Reading fell to a 2-3 defeat against Vitesse Arnhem at Adams Park this afternoon. Bryan Linssen and Tim Matavz (x2) scored to put the Dutch side 3-0 up shortly after half time. Although John Swift and Adrian Popa replied for Reading, it wasn’t enough.
In truth, the Royals were second best for most of the game, despite a late fightback against quality opposition.
Jaap Stam will be more concerned about injuries to Joey van den Berg and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, both of which were picked up in the first half. They join an ever-growing injury list at Reading, with the likes of Paul McShane, Garath McCleary, Roy Beerens, Yann Kermorgant and more all not involved this afternoon.
Jaap Stam named a starting XI that contained all three of Reading’s summer signings, with Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Pelle Clement and Vito Mannone all featuring from the off. Gunter, Moore, Ilori and Obita made up the back four, van den Berg, Evans and Swift played in midfield, with Popa playing wide right alongside Bodvarsson and Clement.
Reading had the first chance of the game less than a minute in, as van den Berg’s through ball was slid to Bodvarsson, but the ball was cut out. A few minutes later, Reading’s high press was rewarded as Clement won a free kick 25 yards out. The resulting set piece, lofted in from Swift, saw Ilori’s tame header easily caught by the Vitesse ‘keeper.
Having hit the post five minutes in, Vitesse took the lead just under quarter of an hour into the match. Mannone saved after Arnhem went through one-on-one, but the rebound was tucked home by Bryan Linssen.
Reading almost responded on 21 minutes - Popa, charging down the right, was met with a through-ball, before sending in a cross to Swift who headed just wide.
From then on though, the Dutch side grew into the game more, and doubled their lead half an hour in. Tim Matavz, once a Reading target, bundled home a cross, with Vito Mannone’s palm not enough to keep the ball out.
Despite chances through Moore (header from corner) and Bodvarsson (drive from the edge of the box), Reading couldn’t get back into the game before the half time whistle.
Jaap Stam made two changes at half time, bringing Omar Richards and Sam Smith on for Jordan Obita and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.
Vitesse made it 0-3 after 50 minutes. Thulani Serero pinched the ball in midfield, and played in Tim Matavz who had an easy finish past Vito Mannone. Reading weren’t far away from responding five minutes later through Pelle Clement. The Dutchman seized on a loose ball and took it past the goalie, but a challenge from an Arnhem defender made sure he couldn’t get a shot away.
Two minutes later, a dinked ball over the top found Adrian Popa, who crashed his shot against the bar.
Reading finally had their goal after 62 minutes. Academy graduate Sam Smith went through one on one, but had his legs taken from behind. John Swift stepped up to take the spot kick, and buried it low past the ‘keeper.
On 70, Reading halved the deficit through Adrian Popa. Liam Kelly’s low cross was touched onto the post by Sam Smith, with the Romanian winger slamming home the loose ball.
Reading were starting to control the game more now, and they sent on Danny Loader and Andy Rinomhota (in place of Popa and Swift) to freshen things up.
Loader did terrifically well on 82 minutes to skip past some challenges on the left wing, burst into space and send a low cross in front of Sam Smith that was just out of his reach.
However, Reading couldn’t find that last goal to equalise, with the score staying 2-3 to Vitesse.