Defensive troubles cost Royals again
Saturday 1st November 2014
The defensive woes continued for Reading, who shipped three goals for the fifth time in seven games, as they were beaten 3-1 by Blackburn at Ewood Park.
Nigel Adkins opted to bring in the duo of Jake Taylor and Nick Blackman, following their good cameo appearances last week - what was surprising was that man of the match Jamie Mackie was dropped, along with Simon Cox, with Robson-Kanu still in the side. Questions were obviously asked of the manager because of this decision; he would now have needed to justify it against a Blackburn side on the rise.
The home side started the better at Ewood Park, as they made two, good early attacks from the left, both times aiming for the 6`4 frame of Rudy Gestede - Cooper did well to block the first effort and the forward headed the second wide. Reading came within inches of taking the lead though, as Norwood`s corner was attacked by Murray, but his firm header cannoned off the crossbar and away from danger.
It wasn`t the prettiest game to watch, with both teams playing very direct, but it was Rovers who struck the first blow. The ball was shifted out to the left side, where Olsson and Marshall had too much space, with the latter cutting in and cross for Rudy Gestede to rise highest to power a header beyond a helpless Federici. A damaging blow for the Royals, who had made a reasonably good start to the game.
The forward could have doubled his tally minutes later, as the Royals failed to clear their lines and Rhodes` deflected effort well into his path, but scuffed his shot into the arms of Federici. Murray came within inches of levelling though, as his cross-come-shot went just wide of the post. Norwood came within inches of getting his first goal with the club with a low, firm strike, but was deflected on its way to goal.
Jordan Rhodes had a sniff of goal just before half time, finding space from a tight angle, but his chip didn`t carry enough height to trouble Federici. Reading started to find a passing rhythm and this led to a half chance for Murray, as Gunter`s overhit cross wasn`t cleared, but Murray`s effort was routine for Steele. We were dominating the final five minutes of the half, as Taylor had a fine strike palmed away.
Reading were pressing and got a deserved goal before the half time break, as Glenn Murray scored his first goal away from home. A great reverse ball was put into Obita`s pass on the left side of the area and his low cross was tapped in at the back post by Murray, scoring his fifth goal of his loan spell. It was more than deserved for us, as we dominated the closing stages of the first half - plenty to play for.
The Royals started the second period on the front foot, keeping possession well, but failed to show the quality needed in the final third. The first goalmouth action was in our area though, as neat interchange from Blackburn gave Marshall space to cross and Gestede`s diving header was somehow kept out by Federici. This would only delay a second goal for the home side though, through a superb free kick.
Robson-Kanu conceded a needless foul twenty yards out from goal, which Ben Marshall expertly curled passed an unmoved Adam Federici - the Royals would have to respond once more. Instead of a response, Rovers nearly added to their advantage, but Hanley`s header went just wide. Reading looked a shadow of the side that was gaining confidence in the first half, as Blackburn were well on top in this half.
It was all falling apart for Reading, who duly conceded a third and decisive goal. Marshall again was running Gunter ragged and his cross was nodded onto the post by Rhodes, but Gestede was on hand to put in the follow up to compound our growing misery. Blackburn clearly took their foot off the gas after this third goal and you couldn`t blame them, there was no meaningful response from the Royals.
The game just walked on by to the final whistle, as both sides seemed to have accepted their fate and probably deservedly so, on the basis of the second half showing. One step forward and two steps back after the Blackpool result, questions will once again be asked of Nigel Adkins. Yes, defensively it is bad, but our attacking play is fairly ordinary too - the next few games will be massive for Adkins.
Blackburn - 4-4-2: Steele; Baptiste, Duffy, Hanley, Olsson; Cairney, Williamson, Evans, Marshall; Rhodes, Gestede.
Subs: Eastwood, Kilgallon, Henley, Tunnicliffe, Dunn, Conway, Varney.
Reading - 4-2-3-1: Federici; Gunter, Pearce, Cooper, Obita; Akpan, Norwood; Blackman, Taylor, Robson-Kanu; Murray.
Subs: Andersen, Ferdinand, Kelly, Williams, Mackie, Cox, Pogrebnyak.