Reading: Bond, Quinn (Sa), Hector, McShane, Gunter, McCleary (Taylor), Norwood, Williams, Blackman, Robson-Kanu, Vydra (John)
Recent form against Wolves favoured Reading, with the Royals winning three of their last five games meetings and drawing the other two. Brian McDermott opted for an unchanged team from the one that beat Blackburn six days beforehand and Kenny Jackett made 2 changes to his side which was comfortably beaten 4-1 at Hillsborough last Saturday, with Dave Edwards and Conor Coady returning to the team.
The game had a lively start, with both teams starting like they had a point to prove. Reading had a legitimate penalty shout early on, when Wolves winger Dominic Iorfa appeared to block a Hal Robson Kanu cross with his elbow, although referee Simon Hooper disagreed. Matej Vydra had a shot blocked by a Wolves defender seconds later, then Garath McCleary had two consecutive shots, one which was saved and one which went slightly wide.
Reading were made to pay for not taking full advantage of decent opportunities. McCleary made a clumsy challenge and James Henry got the right side of Nick Blackman and headed home Jordan Graham’s free kick in the 18th minute in front of the South Bank.
In the 28th minute, Wolves had a chance to double their lead, but Stephen Quinn made a well timed last-ditch tackle on Benik Afobe in the area. The former Reading loanee went close again a minute later, when he deflected a Henry cross past Jonathan Bond and onto the inside of the post – sparing both the Royals keeper and defence a whole lot of embarrassment.
Reading finished the first half the stronger side, and came out in the second with much more confidence. Oliver Norwood hit a shot sweetly from 30 yards out, only to see it be denied by the right hand post. Kanu got his head onto a corner but saw the ball sail just over the crossbar.
Wolves keeper Carl Ikeme had a wobbly moment in the 70th minute, when he looked like he was going to comfortably save an effort for Blackman, only for the ball to spin out of his grasp and creep just wide of the post. Despite sustained Reading pressure, Wolves managed to hold on to their one goal lead and claimed their first win at home since October 3rd. The defeat leaves the Royals in 11th place in the SkyBet Championship on 30 points.
Even though we dominated possession and had four times the amount of shots as our opponents did, it’s frustrating not to have at least have got a point out of the game. It was positive to see that the body language of the players did not change once we had gone behind though and we continued to look dangerous going forward. The addition of Ola John in the second half made a massive difference. I think there are plenty of good things to take from the game on Boxing Day, it was certainly an improvement to the standard of football we were playing at the start of the month. It's just a shame that the result didn't reflect our efforts.