Cox double seals Royals victory
Tuesday 4th November 2014
Reading bounced back from a disappointing defeat at Blackburn on Saturday, to comfortably beating Rotherham 3-0 at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday night.
Nigel Adkins was slated for changing his team for the Blackburn game, but considering that result, he was probably justified in making five changes for this game. In came Stephen Kelly, Anton Ferdinand and Danny Williams, all for their first appearances of the season, while Jamie Mackie and Simon Cox were promoted to the starting XI again, at the expense of Hal Robson-Kanu and the rather unfortunate Nick Blackman.
It was a slow start to the game from both teams, who seemed to not have recovered from their respective defeats on Saturday, but it was probably the away side that the better of the exchanges. Alex Revell had a half chance as Paul Green crossed for Rotherham`s Wembley hero six months ago, but despite getting ahead of Alex Pearce, made the save easy for Federici to gather - an early warning sign.
The Royals keeper was in action soon after too, as we failed to clear the ball in defence, but a stinging effort from range was luckily central for Feders to make the save. During this Rotherham pressure, the figure who was marshalling the defence was Anton Ferdinand, who was looking like a class outfit. Frecklington nearly found an opening in the area after some shaky defending, but eventually recovered.
We were struggling to form any good attacks and resorted to long balls with Rotherham`s pressing, but it was our first attack that brought about the first goal. A cross into the area was poorly cleared by a Millers defender in the penalty area, which allowed Jamie Mackie to swivel and curl a sublime effort into the top corner - his first goal for the club and a deserved goal, as he looked our biggest threat in the game.
The goal seemed to settle us down and we nearly added a second soon after, as Mackie`s cross from the right was deep and found its way to Cox at the back post, but his volley towards goal was kept out well by Colin. Mackie was proving to Adkins why he should have been starting against Blackburn and superb feet from the on-loan Forest man nearly conjured another goal, but Colin got down well to deny the forward.
Oliver Norwood is still yet to score his first goal for Reading and probably won`t come much closer than this game, his free-kick on the edge of the box was whipped across goal and cannoned off the bar, with Colin left stranded. This was the last major action of a half, which started with good Rotherham pressure, but Jamie Mackie`s goal seemed to settle us down and could have had a few more after that.
Anton Ferdinand unfortunately had to be replaced at half-time due to a calf injury, with Michael Hector coming on in his place - a very promising debut for the former West Ham defender. Adkins` men started the second half as they ended the first, with good pressure on the Rotherham goal - Cox nearly got himself on the scoresheet with a smart turn and shot, but Colin smothered his effort early to deny him.
Rotherham`s only meaningful attack of the half nearly brought an equaliser for the away side, as a corner into the Royals area was attacked by Arnason at the back post, but Federici was on hand to block it away. It seemed we needed a second goal to be safe and Simon Cox got it just short of the hour mark, as Mackie drove inside before slotting in the forward to finish firmly past the impressive Colin.
Glenn Murray did not get on the scoresheet, but could not complain about a lack of supply, as good interchange in midfield set up Obita to cross into the area. Murray seemed surprised to find it as his feet, but uncharacteristically delayed his effort and instead deflected to Mackie, but was at too tight an angle to trouble Colin. The confidence in the side was clear to see, despite Rotherham clearly caving in.
Mackie and Cox were running the show and we scored a deserved third, as Norwood fed a pass into Cox, who managed fired the ball into net on the turn - superb technique from Cox. Alex Revell nearly scored a consolation for his side, but Feders was once again alert to deny the striker. Mackie nearly topped off his man of match performance with a second goal, but his firm strike hit the goal stanchion.
A great way to respond to the Blackburn defeat, in what some are branding our best performance of the season. The second half was a good display at both ends, looking solid defensively and being effective in the final third. I can`t imagine Adkins making the same mistake and changing the team again after a win - we had a really good balance in this game that we can also use against Charlton on Saturday.
Reading - 4-2-3-1: Federici; Kelly, Pearce, Ferdinand, Gunter; Norwood, Williams; Mackie, Cox, Obita; Murray.
Subs: Andersen, Cooper, Hector, Akpan, Taylor, Blackman, Robson-Kanu.
Rotherham - 4-4-2: Colin; Richardson, Morgan, Arnason, Skarz; Frecklington, Smallwood, Green, Pringle; Revell, Derbyshire.
Subs: Loach, Broadfoot, Midsom, Swift, Taylor, Clarke-Harris, Bowery.