Reading drew 2-2 with Sunderland at the Madejski Stadium in a match that may or may not have decided their fate. A point against the division’s bottom club could be a good point, a disappointing failure to win or a mixture of both.
The Royals went in front 20 minutes into the match after Liam Kelly converted a penalty, but Sunderland got themselves level with a screamer of a goal just two minutes into the second half. Paddy McNair found time and space before unleashing an long range dipping effort from about 35 yards that flew in past Vito Mannone.
The Black Cats then went in front when Lee Cattermole headed in Aiden McGeady’s free-kick. although Yann Kermorgant bailed his team out of jail by heading in Chris Gunter’s cross 11 minutes from time.
Defensive frailties are still there
It may have been a few weeks since a change of manager, but the defensive frailties are still there to be seen. The defending for Sunderland’s second goal was shocking and pretty much summed the season up from a defensive point of view.
Too many goals have been conceded where Reading have not picked up their man which has resulting in a goal and lost points. This was the case when Tyler Blackett and Liam Moore both lost Lee Cattermole who ghosted in to head home from a free kick.
If Reading are to get themselves back up the table next season, then they will need to cut out the sloppy errors such as the ones we saw on Saturday.
Dave Edwards needs dropping ASAP
Dave Edwards has had a terrible few weeks in a Reading shirt. He gave away a penalty against QPR, before getting himself sent off in the game against Aston Villa when at the time Reading were drawing 0-0 - before the Royals eventually lost the game. Then, in the game against Sunderland, he offered no protection to the back four and was arguably at fault for both goals.
The Welsh midfielder lost possession for Sunderland’s first goal and made a silly challenge which resulted in the free-kick for the visitors’ second and has come in for some fierce criticism on social media as a result. At 32 years-old, Edwards may be playing past his peak and should be allowed to leave, if the opportunity arises.
The fans in the South Stand were great
Since the match against Sunderland would be my last this season I decided to go in the South Stand to experience first hand what the Reading fans are trying to achieve. It was not a let down, as the 150 odd Reading fans sang their hearts out throughout the 90 minutes even when things got ugly.
This initiative by the fans which is supported by the club has huge potential. Fingers crossed that, as the games go on, more and more fans get behind it which will hopefully create a more positive atmosphere against Ipswich Town and in next season’s home games.
Thanks to everyone who came and sat in the South Stand with us yesterday. You went at it for 90 minutes. The game was tense, and didn’t go our way 100% of the time, but you continued to sing regardless.— Club 1871 (@Club1871) April 15, 2018
On to Sheffield... pic.twitter.com/Z5c3139KvN
Kermorgant got his team out of jail
Yann Kermorgant rolled back the years as he scored Reading’s equaliser with 11 minutes left to play. The Frenchman got on the end of Chris Gunter’s cross for his second goal of the season. Without his contribution from the bench, Reading would have arguably lost the game which at this stage of the season, along with the other results, would have been devastating.
Kermorgant’s performance leaves questions regarding Chris Martin with the loan striker now surely third choice behind Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Kermorgant. However the 34 year-old will need to improve his finishing after missing a whole load of chances towards the end of the game.
The style of play has promise
The game against Sunderland was also my first since Paul Clement took over as Reading manager last month. There are promising signs with the defenders and goalkeeper now given the license to kick the ball long when necessary.
The style of play also gets the fans excited when Reading are on the attack, look at how many chances the Royals created in the final few minutes. Under Jaap Stam, Reading certainly wouldn’t have got the ball into the Sunderland penalty area as many times as they did.
The only thing that concerns me is that Reading keep sitting on 1-0 leads which invites pressures from the opposition, which then eventually leads to a goal. This could cost Reading vital points as they bid to avoid being relegated.
If Reading performed how they did towards the end of the game in the first half, it could be argued that they would have beaten Sunderland comfortably.