Poor defending costs Royals first defeat
Tuesday 19th August 2014
Reading suffered their first league defeat of the season, as a dogged Huddersfield side were 2-1 victors at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday night.
Nigel Adkins unsurprisingly named an unchanged line-up from the side that beat Ipswich on Saturday, with our injury crisis still in full force, but there was a place on the bench for new signing Jamie Mackie. It was the visitors who started much the brighter in Berkshire, moving the ball better and eventually getting the opener just ten minutes in, but was a very soft goal on our part.
As we played out from the back from a goal kick, Hector tried to find Akpan, but was being marked tightly and a poor touch from the central midfielder meant he lost the ball to the Huddersfield man. This allow midfielder Jacob Butterfield to run though unchallenged on goal and curl a fine finish from ten yards to give his side the lead - a very poor goal to concede from our point of view.
Huddersfield`s game plan to sit back in numbers and press when necessary was working a treat, as we could not penetrate the away side at all. We had a decent chance to get back on level terms soon after though, as a poorly-taken Huddersfield free kick allowed a break away down the left-side and eventually found its way to Nick Blackman, but his first time effort ballooned over the bar.
We were keeping the ball very well, but couldn`t use to our advantage, which was starting to gain frustration from the McDermott hoofball lovers in the stands. Chances were at a premium for both sides, but the second best chance of the game fell to the away side, which they took. Harry Bunn on his professional debut, outmuscled Gunter easily, before finishing very well from a tight angle.
Adkins would have been fuming at his sides laughable defending, which gave the Terriers plenty to hang onto for the rest of the game. We had a final push just before the half time break to get one back, forcing a goal mouth scramble and Hector having a shot cleared off the line, but to no avail though. The gaffer would have had some choice words at half-time for his players.
He responded by bringing on 18-year old Aaron Kuhl for his professional debut in central midfield, with Jordan Obita going to left-back. There was no drastic improvement though, as Huddersfield looked more likely to score on the break - Wells had an effort with more poor defending on show, as he went across the box unchallenged, but Adam Federici smothered his low effort well.
Man of the match Harry Bunn then forced the Aussie into another save, going past Gunter too easily again, before firing a low shot at Federici`s near post, but the keeper got down well to keep it out. Kuhl then created a decent chance for Simon Cox to open his Reading account, but his good first-time cross had too much power for the forward to guide it into the net under pressure.
Our best and probably only good piece of play led to another chance, as Obita`s deep cross was kept alive and attacked by Pogrebnyak, but his goal bound shot was deflected away for a corner. Jamie Mackie also came on for his Royals debut and added some energy into the game, as we were getting closer to getting a goal back, as Cox`s volley was palmed away well by Smithies.
A goal back did eventually come though and it was a first for Simon Cox, as he received the ball on the edge of the area, found space to shoot and fired in low past Smithies at his near post. It was a good finish from the summer signing and gave us ten minutes to find an equaliser, with Alex Pearce`s mishit cross slamming against the crossbar minutes later, to the agony of all the Royals fans.
Reading battled to find a leveller, but couldn`t do so in the end, as we were punished for our poor defending the first half. It`s a first loss of the season, but there is no need to panic - it`s only the third game, we have a young side at the moment and we have lots of players to come back from injury. Kuhl`s performance was a massive positive and could well start this Saturday against Forest.
Reading - 4-2-3-1: Federici; Gunter, Pearce, Hector, Cummings; Obita, Akpam; Blackman, Cox, Taylor; Pogrebnyak.
Subs: McCarthy, Cooper, Kuhl, Tshibola, Edwards, Mackie, Tanner.
Huddersfield - 4-3-3: Smithies; Smith, Wallace, Lynch, Dixon; Coady, Butterfield, Hogg; Scannell, Bunn, Wells.
Subs: Murphy, Sinnott, Crooks, Holmes, Majewski, Hammill, Stead.