Red cards add to
TURBULENT WEEK ENDS IN DEFEAT AND LOSS OF PLAYERS TO SUSPENSION
THE new era post-aitor Karanka began with Nottingham Forest producing their worst performance of the season, as Reading ended a run of 11 games without a win with a 2-0 success at the Madejski Stadium.
The Reds could hardly have endured a more miserable afternoon, as they capped off a truly dismal display by finishing the game with nine men, following red cards shown to Danny Fox and Tendayi Darikwa.
Simon Ireland and Michael Dawson were handed caretaker charge of the team, following the departure of Karanka on Friday, and this proved to be a baptism of fire for the duo, who saw John Swift put the home side ahead midway through the first half, before a late own goal from Jack Robinson made sure of victory for the struggling Royals.
Referee Oliver Langford was poor. But so too were Forest - and there could be few complaints about either of the red cards, with Fox seeing his second yellow card in the 62nd minute, after getting himself in the centre of an ugly melee, following a foul by Daryl Murphy, before Darikwa got his marching orders for a lunging tackle six minutes before the end.
With both players now facing suspension next weekend, for the game against Bristol City, if a new manager is appointed next week, he will inherit a defensive crisis for their first game.
There were three changes to the side that faced Chelsea in the FA Cup, in what proved to be Karanka’s final game in charge.
Joao Carvalho, a regular under the previous manager, was relegated to the bench, as Ben Osborn slotted into a number 10 role, just behind lone striker Murphy, with Matty Cash and the returning Joe Lolley either side, within the attacking three in the usual 4-2-3-1 formation.
Adlene Guedioura and Jack Colback were again the two deeperlying midfielders. Robinson was restored to the side at left-back, with Darikwa on the opposite flank, either side of Claudio Yacob and Fox.
Luke Steele had played well at Chelsea but was relegated back to the bench as Costel Pantilimon who had himself been in good form recently - was restored in goal.
Lewis Grabban was fit enough for a place on the bench following his recent Achilles problems.
A poor pass from Osborn left Fox under early pressure and got Read- Swift 23, Robinson og 87 Attendance 15.034 (2,093) ing on the attack, but thankfully for the Reds a header from Ovie Ejaria was badly off target.
When Fox took a heavy touch as he carried the ball out from the back at pace, he had to lunge into a challenge with Swift, in an attempt to keep possession. He did so with one foot, which did not appear to be high, and the yellow card shown by Langford seemed a fair decision, even as the home fans and players howled for a red.
Osborn combined well with Murphy to deliver a cross that ended with Forest winning a corner down the left side. Osborn himself delivered into the centre and picked out the big striker but his header lacked the power to trouble the keeper.
Forest found their threat again when Lolley burst into the box down the right side, before cutting the ball back for Cash, who was challenged well, just as he was set to pull the trigger in the centre.
In the space of a few seconds, both Fox and Robinson had to make vital challenges as Reading pushed down the centre and Fox picked up a knock in the process. But he was able to continue after treatment.
The Royals were to take the lead in the 23rd minute as former Red Mo Barrow weaved into space to deliver a cross from the right, perfectly picking out Swift, who guided a first-time finish beyond Pantilimon from a few yards out.
Lolley took a whack from Andy Yiadom - who was subsequently booked - to prod the ball into the path of Osborn on the right. Osborn cut back onto his left foot and curled a crisply-struck shot towards the far post. Keeper Anssi Jaakkola held the ball well, which was significant, with a couple of Forest players waiting to pounce on any loose ball.
Cash had a pop from the edge of the box following a decent move from Forest. But, for the second time in the game, he saw his effort well charged down, almost in the moment it left his boot.
Colback, who had been booked for his first foul committed in the game, when he had tugged back Andy Rinomhota, lost his temper when he was fouled for the third
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Danny Fox earned a second yellow card after getting involved in a melee following a challenge by Daryl Murphy