Saturday, 30 July 2016

Lewis Cook scores as Reading hold AFCB to 1-1 draw

Match Report
Reading 1-1 AFC Bournemouth
29 July 2016
Attendance 6600 (including 552 AFCB fans)
Luminous AFCB walk out with Reading in the latest pre-season friendly.
This was an experimental game for AFCB at the Madejski that will have done no harm to the prospects of Lewis Cook or Josh King who had strong games. The deadlock was broken by Lewis Cook after a cleverly worked space on half way enabled him to race through against Al-Habsi and slide the ball home. Reading were well worth their draw though with their second half showing which was capped off by John Swift netting from substitute Craig Tanner's right wing cross. As an experiment, Eddie Howe will have learnt more about Nathan Aké and Lewis Cook, but there is still much more improvement needed in the last third of the field.

The warm up gave a hint as to the back four with Marc Pugh practising his heading alongside, Nathan Aké, Simon Francis and Charlie Daniels - Pugh fitted in at right back. Without Adam Smith there has to be a bit of change and it was quite something to see Pugh play there are still give the odd turn in his own 18 yard box! The selection of Shaun MacDonald in front of the back four could be an experiment for the Man Utd match if Eddie goes 4-1-2-3, but this would be ambitious against Mourinho's men. If Eddie thought the formation would bring lots of attacking endeavour though, he may need to tweak the personnel a bit. 

More pictures are now on Match Day Gallery.
Eddie sits on the cheap seats in front of the
dugout while Jason Tindall watches on at his side.
AFCB fans held their breath early on as a striker was injured in the first minute. I believe it was Josh King who took a sharp knock to his ankle but he got back on after a few minutes. With Daniels AFCB's best assist merchant of late, it was pleasing to see him get a cross in that Wilson met but just could not get enough on it to direct it. Reading looked most accomplished down their right side with Roy Beerens causing lots of problems. Oliver Norwood was impressive too, threading a great ball through to left winger John Swift who cut inside and unleashed a powerful shot that Boruc needed to be alert to keep out to his left.

Josh King had a solid first half on the right but he moved around the front line interchanging when he could and made one darting run up the centre before van den Berg closed the door on him. Dan Gosling went closer still forcing Al-Habsi into a save before hitting the rebound with his left foot onto the post! 

Wilson though was less fortunate in getting tackled whenever he got near the Reading penalty box. I don't think I was the only one thinking he looked a bit below his usual sharpness and was finding it difficult to make any impression on the game. That's not great for AFCB, but Wilson never doubts himself and he'll deliver I'm sure.

Reading closed the half with a bit more possession as Evans shot wide, but Lewis Cook got the breakthrough for the Cherries when some smart movement on the half way line and a pass from Nathan Aké sent him through a gap in the Reading defence, and he took his time to finish well against Al-Habsi on 37 minutes.
A young line up for the subs.
The second half began with Reading bringing on Craig Tanner for Roy Beerens on the right wing. Japp Stam will have enjoyed seeing his sub play a vital role in crossing the ball to John Swift only five minutes later, with a clear chance to equalise from six yards. While Boruc rushed at the ball it was a simple finish for Swift, as AFCB's defence had been sucked towards the cross which had gone over their heads. Pugh was maybe not close enough but, let's face it, he doesn't play right back every week.

Reading's right back Gunter departed on the hour for another Reading sub and the luckless Wilson was replaced by Lys Mousset on 67 minutes. Mousset played on the left with King moving to the centre and Gradel to the right. New signing Mikael Ndjoli made his debut by coming on for MacDonald as AFCB looked for a winner. The best hope looked like it went when Max Gradel took a free kick that went over the wall, but was at a good height for Al-Habsi to push out for a corner. Lys Mousset though linked up through the middle well with Ndjoli and Ndjoli almost continued well to grasp a late winner but Reading's defence held firm.
AFCB recover after the 90 minutes.
AFCB's passing is getting quicker and their were less mistakes in giving away possession although Boruc made one standout pass that went well into the stands. The fitness levels and thinking on the same lines was there but the invention and the penetration in the last third that was so perfectly shown by Lewis Cook just couldn't be repeated. There is more to do in the last third of the pitch. Wilson was too much of a spectator for me and Lys Mousset appears much more at home through the middle. Gosling seems to get in the scoring positions but then just can't hit the target. There are things for Eddie to ponder for sure.

Boruc, Pugh, Francis, Ake, Daniels, MacDonald (Ndjoli 73)King, Gosling, L Cook,Gradel, Wilson (Mousset 67).

Subs: Holmes, Mousset, Buckley, Harfield, Ndjoli, Whitfield, Lee, Jordan.

AFCB Ratings
Boruc 6, Pugh 6, Francis 7, Ake 7, Daniels 6, MacDonald 6 (Ndjoli 6)King 7, Gosling 6, L Cook 8, Gradel 6, Wilson 6 (Mousset 6).

Al-Habsi, Gunter (Watson 62), Obita, McShane, Van den Berg, Norwood (Kelly 75), Evans, Williams, Swift, Beerens (Tanner 46), Rakels.

Reading Subs: Jaakkola, Cooper, Jules, Tanner, Gravenberch, Watson, Stacey, Kelly, Fosu.

1 comment:

  1. Thought cook was magnificent. ..must be a certain first eleven starter...a brilliant nutmeg...

    Wilson looks overweight and unfit...maybe I am wrong...gradelook s a luxury...