Recap: Royals beat Coventry and DerbyBy: Ben | February 17th, 2012
Yep, we won both. A big 6 points, no doubt. A big hand to Adam though, he kept us in both games. See below for the full lowdown.
Reading 2-0 Coventry
Federici was unbeatable. He’s come under criticism from the stands (myself included) before, but he really laid down his marker as one of the best ‘keepers in the division. He made two cracking saves to deny Nimely and McSheffrey in what could have been game changers. His distribution was top too, one of Feds’ best performances in a Reading shirt without a doubt. The squad’s versatility was on show too, with five changes to the starting lineup. Connolly made his debut at right back, Mills slotted in on the left wing, and Kebe, Ledge and Harte returned to first eleven. Mills looked initially uncomfortable in his advanced role, but a couple of decent crosses spared his blushes. Kebe celebrated his return from injury with a cross/shot that went in the corner after a decent backheel from Roberts before Roberts himself bundled in Connolly’s header down. Connolly looked assured at rightback, and have a good understanding with the rest of the team. Church could have made it 3 late on, but in traditional fashion fluffed his lines.
No Le Fondre again Brian? Disappointing. I still maintain that Le Fondre running off Jason Roberts would be our most prolific strike pairing. Church made it on, and understandably. Simon’s low on confidence and with a 2-0 win all but assured it’s natural to give him some gametime to get some morale. That having been said, Alfie’s played a bit-part role since his winner at Watford a few weeks ago. With the loan window open, there’s been speculation Church could be loaned out but I can’t see it. Fingers crossed Alf gets some more minutes in the coming games. In terms of the match, Coventry opened us up a fair few times, and Kebe seemed to drop off the radar after his early opener. Not too much cause for concern though.
“It was a banana skin, but we’ve won the game, which is absolutely the most important thing. Coming into today it was probably on my mind more than normal, many people would have just expected us to win. But I knew we hadn’t played for two weeks. We’re not in the groove yet, we’re doing our best with the circumstances of training at this time of year and we’ll be better for the game – but as I say we have won.”
“That makes it nine wins out of twelve, which is great form. We’re looking forward to the games ahead and finishing the season really, really well. We’re delighted to get the clean sheet and three points.”
Derby 0-1 Reading
It was a tough one on Valentine’s evening. It was end to end stuff throughout the 90 minutes, and we really ground this one out. Hal Robson-Kanu returned to the frame in place of Mills on the lefthand side and showed his worth with some lovely runs and decent crosses. Federici kept up his impressive form and saved a few comfortable shots. Derby were decent in possession but not too dangerous in attack, where we should have buried at least one of several first half chances. Hunt looked like a man possessed and was involved in several areas for the goal. Kanu moved down the left, Hunt received his pass, turned well, knocked it out to the other wing for Kebe before blasting into the box and getting on the end of his cross for his goal. The defending was fantastic too, and we looked incredibly assured at the back.
“It’s a fabulous result and we’re delighted with the three points. It’s a really, really good night for us. We just felt we needed one bit of quality to get a goal, and that [assist] is why we were so keen to keep Jimmy Kebe.
“Derby did a good job on Jimmy, but we said at half time we just needed one bit of quality. Jimmy did a really good job for a winger, away from home at both ends of the pitch. It was a terrific header from Noel. He’s got a fantastic leap and he’s been keen to score.”