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Watford 4-1 Reading FC: Instant Reaction

A much changed Reading FC side went down to a convincing 4-1 defeat at the hands of promotion chasing Watford. Here's our initial reaction from Vicarage Road.

Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

With the FA Cup replay against Bradford taking place in just two days time we were expecting a fair few changes and Reading boss Steve Clarke didn't disappoint as he made nine changes to the team that beat Brighton, with Hope Akpan and Jake Cooper the only survivors.

There were full debuts for Jack Stacey and Niall Keown, with the later taking his place as one of three central defenders alongside Jake Cooper and new signing Zat Knight. Jure Travner also got a first start since joining in January, while Simon Cox captained the side.

The new team and new system last less than a minute before Almen Abdi gave the home side the lead, after he was given too much space on the edge of the box.

Abdi was forced off with injury soon after but Watford continued to attack and only a couple of good stops from Mikkel Andersen in the Reading goal kept the lead to one.

Sadly there was little Andersen could do as Watford were 2-0 in front just before the break with substitute Fernando Forestieri supplying Matej Vydra to make it 2-0.

Any hopes of Reading regrouping at half-time were extinguished quickly as Troy Deeney made it 3-0 on 48 minutes to officially kill off the game as a contest.

There was some good news for the travelling fans as Jem Karacan made just his second appearance since September 2013 when he came off the bench with half an hour remaining. The midfielder took the captain's armband and showed us a glimpse of what we've been missing as he curled home a goal from 20-yards to give the Reading fans something to smile about.

A late Forestieri goal completed a 4-1 scoreline but the result mattered little in the end for the Royals.

Considering the average squad number of the Reading 18 was 26 (it was 13 at Bradford last Saturday) this result should have come as little surprise. With Watford flying high in the table you wouldn't even have been shocked if the 'first team' had been on the end of such a scoreline. With that the case there's very little to get worried about in isolation here, beyond the fact that it re-affirms the notion that the squad isn't as deep as we might like.

Ethan will be along a little later this weekend with a full report and player ratings so stay tuned for that one. Meanwhile we'll also have plenty of build up to a rather more important game taking place on Monday night....