Reading 1-2 Everton
Everton come from a goal behind to beat Reading 2-1 after two poor pieces of keeping for stopper, Ali Al-Habsi.
When the line-ups reaches us supporters, I could do nothing but fear the worst. Reading made eight changes. Al Habsi, Cooper, Taylor, Tshibola, Fernandez, Hurtado, John and Piazon all came in with the regulars such as Bond, Obita, McShane, Williams, Norwood, Mccleary, Quinn and Vydra rested.
Roberto Martinez certainly fancies his chances in this competition looking at his line-up. The Everton boss chose to start Barkley, Stones, Jagielka, Lukaku and Deulofeu just to name a few. The only thing that sprung to mind was , this is going to be a long, long night, but how wrong was I.
Clarke's rotation gave us fans a chance to see our new signings for the first time and they didn't disappoint.
The game as a whole started fairly slowly with new man Fernandez getting caught on the ball on numerous occasions in silly positions, luckily Everton failed to capitalize.
Reading were now starting to grow into the game. Depsite Everton having the majority of the possession, the home side were creating all of the chances and looked a lot more threatening. The on form Blackman continued his lively form and created the first opportunity for himself as he got the ball onto his favoured left foot and riffled a shot towards goal, making the Everton keeper work. Reading continued to press and created the best chance of the game when Piazon slipped through a lovely ball into the path of Blackman, only to see his shot saved well by Robles.
Everton continued to struggle with the brilliant Tshibola and Fernandez, who was getting into the game, controlling the midfield.
A slick passing move in the midfield then saw the ball knocked through down the left to Ola John who whipped in a pin point cross for the on rushing Blackman to poke home to make it 1-0 to the championship side.
Reading held out comfortably until the break and Clarke would've undoubtedly been delighted with his much changed side in the opening 45.
However, the game changing moment came at the break with Barry coming on for Kone. This sounds like a negative move, but it was a prudent decision from Martinez and Barry gave Everton that solidarity in the midfield.
The premier league side were now dominating the ball without causing the resolute Royals defence many problems and you couldn't really see the away side breaking us down.
Unfortunately this all changed on the hour mark when an out swinging corner was poorly defended by Fernandez and the ball fell perfectly for Barkley to volley home. Al Habsi wouldn't have been happy with his efforts as he saw the ball go under his body and into the back of the net.
The onus was now on Everton to go and win it in normal time and the continued to push but Hector and Cooper stood strong in central defence.
Reading really struggled to hit the same vein of form as the first half and they started to look tired resulting in the arrival of Garath Mccleary.
Just 15 minutes after the equaliser, Hector gave away a cheap foul about 35 yards out that Deulofeu took and somehow beat Al-Habsi as he palmed it onto the inside of the post and in. It was hardly a wonder strike from Deulofeu and yet again, a goalkeeping mistake cost Reading.
Everton saw it out well and Reading hardly created a chance with 15 left to play. 2-1 to Everton it finished.
It was another promising performance from a new look Reading side, showing the strengths of our squad having made 8 changes.
However, the goalkeeping situation is becoming a problem. If we're going to be successful this season, our keepers must step up and make some saves, which they haven't done so far. It's a worry that I'm sure will be sorted out.