Almunia, Bellerin (Forestieri, 55), Pudil, Ekstrand, Angella, Doyley (Faraoni, 78), Merkel, Murray (Battocchio, 73), Fabbrini, Deeney, McGugan
Bookings: Bellerin, Pudil, Merkel
Red Card: Merkel
McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Obita (Cummings, 85), McCleary (Taylor, 87), Williams, Akpan (Blackman, 82), McAnuff, Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre
Scorer: Gorkss, 5
Bookings: Le Fondre, McAnuff, Akpan, Blackman
There had been many distractions before the weekend’s encounter, including rumours of an imminent takeover at the Madstad, moves away from the club for certain players and an ever growing injury list, with the newest addition being Danny Guthrie. However, Reading started off the livelier team, and attacked from the offset.
Their efforts were rewarded early on when Jordan Obita hit a superb corner (which he had won) into the box which found the head of Kaspars Gorkss and left Manuel Almunia struggling as the ball found its way into the top corner.
The Royals could have made it 2-0 very shortly afterwards. Jobi McAnuff found himself in possession after a clumsy pass from Watford’s new loanee Alexander Merkel. McAnuff made a great run but found his shot going just wide of the post. Pavel Pogrebnyak also headed just over the bar from a McAnuff free kick.
Watford became more of a threat towards the end of the first half, and Alex McCarthy had to make some excellent saves for the rest of the game. The first of which was a great stop from a Merkel shot just outside of the box. Lewis McGugan also hit a very dangerous cross across the box, but an narrowly short outstretched leg and an air shot meant that the Royals clung on.
The second half continued in Watford’s favour. Troy Deeney was the first to have an attempt, but still couldn’t find the target after he was unmarked in the box. The Hornets looked even more threatening when they changed their formation to 4-3-3, however, it wasn’t to be Watford’s afternoon when Fernando Forestieri missed an open goal quite spectacularly from less than six-yards out. The Hornets had a number of other chances including a header from Deeney which was saved, and a shot from Gabriele Angella which hit the side netting.
Watford’s bad afternoon was topped off by Merkel receiving a straight red card after a high and late tackle sent Nick Blackman flying.
Even though it was great to come away from Vicarage Road with all three points, and Nigel Adkins rightly pointed out that the ‘togetherness’ was evident, the Reading performance still didn’t set the World alight. Okay, three points is a lot better than what we have picked up in recent games, but we still only had one attempt on target which was our goal. Clinical and efficient some might say, but had Watford been more accurate with their plethora of chances the Royals may not have had so much to smile about. Hopefully this win is ‘moral boosting’, and we can go back to the Madejski next week and improve even further.