Reading: Federici, Gunter, Hector, Pearce, Obita, Blackman, Kuhl (Pogrebnyak 79), Norwood, Robson-Kanu (Mackie 45), Edwards (Cox 45), Murray
Goal: Cox 49
Bookings: Kuhl, Mackie, Cox
Three changes were made to the starting line up to that featured in our goalless draw at Elland Road earlier in the week. Kuhl, Edwards and Robson-Kanu replaced Taylor, Cox and the injured Akpan.
Before the game started, there was a chilling minute’s silence observed impeccably by everybody in the ground in memory of West London teenager Alice Gross. Both teams were also sporting black armbands throughout the duration of the game.
The game got off to a lively start, with the Bees having the first chance. In the second minute, Alan Judge hit a good effort from the edge of the box, but was unlucky to see his shot come back off the post. Nick Blackman then had a good chance for the Royals down the other end, but his shot was well saved by David Button. However, Brentford’s first goal came in the 11th minute after an Alan McCormack cross found its way to the feet of the Bees £1m summer signing from Celta Vigo, Jota, who beat Adam Federici from six yards out.
Reading responded reasonably well, with their main attacking threat being Blackman down the right side. He had a couple of chances to equalise, but headed a Jordan Obita cross over, and pulling another shot just narrowly wide. Ryan Edwards and Hal Robson-Kanu also had half chances, but neither of them troubled the Brentford keeper.
Brentford’s second goal in the 32nd was a comedy of errors from a combination of players. Aaron Kuhl lost the ball in midfield, Alex Pearce then slipped just on the edge of the box, before Johnathon Douglas took an air shot and also slipped. The ball finally found the feet of Alex Pritchard, who shot low under Federici.
Nigel Adkins made a double substitution at half time, with Jamie Mackie and Simon Cox replacing Edwards and Robson-Kanu. They made an immediate impact, livening up the Royals’ attacking options. The move paid off in the 49th minute, as Mackie shot at goal from a Chris Gunter cross. The shot itself looked like it was going marginally wide, but Cox stuck out a foot and directed it past Button.
Reading looked to take advantage of their momentum, with Glenn Murray heading just over from a dangerous corner from Blackman. With a string of corners, Reading still couldn’t find the equaliser and Brentford also began to attack. Mackie headed well off the line, and Federici got down well to force Judge wide before he could get his shot away. However, Douglas headed in Brentford’s third with 9 minutes left on the clock to secure the result for the Bees. Reading continued to attack but with no end product. Oliver Norwood shot over the bar, and Pavel Pogrebnyak clumsily decided to cross the ball into an empty box rather than having a shot himself.
In my opinion, this was the worst performance of our 2014/15 season so far. The defence was worryingly paper thin, and the central midfield looked just as bare (we missed Hope Akpan, a lot). The decision not to start Mackie and Cox was a strange one, considering the difference they made to the game when they came onto the pitch. The Royals now enter the international break after a horrible run of form, but things can only get better, right?