Reading ended 2018 in positive fashion, earning a 0-0 draw against an in-form Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road. The Royals went into the match as firm underdogs, but ended up dominating much of the game, and go back to Berkshire ruing missed chances.
Jose Gomes named a very attacking side in the face of a few absences. With Tyler Blackett and Leandro Bacuna suspended, and Liam Moore injured, four new players were brought in: Tiago Ilori, John O’Shea, Sone Aluko and Garath McCleary. Danny Loader was the other starter at Millwall to miss out.
⚡️ TEAM NEWS ⚡️— Reading FC (@ReadingFC) December 29, 2018
Here are your #Royals taking on @QPR this afternoon...#QPRvREA pic.twitter.com/9hMT12uFNh
Reading were on top in the first half and, unlike at The Den on Boxing Day, were able to create some good chances. John Swift, Andy Yiadom and others had goalscoring opportunities, with Yakou Meite going close on a number of occasions, including having a header well-saved by Joe Lumley.
Down the other end, QPR saw chances through Nahki Wells and Toni Leistner go begging, the latter hitting the post. However, on the whole, the Royals dominated the opening 45 and could well have gone in at the break a few goals to the good.
Gomes-ball is sexy— Calum (@caldini4) December 29, 2018
Had all of the ball, only in behind a couple of times but QPR haven't had a touch yet.
Swift and Rinamhota as a holding 2 is beautiful and the front 4 look handy. Even Aluko is looking really useful in the middle.
José has some smart brown shoes too
We continued after the break where we left off, with Omar Richards forcing a fine save out of Lumley. However, the home side grew into the match as it went on, and put increasing pressure onto Anssi Jaakkola’s goal. Wells, Wszolek and Freeman all went close, with Leistner again hitting the woodwork as the hosts pushed forward.
The last opportunity of the match went to young forward Danny Loader. On 94 minutes, Reading hit the home side on the counter, with Barrow setting up Loader. However, his curled shot was well-saved by Lumley who thwarted Reading once more.
On the whole, Reading should be encouraged by a positive performance. The Royals not only played noticeably better than usual, but probably deserved to win the game. It suggests there’s been an almost immediate reaction to Jose Gomes’ arrival, with previously demoralised players bossing a match at an in-form QPR.
It’s only one game though, and we need to follow this up with three points as soon as possible. The next league match comes on New Year’s Day against Swansea City, another side who like to keep the ball. A win for us would be the perfect way of starting 2019.