May strike separates sides in tight game
Saturday 20th September 2014
Stevie May`s late deflected strike gave Sheffield Wednesday their first home victory of the season and confined Reading to their first defeat in five games.
Just as Nigel Adkins thought the injury woes were slowing slipping away, he was dealt with a double blow ahead of this game, with Adam Federici and Michael Hector both out - in came Jake Cooper and Mikkel Andersen, starting his first game. We started the game well too, with Glenn Murray having an early effort blocked for the Royals by Glenn Loovens, with Jake Cooper coming close from the resulting corner.
Nick Blackman`s superb cross-field ball found Cox in space and drove into the box, but a loose touch allowed Lee`s to clear his line - a decent chance. Stevie May had the home side`s first effort of the fixture on goal, dragging an effort wide of goal, after doing well to create space for himself. Murray then had a great chance to put us in front, after Cox robbed the defender of the ball, but couldn`t convert Cox`s pull back.
The first half an hour struggled to have any flow to it, as the referee seemed intent on stopping the play at every opportunity. The referee was soon to become our friend though, as he awarded us a penalty kick, after Murray was hauled down in the area. The on-loan Palace forward stepped up to take it, but it was a poor penalty and saved easily by Westwood - a massive chance for Murray, who is usually reliable from 12 yards.
It certainly wasn`t the best game to watch, but we were looking very solid defensively, with Cooper having a solid game and dealing well with Stevie May. Wednesday failed to have a shot on target in the first half, while our only one was Murray`s missed penalty - it was all the play for in the second half. It was a lively start to the second period though, as Mattock had a shot cleared off the line in the opening minutes.
Wednesday were seeing most of the ball, but their shooting and end product was non-existent. The first good chance of the half fell to Reading though, as Norwood`s corner was flicked on by Pearce and Cooper looked all but set to score, but Westwood thwarted him with some fine goalkeeping. Our greatest threat was looking through set pieces and we hit the cross bar soon after, after Murray made connection.
May and Nuhiu weren`t linking up as well as they have been in recent games, but nearly did on the hour mark, as May`s cross was attacked by the big Austrian, but his first-time effort went wide. Stevie May then went close, after working some space thirty-yards out, but his driven effort went just wide of Andersen`s post. The tempo of the game was growing, but Wednesday looked the more likely to make the breakthrough.
A scramble in the home side`s penalty area nearly brought about an opener for Adkins` side, but Blackman`s shot was agonisingly deflected just wide of the post. From the resulting set piece, Pearce managed to shrug off his marker, but his dangerous header was again cleared away. An interesting battle was incurring between May and Cooper in the second half, with a few penalty appeals being waved away by the referee.
Blackman was looking impressive and nearly broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion, as he won a free kick thirty yards out, which he took and forced Westwood into a good save. The killer blow was to come at the other end from a free kick though, as Stevie May`s deflected strike from the edge of the area wrong-footed Andersen into the goal. A cruel blow for the Royals, who probably didn`t deserve to be behind.
In all fairness, we threw all we had left in the tank at Wednesday, forcing a few corners and set pieces, but all in vain, as Wednesday walked out the winners. To not take anything away from the game is harsh, as we definitely deserved a point, probably not all three. We had two very good chances to go in front and we didn`t take them - that`s football. Let`s now move onto the Derby cup game in midweek.
Sheffield Wednesday - 4-4-2: Westwood; Palmer, Loovens, Lees, Mattock; Maghoma, Semedo, Coke, Maguire; May, Nuhiu.
Subs: Kirkland, Buxton, Zayatte, Dielna, Hope, Helan, Madine.
Reading - 4-2-3-1: Andersen; Gunter, Pearce, Cooper, Obita; Akpan, Norwood; Blackman, Cox, Taylor; Murray.
Subs: Lincoln, Long, Kuhl, Guthrie, Mackie, Edwards, Pogrebnyak.