Pressure growing on Adkins with Midlands thumping
Saturday 13th December 2014
An awful and spineless Reading performance saw them thumped by six goals at the hands of Birmingham in a rout at St. Andrews - could it be the end of Nigel Adkins` reign?
Nigel Adkins one change to the side that drew with Bolton last week, with Simon Cox coming in for the injured Hal Robson-Kanu, meaning we reverted to a more familiar 4-2-3-1 shape. The start from Reading was one to forget though, as the home side took a lead through a smart free-kick routine - Paul Caddis finished well after smartly finding space on the edge of the area to sweep the ball home.
The response was nearly perfect form the Royals, but Cox should have done better, as Obita`s driving run down the left gave him a good opportunity, but was straight at Randolph. Murray then had a half chance from Cooper`s knockdown, but again, easy for the keeper to gather. We usually don`t respond well to going behind, but the only problem was, we now had to it from two goals down this time.
Just when we thought the defending was getting better in recent games, it seemed we returned to our old ways, as Birmingham scored a second on ten minutes. 18-year old Demarai Gray scored a superb individual effort, breezing past the Royals` defence, before finishing well - it was all going wrong. They always say the third goal is crucial in a game, and luckily, it was in the favour of the Royals.
Garath McCleary had space on the right to attack his full-back and his cross in was driven back across by Obita, which allowed Glenn Murray to loop a header in to give Adkins` men renewed hope. As ever, we were looking good on the ball and awful without it, compounded by a third Birmingham goal. Gray got his second of the afternoon, as Cooper`s header was weak and allowed the young winger to get his fourth professional goal.
Three shots from the home side and three goals - not pretty reading! Birmingham nearly did us a favour by scoring an own goal, but Randolph did well to deny his own midfielder Davis, following Murray`s dangerous cross. Jake Cooper nearly made up his defensive shambolics in the other area, but his header was cleared off the line by the hosts. Could it get any worse before half time? Of course it could!
Blues midfielder Davis slipped in Gray for this hat trick goal, that is all. It doesn`t take much guessing how many shots Birmingham have needed to get their four goals - yes, four! The misery continued after half time, as Adkins half-time team talk clearly hit home - it was Andrew Shinnie this time who got his name on the scoresheet, who cut inside easily and gave Federici no chance for his keeper.
Clayton Donaldson should have really made it six soon after, as Shinnie slipped him in, but Federici was out quickly and smothered his surge on goal. This would only delay the inevitable though, as it was becoming a dark day for any Reading player, staff member or supporter. David Cotterill`s inswinging free-kick from the left went all the way in without a touch - a horrible, awful afternoon.
Murray`s header nearly gave us a very minor consolation, but went into the side netting. McCleary was clearly getting sick of the situation and decided to take matters into his own hands, shooting from long-range, but went harmlessly wide. David Cotterill was one of the many players running Reading ragged and tried an audacious lob from forty yards, which dipped just over Federici`s crossbar.
On the topic of the crossbar, Glenn Murray somehow managed to hit the woodwork from five yards, after McCleary did well to set him up. The full-time whistle ended the torture for the Royals fans that travelled, in what was a gutless and appalling showing. The defending on show was disgraceful and serious questions will now be asked of the manager and his future. Could this game be his last in charge?
Reading - 4-2-3-1: Federici; Kelly, Hector, Cooper, Gunter; Norwood, Williams; McCleary, Cox, Obita; Murray.
Subs: Andersen, Pearce, Cummings, Tshibola, Taylor, Stacey, Blackman.
Birmingham - 4-5-1: Randolph; Caddis, Morrison, Robinson, Grounds; Gray, Gleeson, Davis, Shinnie, Cotterill; Donaldson.
Subs: Doyle, Edgar, Moussi, Reilly, Thomas, Novak, Zigic.