Stumbling Royals outplayed by Wigan
Friday 18th April 2014
Reading`s play-off hopes were left up in the air, after a rampant Wigan side breezed past Nigel Adkins` side by three goals at the DW Stadium.
The Royals boss made only one chance to the side that drew with Leicester on Monday night, as Hope Akpan came in for Wayne Bridge, who was presumably injured. Reading started well in the game and forced the first save of the game, as Jordan Obita`s low effort caused problems for Al-Habsi, but eventually gathered. However, we couldn`t build on this decent start to the game.
Since this, Reading would fail to have a shot on target in the entire game, as Wigan were relentless in their constant pressure on our goal. Shaun Maloney started after a long-term injury and forced McCarthy into his first save of the game, as the midfielder drove towards the byline and his shot-cross needed the young keeper to parry his effort away from the danger zone.
Roger Espinoza was the next player to come close, as his header went just wide of the post, as Beausejour was getting good space on the left-hand side. Calum McManaman hit the net soon after, but only the side of it, as he scampered into the box, but couldn`t get his effort on target. This would only deny the inevitable though, as the home side took a deserved lead soon after.
You couldn`t argue with the defending though, as Jordi Gomez scored a 25-yard screamer into the back of the net to break the deadlock, but would be fair to say it was coming. The Spaniard then fancied his luck from long-range again, but McCarthy denied him this time, as the parried his effort away. Reading were being blown away by a superior Wigan side, who were clearly in the mood.
A second was to follow just before half time though, which would seemingly finish off any chance the Royals had at the DW Stadium. McManaman was lively again and his smart run and shot forced McCarthy into a save, but could only parry to the onrushing Martyn Wagorn, who tapped in the rebound. Reading were nowhere near the quality of their opponents and it was showing.
It would have needed a minor miracle to salvage anything from this game after half time and it certainly beyond our reach when the rampant Latics added a third goal after the interval. Wigan broke down the left side well and Waghorn squared to Calum McManaman, whose fantastic footwork was finished off with a great finish, a goal he deserved for terrorising our defence all game.
The Royals were being completely overwhelmed and outplayed, as well as struggling to form any fluid attacking moves, with Pavel Pogrebnyak seeming a very isolated figure up front. While Wigan continued the pressure on our backline, there was fortunately no more goalmouth action until the 70th minute, when James McArthur pulled a shot wide from the edge of the box.
Our only hope of a consolation goal was coming in from long-range efforts, with Michael Hector and substitute Robson-Kanu going reasonably close, but not testing Al-Habsi at all. The final whistle fortunately signified the end of a game which was dominated by the hosts, who were relentless in their pressure throughout and probably deserved more than a three-goal winning margin.
The defeat means we drop out of the play offs once again, with Brighton now taking our spot in the top six, for the time being anyway. This was a bad defeat and likely demoralising too, but we need to remember we are still firmly in the race. Our next three games are very winnable ones and while we are on a sticky patch at the moment, we still have a great chance of making the play-offs.
Wigan - 4-3-3: Al-Habsi, Perch, Barnett, Boyce, Beasejour, McAthur, Espinoza, Gomez, McManaman, Maloney, Waghorn
Subs: Carson, Kiernan, Collison, Powell, McCean, Fortune, Maynard
Reading - 4-3-3: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Morrison, Obita, Hector, Williams, Akpan, McCleary, McAnuff, Pogrebnyak
Subs: Federici, Gorkss, Cummings, Drenthe, Robson-Kanu, Blackman, Le Fondre