Pressure grows on Adkins as Royals lose again
Tuesday 21st October 2014
Attendance: 8,889 (1,073 away)
Reading`s disastrous winless run continued to seven games, as more defensive woes in the second half confined us to a three-goal defeat to Bournemouth at Dean Court.
Nigel Adkins was clearly not happy with his side`s defending on Saturday, but still named an unchanged back five, but did bring in Hope Akpan and Jamie Mackie, for Jake Taylor and the injured Glenn Murray. Despite both sides coming into this in contrasting form, we started very well, keeping the ball away from Bournemouth, stopping their passing rhythm, but the Royals struggled to make any openings.
Bournemouth did find their feet though and started to get their foot on the ball, moving the ball about well, but the Royals backline was standing firm, not allowing the home side any space. Alex Pearce very nearly gifted Matt Ritchie an opener though, as his awkward header did not carry enough pace to make its way back to Federici, but the Aussie managed to clear up Pearce`s mess by punching away.
The game was crying out for some action before the half-time break and it came from Reading, as Gunter`s cross was deflected onto the post by the onrushing Cox, with Mackie missing his follow up - the best action of the game and it was already 37 minutes in! Eddie Howe`s responded by doing the same, as the talented Matt Ritchie curled an effort from the edge of the area, but clipped the outside of the post.
To put that half into context, there were no shots on target, despite two, late efforts hitting the post at both ends. Reading probably had the better of it, but you couldn`t help feel that Bournemouth were only going to get better. We started the second half well and had the first shot on target of the game, as Cox`s quick thinking led to a left-footed snapshot, but was straight forward for Boruc to palm away.
The deadlock was broken minutes later though, but it was bad news for the Royals, with the defending once again seriously questionable. Marc Pugh very easily got past his marker on the left wing and put in a cross for the unmarked Callum Wilson to head into an empty net. Adkins` side responded reasonably well with shots from Norwood and Robson-Kanu, but it got worse just minutes later.
Reading 'supposed` defender Michael Hector put his team in real trouble by losing the ball in midfield, which allowed Brett Pitman to slot home his finish - more defensive woes cost us. Could it get worse? Of course it could. Pitman was on the score sheet once again, a corner piece was defended dreadfully by the Royals and he tapped in from five yards to compound our misery again.
Hope Akpan had Reading`s best effort of the half in an attempt to score a consolation, but he was thwarted by Artur Boruc, who showed good aerial ability to tip over his bar. The scoreline could have been much worse if it wasn`t two superb saves from Adam Federici - firstly the Aussie made a superb fingertip stop from a long-range volley, before denying Pugh at the back-post with a fantastic point blanc save.
It finished 3-0 to the home side, as Reading could not find a consolation for the 1,000+ travelling fans to celebrate. It was a strange game, in the fact that there was no real action in the first half, as we kept Bournemouth at bay and looked dangerous ourselves. In the second, we conceded an early goal and never responded. As the confidence kept going downhill, so did our defensive display, which was solid in the first half.
If it wasn`t highlighted enough before the game, Adkins will now be under serious pressure. We are winless in seven, scoring in just two of those seven games and keeping one clean sheet, which has left us with the second worst defence in the league. I will continue to support Adkins as our manager, but Saturday against Blackpool could really define our season - it is going to be a massive game for us.
Bournemouth - 4-4-1-1: Boruc; Francis, Cook, Elphick, Daniels; Ritchie, Surman, Arter, Pugh; Wilson; Pitman.
Subs: Camp, Smith, Harte, Gosling, Fraser, Stanislas, Rantie.
Reading - 4-2-3-1: Federici; Gunter, Hector, Pearce, Obita; Akpan, Norwood; Blackman, Cox, Robson-Kanu; Mackie.
Subs: Andersen, Cooper, Kelly, Kuhl, Taylor, Stacey, Pogrebnyak.