Reading 3 Rotherham United 0
Joao (pen 90+3)
Rotherham United will feel a bit hard done by to lose this game three-nil but Reading got the better of their visitors with three second half goals.
Both teams’ starting elevens had changes handing full debuts to Florian Jozefzoon for the Millers and Tomas Esteves and Alfa Semedo for the Royals.
Rotherham started the game well and in the opening minutes had a couple of free-kicks which came to nothing with both Jamie Lindsay and Michael Smith doing well to win them. On eight minutes a great run from Wes Harding saw him get by three players and win a corner off Liam Moore which was initially cleared as far as Ben Wiles who sent it towards Smith but a Reading defender was there to clear. Wiles then did well to nick the ball off Esteves which was followed by a Reading free-kick which went over the top catching Omar Richards offside. A short free-kick saw the ball sent to Harding who crossed at the second time of asking only for Reading’s ‘keeper Rafael to rise above everyone to claim. The next Millers attack saw a great cross in from Joe Mattock put behind for a corner which was easy for the Royals to defend and they had to defend some time later when Richard Wood sent a lovely ball to Mattock whose cross was hacked away by Morrison. Mattock did well to collect a long ball and then got by his man to play a one-two with Smith but his shot was blocked. Reading got forward and Esteves got free of Mattock but his cross into the box was too high and bothered nobody. Mattock’s crossing into the box was second-to-none and his second go at finding Smith saw the Millers tall forward just unable to direct the ball towards goal. Some lovely football from Dan Barlaser saw him find Lindsay whose cross ricocheted off Smith to go out for a goal kick. With five minutes to go Reading’s first real foray up field saw some nice football from Ovie Ejaria get by two Millers defenders before he dinked the ball into the area to an offside looking Yakou Meite who caught the ball on his chest and put it onto his foot to shoot through the legs of Rotherham ‘keeper Jamal Blackman to make it one-nil to Reading. Disappointing end to a first forty-five minutes that had been practically all Rotherham.
The opening minutes of the second half saw a penalty appeal for Rotherham turned down by referee Matthew Donohue. Five minutes in and a lovely first touch from Florian Jozefzoon saw him looking for Michael Smith but Andy Rinomhota got there before the Millers striker. At the other end an Omar Richards free-kick went over the head of Michael Morrison and out for a goal-kick. The Millers made the first substitution of the afternoon bringing on George Hirst for Jamie Lindsay just after the hour mark and straight after coming on Hirst had a shot cleared off the line by Liam Moore. Ben Wiles was the next to try his luck for the visitors curling a shot towards the far corner which went over. Matt Olosunde was the Millers next off the bench coming on for Flo Jozefzoon. A Joe Mattock free-kick was cleared before a superb cross in from Mattock found Smith who found Wes Harding who smashed a shot from twenty-five yards out just over the crossbar. A double substitution by the hosts saw George Pukas and Ovie Ejaria make way for Lucas Joao and Michael Olise. Millers skipper Richard Wood had to be on his toes to clear a Reading corner followed by the Millers last change of the afternoon seeing Freddie Ladapo on for Harding. Olosunde did well to win a corner with the set-piece being headed away. Some lovely work from Ladapo, getting he ball from Jamal Blackman, saw him put the ball from one foot to the other before making host ‘keeper Rafael pull off a fingertip save with the resulting corner coming to nothing. At the other end Michael Olise got a good ball to Richards who in turn found Rinomhota who put his header wide. Ladapo and Hirst between them forced Rafael into a hasty clearance after a good ball in from Olosunde while Mattock had to stop Meite before he sent a good ball into an unmarked Joao. The Reading corner was initially cleared but only as far as Esteves who crashed one towards goal from distance with Blackman finger-tipping over for another corner. From this corner the ball found Meite whose bicycle kick flew into the back of the net giving the Millers’ ‘keeper no chance and to make it two-nil to the hosts. Blackman made a smart save some minutes later from Meite who was looking for his hat-trick. Reading’s last change saw Semedo make way for Tom McIntyre. Ladapo won the Millers a corner which Barlaser took finding the head of Smith whose effort went over the bar. The first booking of the day went to Richard Wood after a tussle with Meite. A free-kick from Richards seem to surprise Blackman who recovered enough to tip the ball onto the crossbar. In the third minute of time added on Michael Ihiekwe and Wood brought down Joao in the area with Ihiekwe getting a yellow card and Joao picking himself and scoring the given penalty.
With the score line somewhat flattering top of the table Reading the Millers have to really learn to make possession count and get those efforts on goal. But, more play like that and I do feel rewards are just around the corner.
In truth were we expecting much from this game? Probably not. Are we still disappointed. Yes. Hey ho, onto the next game now – the Yorkshire derby with Sheffield Wednesday at the New York Stadium.
Good Play Can’t Stop Defeat At Reading
Reading 3 Rotherham United 0