Reading’s hopes of surviving the relegation battle they currently find themselves in took another knock today, as they were defeated 2-0 by Southampton at the Madejski stadium. A 2-0 loss at home to Southampton signalled a move closer to the Championship.
Jay Rodriguez opened the scoring in the first half when he slid the ball through Adam Federici’s legs. Adam Lallana sealed the win when he nutmegged Federici after finding himself one on one with the keeper.
Reading came into the game on the back of a 4-1 defeat at Arsenal last week, and seven defeats in all competitions. However, as it was Nigel Adkins’ first home game as manager, it is easy to imagine that he would have been desperate to put one over on his former employers at Southampton, who found themselves seven points above relegation.
The game got off to a quiet start, both on the pitch and in the stands. Despite Reading controlling much of the possession and keeping the ball in Southampton’s area, there was not much in the way of action in front of goal. We had to wait over quarter of an hour before the match had its first dose of excitement.
Gaston Ramirez played a clever ball into the feet of Steven Davis, but the Reading defence were able to stop any chance the former Rangers man may have had of scoring. It was to be the next few minutes however, which left Artur Boruc looking shaky in the Southampton goal.
Reading had a free kick near the side line which was kicked high to the opposite side of the 18 yard box. The Saints showed some comical defending as they kicked the ball off each other, before they allowed Adam Le Fondre a one-on-one chance at goal. The striker ruined a great opportunity to score though as he fired the ball over the bar from five yards.
The home side had good reason to appeal for a penalty just a minute later, as Robson-Kanu was brought down in the box by Jos Hooiveld. The defender stuck his leg out in front of Robson-Kanu, but was let off by the referee as he was deemed to have played the ball.
Reading’s only attempt on target in the first half came in the 21st minute when Mariappa was able to put a low header at goal from a Le Fondre cross, but Boruc kept the effort out with a good save.
Although Reading had controlled the game up to this point, it was the visitors who opened the scoring in the 34th minute through Rodriguez. The striker brought the ball forward before playing a clever one-two with Ricky Lambert. When the ball came over the heads of the Reading defence, Rodriguez lunged in with two feet to put the ball through Adam Federici’s legs.
Southampton held the upper hand for the rest of the half and it seemed that the home fans had already gave up any hopes of winning.
The second half started as quietly as the first. Nigel Adkins brought on Mikele Leigertwood for Hope Akpan at half time, but he was unable to change the fact that Southampton were very much in control.
The Saints kept pushing for another goal, but it was the home side were the first to have a chance of scoring in the second half when Le Fondre tried to head the ball in at the near post, but Boruc was able to make the save. This only spurred Southampton on however, and substitute Lallana added the visitors second of the day just two minutes later.
He brought the ball forward and managed to capitalise on some bad marking by Adrian Mariappa in order to play a one-two with Rodriguez which put him through one on one with Federici, before putting the ball through the keeper’s legs and finishing off any hope Reading had left of winning the game.
Despite going two goals down at home, Reading did not give up and were controversially denied a goal in the 74th minute. Boruc grabbed a high incoming shot and his momentum carried his body over the line. Replays showed that ball may only have been partially over the line before he threw it back out, but given Reading’s urgent need for victory, it was a potential goal they contested angrily with the referee.
The rest of the game went on much as the second half began and the only other chance came in stoppage time when Lambert sent the ball out to Nathaniel Clyne on the wing. Clyne put in a cross to Guly Do Prado with an open goal in front of him but he fired his effort over the bar.
Speaking after the game, Nigel Adkins said,
[quote]We needed to win today against a very good team and we haven’t done. We just need to keep working very hard.[/quote]
This was a good win for a Southampton team who are playing increasingly well with every game. Reading however will surely be looking at life back in the Championship next season.