Reading 2-0 Nottingham Forest (EFL Championship) 05.12.20
Nottingham Forest made a disastrous return to playing in front of spectators for the first time since March this afternoon, falling to defeat away to high-flying Reading at the Madejski Stadium and it’s now five games since they last scored, that being at home to Wycombe Wanders in early November.
The hosts went into this game on the back of a three-match unbeaten streak having lost their previous four whilst the visiting Reds are not only having problems in front of goal, but have failed to pick up a win in their previous four outings.
Making a couple of changes to the side that picked up a hard-fought points last time out, Chris Hughton’s men found themselves under the cosh pretty much straight away and, although striker Lyle Taylor had a chance inside the opening ten minutes, his six yard effort comfortably saved by Barbosa in the home goal, it was pretty much a one-way street.
The Reds’ cause was far from helped either side of the fifteen minutes mark, when they fell behind; first Anthony Knockaert was seen to have given away a free-kick, that resulted in defender Ryan Yates handling in the box, referee Gavin Ward affording double punishment on the visitors with a straight red for Yates, and a penalty to the hosts.
Portuguese forward, Lucas Joao, stepped up to take the resultant spot-kick, with the timings onto sixteen minutes, and he despatched the ball with his right foot, straight into Brice Samba’s bottom right hand corner for his eleventh of the season.
Surprisingly holding out to the interval without further damage, Samba’s goal was turned into a shooting gallery for the hosts for the remainder of the first period as Ovie Ejaria and Yakou Meite twice, Omar Richards, Thomas Holmes, Michael Olise, Liam Moore and Lucas Joao all registered efforts, the Reds barely getting a sniff at the other end.
The second half began in much the same manner as the first hand been, barring some tit-for-tat in the centre of the park, Olise registering a couple of efforts before the lead was finally doubled by the hosts.
Forest defender Cyrus Christie conceded a corner and Olise, a thorn throughout, provides the cross from which Reading’s Michael Morrison meets with his head in the centre of the goal mouth, beating Samba in the bottom right-hand corner, and that mountain get decidedly bigger for the East Midlands side to climb.
A flurry of substitutions came from Chris Hughton as he looked to shake up proceedings heading onto the final half an hour; first Samba Sow and Sammy Ameobi were brought on, then, with less than twenty remaining, Hughton replaced Taylor with Will Swan.
Ameobi finally got a sniff of the home goal with ten minutes left on the clock but his effort was blocked in the middle of the box but, for the fourth game in the row, it wasn’t to be for the Reds, this the weakest of recent performances.
Reading brought on Sam Baldock for the closing stages in place of Lucas Joao and within a couple of minutes of coming on he gives away a foul, and has an attempt on goal, fortunately for Forest it goes wide of the left upright – this being one of over twenty efforts the hosts had throughout a tough, tough game for the Reds.
A quick turnaround is now needed as they head to another of the EFL Championship high-fliers, Norwich City, on Tuesday night, before hosting Brentford at the City Ground next Saturday afternoon.
Reading: Cabral Barbosa, Holmes, Morrison, Moore, Richards (Gibson, 85), Rinomhota, Laurent, Meite (Semedo, 74), Olise (Aluko, 81), Ejaria (Esteves, 81), Lucas Joao (Baldock, 86).
Nottingham Forest: Samba, Christie, McKenna (Figueiredo, 45), Worrall, Ribeiro, Ribeiro Dias, Yates (S/O, 14), Arter (Sow, 60), Lolley, Taylor (Swan, 71), Knockaert (Ameobi, 60).
Venue: Madejski Stadium (2,000)
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @ReadingFC Joao scores the opening goal from the spot.