Reading bounced back following their home defeat to Aston Villa with an away win against the struggling Rotherham United. The Royals left it late to snatch the win as Captain Paul McShane marked his appearance off the bench with a goal from close range.
Here are some of the things that came out of the game.
Stam Willing To Give Youth A Chance- Sort Of
Much has been said in recent times about Jaap Stam’s stubbornness when it comes to his team selections and substitutions. Against Villa, when many fans would have liked to see him make use of his bench, Stam felt his starting eleven could see the game out. Reading went on to lose the game.
Against bottom placed Rotherham, however, Stam chose to shake things up a bit. The surprise addition to the starting eleven was academy product Liam Kelly, who was making his first league start for the club. The reaction online was positive, with the fanbase seemingly happy to see him being given a chance.
Unfortunately for Kelly, there is no such thing as an easy game in the Championship and he was pulled off before the half-hour mark. While it was not ideal for the youngster, it was the correct decision based on the direct style of football that Rotherham were playing. It is clear that Kelly in particular is highly thought of by the coaching team and his albeit brief appearance shows that they are willing to give the academy players a chance.
Time To Switch Positions?
Now initially I tweeted the suggestion that a couple of players rotated position in jest, but who knows it may actually work.
Much has been said about Yann Kermorgant’s goal scoring record and there have been several reasons given as to why it has been poor. The quality of delivery from the wide men has been a major problem, as has the fact that he is often isolated up top. The striker has, however, received many compliments for his work rate and defensive play so far this season.
Paul McShane, meanwhile, made his return to the squad as a substitute against Rotherham and popped up with the winner. Kermorgant is seemingly able to win every defensive header, but as soon as it is down the other end he seems to struggle. The striker has also scored three goals so far this season- only one more than McShane.
If the league table is anything to go by, Reading need to start scoring more goals in order to improve their goal difference. Perhaps moving Kermorgant into defence and playing someone else up front for a bit would be beneficial. Can’t hurt right?
Al-Habsi The Saviour Once Again
While scoring goals is not Reading’s strong point, Ali Al-Habsi’s forte seems to be saving them down the other end. Far too often the difference between a win, draw and loss has been the Reading goalkeeper. Once again against Rotherham he was as much to thank for Reading’s win as McShane.
It has to be said though he is still not perfect. On several occasions we have seen him pass the ball to the opposition in front of Reading’s goal and his last-minute turns to trick opponents are enough to instill fear into anyone. So far, however, he largely continues to impress.
Need For Nominated Penalty Taker Apparent
Earlier in the season Reading seemed somewhat capable of converting penalties. They have had two in the last two games, however, that have been missed. The first taken by Danny Williams went unpunished as Kermorgant followed up with a headed rebound goal. Against Rotherham, however, Garath McCleary missed his and the Royals very nearly missed out on a win because of it.
After Williams’ penalty miss, it came to the public’s attention that there is not a set penalty taker at the club and whoever feels confident enough to take it gets a go. If the last two attempts are anything to go by, perhaps it is time to commit to a specific penalty taker.