The Royals came into this game confident that they’d secure three points against a team that are on course for an historically bad season in The Championship.
Rotherham are already relegated, and Reading are at home on the back of a fantastic performance against an in-form Aston Villa side. Simple, right?
The Royals’ starting XI was an odd mix of players, with no truly defensive midfielders named in the squad and Meite getting his first start for the club. There was no place in the squad for Aston Villa’s hero Joseph Mendes, presumably not deemed fit enough for two games in three days.
It soon became obvious Reading were playing some form of a five-man defensive system, with McCleary and Gunter operating as wing backs.
That tactical gamble by Stam didn’t work, as Reading looked slow and methodical with zero threat.
In fact, it really didn’t work because Reading went behind to an Adeyemi goal in the 19th minute, with Al Habsi’s save not enough to preserve a clean sheet. Reading, who are in the play-off positions, were losing to an already-relegated side at home.
Reading tried to force an equaliser, but nothing clicked for them. A poor half, and a poor scoreline.
Liam Kelly was brought on for Yakou Meite at half time, as Stam switched the formation to something a little more familiar.
Reading dominated possession, but the quality in the final third was lacking.
Until Lewis Grabban came on, that is, and scored a belter with only his second touch of the ball.
Reading upped the tempo from that point, passing the ball with zip and purpose, intent on getting the win and avoiding embarrassment.
They scored their second of the match when Williams and Gunter combined to lay the ball on a plate for Swift to tap home. 2-1.
.@JohnSwift8 Both of our ex-Rotherham players have netted to turn this game on its head. 82nd minute now, 2-1.— Reading FC (@ReadingFC) April 17, 2017
Jaap Stam’s men secured the victory, but it wasn’t as easy as they’d imagined prior to kick off.
Reading line-up: Al-Habsi, Gunter (c), Obita, Moore, Blackett, Swift, Williams, Beerens (Grabban 65’), McCleary (Popa 90+1’), Meite (Kelly 45’), Kermorgant
Stay tuned To The Tilehurst End for a full match report, player ratings, and post-game coverage.