Reading City returned to winning ways on a freezing Monday evening at the Rivermoor in their first game of November putting an end to a frustrating few weeks which saw our fixtures postponed due to the bad weather. It was a quiet game overall, but the Citizens were always on top and did not allow Holmer Green any clear cut chances all game. The Citizens also came into this game with a rotated squad due to injuries, illness and suspensions as well as some new signings in Michael Butcher and Sam Tucker.
MATCH REPORT BY NICK BIRD
There was very little talk about after the first half with neither side able to find a final ball even to get a half chance.
The best chance for Holmer Green of the first half was twenty minutes into the half, and it came from a corner. The ball was crossed in and the Holmer Green number eleven won the aerial battle, but his header was going just past the right post, the ten tried to keep it in play and head the ball back into the mixer, but he couldn’t win the header, and the ball went out. Just after the Holmer Green left-back received the ball in space and dribbled into open space and then fired a shot towards goal but the shot was off target.
Reading City’s best chance came just after the half-hour mark when Fergus Burton crossed the ball into Sam Tucker who headed goalwards only for the goalkeeper to save the header easily.
So it was 0-0 at half-time with a lot of work to be done for both sides. Despite the scoreline, Reading City were clearly on top as they had a lot more possession and were playing the game mainly in the final third, but they struggled to create any chances.
Reading City started the second half with a higher tempo and within two minutes had the best chance of the game so far when Adam Cashin-Murray fired a shot just over the crossbar from outside the box.
Soon after, a free-kick from the left side was crossed towards the near post, and captain Ellis Cowd flicked a header towards goal, but the header went just over the crossbar.
In the second half, Mitch Parker ran the game with almost all chances coming through him as he caused issues for the Holmer Green defence which they couldn’t handle all game. Ten minutes into the half he played a sublime cross-field pass to switch play to left-back Arthur Furness who dribbled towards goal before having a shot which was easily saved.
The ten minutes after the hour mark were when the chances were flowing in for Reading City. Luis Le Paih unleashed a shot from outside the box which got palmed away by the goalkeeper. Three minutes later the best chance of the game so far occurred, Arthur Furness played a great low cross into the box, and Mitch Parker redirected the ball towards goal, but the shot hit the post, and no player reacted quick enough for City to reach the rebound.
In the sixty-sixth minute, Mitch Parker won the ball on the edge of the 18-yard box and got into the box before being brought down, and the referee awarded a penalty. Adam Cashin-Murray stepped up to take the penalty and went towards the bottom left, but the goalkeeper made the save to keep the game goalless.
However, it didn’t take long for the hosts to put that behind them and grab the opener. Reading City had won a free-kick by the halfway line after a soft foul on Mitch Parker. Parker was by the ball after taking a bit of time to get up following the foul, and this allowed Austin Best to roll the ball to Mitch Parker who dribbled down the right-wing. Parker then crossed the ball into the back post and City captain Ellis Cowd won the aerial battle and headed it into the back of the net to give the home side the lead, Reading City 1-0 Holmer Green.
A couple of minutes later Mitch Parker had an influence yet again, he dribbled down the right and cut into the box, he lost his defender with a couple of stepovers and then tried to bend a shot into the far top left corner, but his shot rattled the crossbar.
With ten minutes to go, City found a second. Sam Bell attempted to cross the ball from the left side, but it was blocked; however, the ball went straight to Fergus Burton who got the ball under control quickly and then put his shot away into the bottom right corner, Reading City 2-0 Holmer Green.
The next chance brought another goal, this time it came for Mitch Parker who got the goal he definitely deserved. Holmer Green had committed men forward for a corner, but the ball was cleared up the pitch, a Holmer Green player picked the ball up but substitute Dan Davies pressed him quickly and won the ball. Davies then played the ball out right to Parker and Reading City were in a four on two, but Parker went himself. Parker lost his defender and just about squeezed his shot under the goalkeeper before the shot went in off of a defender, luckily it was going in so Parker could have the goal down under his name, Reading City 3-0 Holmer Green.
Reading City had a few chances in added time. Marco De Sousa, who came off the bench in the second half, forced a good save out of the goalkeeper to deny a good goal from outside the box. Then in one of the final plays of the game Sam Bell crossed the ball in for Fergus Burton who headed back across goal, but the goalkeeper pulled off a tremendous save to prevent a late fourth goal.
City took the three points from the game comfortably with some great performances, especially from Mitch Parker. It was good not only to be back to winning ways but to be back to playing games after a three-week absence.
Here's what first team manager Simon Johnson had to say following his side's win:
"Buzzing to finally be back out there. Few missing through injury, suspension and illness but everyone pulled together and put on an enjoyable, professional performance with a clean sheet, with some very decent debuts".
The next game for Reading City is away to Tuffley Rovers who currently sit two places below City in 9th on seventeen points from fourteen games.