Wigan 3-2 Reading - Gomez Leaves Royals Gutted

Paul Thomas

Reading fans would be forgiven for having that feeling of déjà vu after Jordi Gomez injury-time winner sealed a 3-2 win for Wigan which saw the Royals slip into 19th in the Barclays Premier League.

Manager Brian McDermott kept with the same 11 that beat Everton last Saturday, with last weekend's hero Adam Le Fondre partnering Jason Roberts who received a warm ovation from the home support. The opening minutes saw the hosts start the better with Arouna Kone heading wide after an excellent cross on the left-wing from the impressive Jean Beausejour. The Royals first opportunity of note came when Jobi McAnuff's cross was headed down by Adam Le Fondre just wide of the Wigan goal. Kone again caused Reading problems when he rounded Adam Federici only to see his shot cleared away to safety by Nicky Shorey.

Against the run of play perhaps, it was Reading who went ahead 11 minutes before half-time when Sean Morrison headed in Nicky Shorey's accurate cross after Hal Robson-Kanu was fouled just inside the Wigan half. Adulation for the travelling support but despair for myself having mentioned that Morrison was good value to be first goal scorer at 28/1.

Wigan were forced into a second-half change with Franco Di Santo replacing the injured Shaun Maloney. The substitute almost made an immediate impact when Adam Federici parried his bending shot away for a corner.

13 minutes in and Wigan had their deserved equaliser. Reading's goal scorer Morrison carelessly gave away possession which allowed Beausejour to thread in a pass to Di Santo who crossed in for Gomez with Federici spilling the initial shot only for Gomez to follow up the rebound. Whilst the conditions didn't help the goal keeper he'll have to take his share of the blame for a costly equaliser. Just like last weekend Reading's were punished for a defensive error. Buoyed by the goal, the home side came close to a second with Federici spilling again from Ronnie Stam's shot only for the Australian to recover the ball in time.

At the other end Reading were furious at being denied a stonewall penalty when Jay Tabb was tripped by Maynor Figueroa with referee Howard Webb deeming it a fair tackle despite Webb having a reasonable view of the incident. Brian McDermott's side continued to press with Le Fondre coming close again when his header was parried away by Al Habsi before the hosts were on the receiving end of a poor decision after Jean Beausejour was incorrectly ruled offside as he crossed in for Di Santo who fired past Federici.

Beausejour was a constant threat down the left-wing and his pinpoint delivery was perfect for Gomez who headed in past Federici to give the Latics the lead with 22 minutes left. McDermott's side responded with ten to go when Hal Robson-Kanu's deflected shot looped high in the air into the hands of Al Habsi who spilled into the Reading net with the conditions again wreaking havoc. Not a goal of the season contender but a welcome relief having seen the opposition enjoy the better of the half.

Both sides went in search of a winner and it was Wigan who found it when the influential Gomez found Kone out wide, with the Ivorian striker picking the perfect pass back to the Spanish midfielder who curled in to secure his hat-trick and his side the three points. Questions will have to be asked how on so many occasions the opposition were able to exploit our right-hand side with such ease.

Although it was our first defeat in five, the stats made grim reading; 33% of possession, a pass completion rate of 66% and a defensive display which again raised questions about McDermott's team selection. Only Brian can explain the omission of Alex Pearce who hasn't featured since the West Brom defeat however the decline in form of Kaspers Gorkss is worrying. Summer signing Chris Gunter had his worst performance of the season and Legiertwood was wasteful in possession. As a team they were too open with the hosts having 18 attempts on goal.

Supporters, players and management alike knew the importance of this run of games. Having been dealt a tough opening set of fixtures, this run appeared to be reasonable yet the gulf in class between the sides was frightening. Most would consider Wigan direct relegations rivals having finished 15th last season. Yet like the Swansea match, both sides appeared a cut above in style's with the "Reading way" looking ineffective at this level. Quite simply Reading will have to improve otherwise we'll be looking at an immediate return to the Championship.

Next up is a trip on the road to Aston Villa who earned a reasonable point against Arsenal who sit just one place above us in 18th. Lambert's youthful side haven't been excellent but nonetheless both sides will view this as a must win match.

Reading: A Federici, C Gunter, K Gorkss, S Morrison, N Shorey, J McAnuff, M Leigertwood, J Tabb (G McCleary, 73), H Robson-Kanu, A Le Fondre, J Roberts (P Pogrebnyak, 84).

Subs not used: N Hunt, I Harte, S Cummings, S Taylor, A Mariappa.

Wigan: A Al Habsi, I Ramis (Piscu, 49), E Boyce, M Figueroa, R Stam, D Jones (J McArthur, 83), J Beausejour, J McCarthy , A Kone, J Gomez, S Maloney (F Di Santo, 45).

Subs not used: M Boselli, M Pollitt, C McManaman, F Fyvie.

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