Reading frustrated at home once again
Saturday 29th March 2014
Reading's poor home form continued, as they were only able to draw against a lively Huddersfield side, who had the better of the chances at the Madejski Stadium.
Nigel Adkins brought about the changes after the embarrassing defeat to Barnsley on Tuesday night, making four of them. This included a return for the injured duo Morrison and Williams, while there was also a start for Hal Robson-Kanu, as well as Michael Hector making his first home start in a central midfield role. Adkins was clearly not happy with some certain individuals the other night.
Individual mistakes have been our downfall in recent weeks and it struck again, as the visitors took a lead just three minutes. Sean Morrison, on his return from a long-term injury, misjudged the flight of the ball coming into his area, which allowed Nakhi Wells a free run at goal, slotting home calmly from ten yards. Another frustrating start, but another good response from the Royals.
Skipper Jobi McAnuff picked up the ball on the left side and drove inside, beating two men, before being brought down in the area, with the referee obliging and awarding a penalty. As he did Tuesday night, Pavel Pogrebnyak stepped up to dispatch the penalty kick into the corner to put us back in the game. We could not afford any more let offs against a confident-looking Huddersfield side.
It was soon to become the Alex McCarthy show after that, as he made two superb saves in the space of a few minutes. The young keeper did really well to tip Hammill`s goalbound effort over the crossbar, before appearing to get a hand to Wells` firm effort, which struck off the post. The Terriers` were looking the more likely to go in front, as we were struggling to create any clear cut chances.
We did soon force Smithies into some saves though, after some fantastic interchange play on the right side gave Gunter room to cross for Pogrebnyak to attack the ball, but the keeper made a superb save to deny the Russian. Michael Hector then tried his luck from twenty yards, but despite the effort carrying some pace, it was quite central and the keeper dealt with it comfortably.
McAnuff then had a half decent chance after good build-up play involving Jordan Obita, but the captain`s effort did not have enough power to trouble the keeper. We finally appeared to quell the Huddersfield threat in the dying stages of the first half, yet we would probably have been more concerned about our lack of chances created in the half, with Robson-Kanu being very ineffective.
The second half started quite slow, with no real chances, but Huddersfield probably shading it in terms of possession. We were getting in good positions, but the final ball was lacking from the likes of Obita, Gunter and McCleary. Pogrebnyak nearly put us in front after the visitors failed to clear from a corner, but the big Russian could only fire into the side netting on his weaker right foot.
Oscar Gobern was the first Huddersfield player to try his luck at goal, but his well-struck effort was easy for McCarthy to gather. McCarthy was then forced into a harder save minutes later, as Ward`s deflected effort was heading for the bottom corner, but managed to squirm across his goal to palm it away. The game was starting to finally pick up in the second half with twenty minutes to play.
Reading were struggling to create any opportunities for big Pog and the introduced Le Fondre, while Huddersfield were looking reasonably content with a point. They did go within inches of possibly winning it though, as Obita had to clear off the line, following a goalmouth scramble from a corner kick. It was becoming very nervy, but with results going our way, three points would be invaluable.
Michael Hector nearly worked an opening after a good run from midfield, but was stabbed away just in time by a Terriers defender. Pogrebnyak nearly found a way through in injury time after turning well in the area, but Smithies gathered at his feet. The final whistle was met with some boos from the home crowd, despite an improved performance from the awful showing the other night.
I really cannot understand why fans are so disgruntled with a point, against a good Huddersfield side, who looked much more worthy than 16th place. Our home form hasn`t been good enough and once again, despite coming away with a point, we did not create enough opportunities. We are still in a good position for the play-offs though, so we need to remain confident with seven games to go.
Reading - 4-2-3-1: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Morrison, Obita, Williams, Hector, McCleary, Robson-Kanu, McAnuff, Pogrebnyak
Subs: Federici, Gorkss, Kelly, Akpan, J.Taylor, Drenthe, Le Fondre
Huddersfield - 4-5-1: Smithies, Smith, Gerrard, Clarke, Dixon, Hammill, Gobern, Norwood, Clayton, Ward, Wells
Subs: Bennett, Bunn, Woods, Hogg, Holmes, Wallace, Scannell