Andy Munro on Blues in midweek.
I wasn’t hopeful, with Blues sporting a mediocre away record and playing a Reading side who had taken the Gunners to the wire.
This negativity seemed justified as Blues struggled to cope with a decent Reading side and their own issues of trying to get their heads (as well as their feet) around a new 3-5-2 formation. Blues weren’t quite the wingless wonders of Sir Alf’s day but the idea of turning the defensive minded Grounds into a dashing wingback was never going to work. However, it was nice to see Wes Thomas being given the chance to partner the lonely figure of Clayton Donaldson up front.
It didn’t help that, early on, a stray arm from a Reading player shattered the man in the plastic mask. Yet, Fabrini had typically shown early on a lot of promise and skill which was his undoing as a frustrated Reading player decided to take the law into his own hands.
Blues then continued to struggle and had Randolph to thank for some great keeping. On that note, however, how anybody can criticise Randolph for the occasional Gary Sprake moment is a mystery to me given some of the saves that he’s made throughout the season.
The pattern didn’t really change until we swopped formation and brought on Dyer and Demarai for the last quarter. making a substantial difference to the pattern of play. Having said that, it was Gleeson who provided the cross for that man Donaldson to power home an unstoppable header to give Blues the points. In truth, we could have had two or three more at the death but that would have been a bit unfair on Reading given the overall balance of play.
It’s undoubtedly an unforgiving division given the talents of Reading’s manager Steve Clark and the fact that Reading are in the basement area. Credit then to Gary Rowett for the job he’s done.