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Middlesbrough 2-1 Reading: Match Report

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Another poor result on the road which keeps the pressure firmly on Jaap Stam. Jack Simpson gives his thoughts on the match.

Middlesbrough v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship - Riverside Stadium Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Reading’s terrible form continued as they lost 2-1 at Middlesbrough. Two goals either side of half-time from Adama Traore condemned the Royals to yet another disappointing defeat.

Chris Martin got the his first goal for Reading, 13 minutes from time with a long range effort from outside the box that flew in past Darren Randolph. But it wasn’t enough as the Royals fell to within four points of the relegation zone.

Confidence is shot to pieces

For the first 44 minutes Reading were right in the game only allowing Middlesbrough to have shots that were off target. However, all that changed just before half-time when Traore fired home past Mannone after some weak defending by Leandro Bacuna.

It left the Royals with work to do and then the game was pretty much done when Traore took advantage, after Bacuna gave the ball away five minutes into the second-half. After that Reading hardly created anything going forward until the introduction of Chris Martin and Pelle Clement.

But by then it was too little too late.

As Jaap Stam said in his post-match interview: “We’ve played too many games where it looks promising, but we concede the goals too easily” and that has been one of the many reasons why Reading are where they are.

If could they defend better than they would be higher up in the table.

Jaap Stam won’t be sacked anytime soon

For most Reading fans (including myself) who want Stam to be sacked, the Dutchman won’t be going anywhere in the near future. Stam was given the transfer window to bring in two players in Martin and Tommy Elphick. If the board wanted to make a change then they should have done it after the Birmingham home game.

This would have allowed Ron Gourlay and his team to appoint a new manager whilst given the new man time to assess the squad and make changes should he feel fit. The prime example is Aitor Karanka who bought in six players to Nottingham Forest on transfer deadline day.

However, since the board has failed to make the necessary change at the top, it looks as though that will see the season out with Stam. A decision which they may live to regret especially with one win in 12 games

Sheffield Wednesday v Reading - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Ticket prices are a disgrace

If you were one of the 257 Reading fans that travelled up to Teesside then it is likely that you would have had to pay £30 for a match ticket. When you add travel expenses such as train or coach travel, then add food expenses etc, this could easily run close to £100.

To me this is an absolute disgrace, when will the EFL take action and make sure clubs follow our lead and charge a maximum of £20 for away fans.

How can it be more expensive to watch a Championship match than a Premier League game? It’s not just Middlesbrough, but also Leeds are guilty of pricing out fans from supporting their team away from home.

Enough is enough.

Adama Traore is a wonderful player

Adama Traore was by far the best player on the pitch. He had everything that Reading don't have - pace, trickery and the ability to find the net when needed.

Bacuna simply couldn’t handle him and was punished, after the versatile player headed the ball to the feet of Traore who then fired home past Mannone for his second goal of the match.

The right winger sums up what Reading are missing, someone who can take the game by the scruff of the neck and change the game in his side’s favour. Make no mistake, Traroe is a wonderful player who could easily be playing at a higher level for a Premier League club.

How Reading could do with someone like him.

2018 EFL Championship Football Preston v Middlesbrough Jan 1st Photo by Alan Martin/Action Plus via Getty Images

Give Martin a chance

The only positive that came from the disappointing defeat was Chris Martin getting his first goal for the Royals since joining on loan from Derby.

Martin looked sharp when he came on linking up well with Pelle Clement and getting into the right areas. The striker showed just what he can do with a brilliant finish from outside the box which should hopefully give him confidence going forward.

Stam should give Martin a chance in the next few weeks because if you give him a chance then nine times out ten he will find the back of the net. Should Stam decide to start him more than he could be a key player between now and the end of the season.