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Why Dropped Points Are Behind Reading’s Relegation Woes

The Royals’ inability to see games out has cost us dearly this season.

Reading v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Reading fans were left fuming and frustrated on Saturday, and not for the first time this season, after they could only draw against Rotherham United. The Royals went in front just after the half-hour mark when Ovie Ejaria turned in Garath McCleary’s cut-back following some brilliant build-up play from the back. However, deja vu was at it again as Reading conceded a 78th-minute equaliser through midfielder Semi Ajayi.

This was not the first time nor the second that this has happened. In fact, Reading have conceded so many late goals that it is getting to a point where most Royals fans now expect the opposition to score - and the stats are alarming to read.

Reading have lost points from winning positions in eight games this season:

  • Derby County (1-2)
  • Blackburn Rovers (2-2)
  • Brentford (2-2)
  • West Bromwich Albion (4-1)
  • Stoke City (2-2)
  • Rotherham United A (1-1)
  • Bolton Wanderers (1-1)
  • Rotherham United H (1-1)

From those eight games, six have gone from wins into draws, with the other two turning into defeats. In all, it adds up to a total of 18 points lost from winning positions - which would have put us in ninth, just outside the top six. The difference in points per game is stark: 0.88 to 1.41.

Those teams in bold scored in the last 15 minutes of the game to equalise against Reading, thereby denying us a total of 10 points - enough to push us up to 18th place on 40 points, 10 clear of the bottom three. You could argue that Reading’s failure to see out games was set on the opening night of the season when we conceded a last-minute winner to Derby - another important point lost.

According to Footystats, 16% percent of Reading’s conceded goals have come even later, between 81 and 90 minutes, which pretty much sums up Reading’s predicament.

It’s not just conceding goals in the last ten minutes that has been the problem, but the team’s mentality when leading at half-time. The best example of this was the West Brom matches in which Reading were ahead at the break against a good side. However, within the first ten minutes of the second-half, the lead was quickly evaporated and points lost.

Including draws, Reading would have gained an astonishing 12 extra points if games finished at half-time, which would see them comfortably clear of the relegation zone. So those who say ‘Reading have the quality’ in some ways are right, but conversely you just have to see the amount of points lost to realise the state the team is currently in.

Surely then it’s time for the Royals to go more attacking rather than relying on a defence that has conceded 50 goals this season. If so, Reading would have more chance of winning games especially against teams like Rotherham United. Don’t forget we now have an out-and-out striker in Nelson Oliveira which will hopefully solve the goalscoring problem.

Overall, if Reading keep losing points from winning positions it will ultimately go against them as the relegation battle unfolds.