Champioship match 5`

Town 4-0 Reading

The last time Town beat Reading in 90 minutes was 2017. A 1-0 at The John Smiths Stadium with a certain Philip Billing scoring. After the 2 recent league wins, the cup match this week and Readings’ current form it was a strange feeling of confidence heading to the game today.

The line up was – Nicholls, Lees, Pearson, Colwill, Hogg, O’Brien, Sinani, Toffolo, Thomas, Koroma, Ward. A little surprised to see Ward in the starting line up rather than Campbell but pleased to see Sinani starting.

Town started strongly dominating play, although it was a little pedestrian at times. We kept things tight and allowed Reading no time on the ball closing down well and winning the 50/50s. The Royals rarely ventured into our box in the first half and our dominance eventually paid off when the impressive Thomas crossed beyond Ward for O’Brien to show his composure and slot beyond the keeper. Previously Sinani on his debut had fired a free kick in that beat everyone and thumped the inside of the post before coming back out.

The second half continued where the first finished off but there was a little more drive in the final third. On 51 minutes we won a free kick which Thomas expertly delivered and Pearson beat the off side trap to slot home. Turton came on for Sinani after 62 minutes which appeared like a strange decision at the time but he moved onto the right with Thomas coming more central. Within 5 minutes Thomas then drove at the heart of the Reading defence and with 3 players around him he danced into the area placing his finish beyond the keeper. With fans still celebrating the ball broke to Koroma on the half way line and he drove down the left taking on the full back and unselfishly squaring for Danny Ward who took his time to ensure that he scored his first of the season. Town continued to dominate and Campbell who came on for Ward should have made it 5 when he was put through but lifted the ball into the keeper rather than over him. A good solid performance where in the end 4-0 was a fair reflection on the game.

Ratings

Nicholls

Was not really tested today but he dominated his area taking pressue off the back line and his delivery on the ball was good.

Rating 7

Lees

Solid at the back. passing was good and dominant in the air.

Rating 7

Pearson

Solid in the air and good passing. Took his goal well.

Rating 7

Colwill

Good passing and tracking of runners. Developing very well.

Rating 7

Hogg

Sat a little deep at times but looked a lot more comfortable than other games this season. In the second half he began to look for forward balls but still too much about retaining possession in defensive areas and misses so many opening to advance down the pitch.

Rating 6

O’Brien

Was busy in midfield. Early on Reading where channelling him down his left and Liam continued to be shepherded too easily with play drifting into touch. He needed to release the ball earlier rather than carrying it for as long as he did. He kept up his work rate though and got himself into a good position for the opener which he took well.

Rating 7

Toffolo

Was busy down the left in a very advanced position. We were slow to find him in the first half at times although he did find space very well.

Rating 7

Thomas

Cannot argue with him being the MOM. Sorba was a constant threat for the appositiona nd they could not cope with his movement off and on the ball. When he switched centrally his running caused even more problems. Delivery of the dead balls was again top quality providing the free kick for Pearsons’ goal.

Rating 9

Sinani

Was lively and a threat centrally before going off. Unlucky not to score in the first half and I expect to see a lot more of him this season.

Rating 7

Koroma

Found more space as the game went on and used his pace and physicality to create te goal for Ward. Anotehr threat the Reading failed to cope with.

Rating 7

Ward

Dropped deep and for the first time this season we provided balls into his feet. Ward held up play well and fed other players into the game as teammates got closer to him than previous games. It is amazing how much better a player is when the players around him play to his strengths.

Rating 7

Campbell, Turton & Holmes all came off the bench and did well.

Carlos.

I was not suer what tactics Carlos was going to use today but hats’ off to him it worked. Keep things tight. No mistakes and grind down the opposition and then hit them with movement and pace. Reading could not live with us, it is a shame that we have the international break now. Going to Stoke in September will be a really good test and measure of where we are at. After the first couple of games this season it was doom and gloom and then 3 wins on the trot give it a completely different complexion.

Rating 8

Elsewhere West Brom produced a 94th minute winner against Peterborough in a game which The Posh worked hard to stay in. Heartbreak for Peterborough but WBA were the better team and deserved the points. Karlan Grant was operating in attack and failed to really influence the game. It was a shame to see him going to ground very easily in the penalty area late on.

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