean was set away, but after being thwarted by two defenders, pulled the ball back to the edge of the box for Chris McCann in acres of space to calmly slot the ball past Alex McCarthy.
We didn`t learn our lesson and Alex Pearce suddenly thought he was Beckenbauer, trying to bring the ball down and pass it back to McCarthy. Unfortunately, he didn`t get past the first stage, as his atrocious touch allowed Powell to steal the home, run in on goal and hit a low shot, which McCarthy deflected, but only trickled into his net, as Reading were capitulating.
There was a lack of a response from the home side, who looked completely shell shocked and the home fans were making their discontent known. Pavel Pogrebnyak had the first effort on goal for the Royals, with his powerful effort from a tight angle having to be pushed away well by McCarthy. Gorkss headed over from the resulting corner, but Adkins` side were slowly improving.
The 4-4-2 system that Adkins originally applied before the game was clearly not working, as we couldn`t cope with Wigan`s numbers in midfield, so we reverted to a 4-1-2-1-2 diamond, putting the quiet Drenthe in a more central role. There was some improvement after this, with Sharp having a goal bound effort well blocked by a Latics defender.
Wigan`s attack was looking quiet after a lightning start, but really could have added a third just before the half time break, as McManaman`s clever feet gave him a great sight of goal, ten yards out, but Chris Gunter made a superb block to deny him. The boo`s ringed round the Madejski Stadium at the sound of the half time whistle, after another poor first half showing.
Jordan Obita was the only change at the break for Reading, coming on for Shaun Cummings. We needed a good start and an early goal to the second half to get the crowd back on side and the referee`s awarding of a penalty kick gave us a great chance to do that. Neat interchange between Gunter and Williams led to Beasejour pulling back the Welshman in the area, which was spotted by the linesman.
Billy Sharp was the men who decided to step up for the spot kick, despite competition from Pogrebnyak. The striker stepped up, yet managed to blaze his penalty over the crossbar, as groans boomed around the stadium and fans voicing for the introduction of Adam le Fondre. Sharp had another decent chance, as Drenthe set him away with a good pass, but Al-Habsi saved his effort.
Reading were controlling possession, but Wigan were always going to a threat on the break with their pace going forward. Half-time substitute Jordi Gomez forced McCarthy into a good save, having to push his effort wide of goal from the edge of the area. Adkins made the bold move of replacing Alex Pearce with Garath McCleary, leaving just two recognised defenders on the field.
This brave move was paying off though, as McCleary was finding acres of space on the right side and his low cross almost forced Leon Barnett into putting into his own net, but Al-Habsi deflected the effort away. Reading did get one back with over twenty minutes to go though, as Pavel Pogrebnyak rose highest from Danny Guthrie`s inswinging cross.
There was new found belief at the Madejski Stadium, as they felt they could go one better than the Bournemouth defeat. Danny Guthrie`s free kick went a few yards wide of the post, before Sharp or Pogrebnyak could not get on the end of le Fondre`s scuffed effort. The Russian tried his luck again and forced a superb save out of Al-Habsi, clawing his effort away from goal.
The Latics almost scored a third to seal the game as Will Keane fired an effort well over the bar after turning Gunter inside out, while McCann wasn`t far away minutes later. The hosts pushed for an equaliser, that some argue we may have deserved after a much improved second half showing, but it wasn`t to be, as we fell to a second-consecutive home defeat.
Reading - 4-4-2: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Cummings, Drenthe, Guthrie, Williams, McAnuff (C), Pogrebnyak, Sharp
Subs: Federici, Kelly, Akpan, Obita, McCleary, Blackman, Le Fondre
Wigan - 4-3-3: Al-Habsi, Perch, Rogne, Barnett, Beausejour, Watson, McCann, McArthur, McClean, McManaman, Powell
Subs: Nicholls, Ramis, Crainey, Shotton, Gomez, Keane, Holt