Callum McManaman’s first half dismissal ensured Sunderland extended their winless run on home soil to 21 games as Reading ran out comfortable 3-1 winners on Saturday. There wasn’t a lot to choose between the two sides prior to the wingers red card but once Chris Coleman’s side were down to ten men the visitors easily swept Sunderland aside thanks to a goal from David Edwards before a quick fire brace from Modou Barrow. Sunderland nabbed a consolation fifteen minutes from time thanks to a penalty won by Joel Asoro which Lewis Grabban converted.
After winning our first league game since August last weekend at Burton the lads welcomed Jaap Stam’s Reading to Wearside as we looked to win our first league game at home since last December. The game also saw new gaffer Chris Coleman take charge of his first home game after starting his reign with two away fixtures at Aston Villa and Burton.
Coleman has spoken well since taking the job and seems keen to inject some passion and enthusiasm through the club and city something which has been severely lacking in recent times. Since his appointment the mood of supporters seems to have changed for the better and Coleman’s celebration in the aftermath of the win at Burton reflected his desire to turn around the fortunes of the club.
The atmosphere before the game in the pubs of the town was a lot more positive than recent weeks though many were still conscious that Reading would offer a stern test. Although Stam’s side have had a slow start this season they were the beaten play off finalists last season and after beating Barnsley on Tuesday would be looking to climb up the table.
Coleman was still without a number of key men with Kone, N’Dong, Watmore and Williams all injured whilst James Vaughan missed the game through suspension after picking up a booking for excessively celebrating his goal last week. Coleman had named an unchanged side from the win over Burton but Paddy McNair picked up a knock in the warm up and had to be replaced by Darron Gibson.
We started brightly with Bryan Oviedo in the thick of the action in the early stages with the full back having a couple of decent efforts. On fifteen minutes McManaman picked up a stupid yellow after a wild hack on the Reading left winger left the ref with little option but to reach to his pocket after such a late tackle.
George Honeyman had a decent effort go wide of Mannone’s post as Sunderland pressed forward before a let off at the other end after Kermorgant crossed for Edwards but the striker clipped his shot over the bar. The game got a bit feisty with Cattermole putting in a couple of awkward tackles, one of which he was booked for, before Aluko and Oviedo both clashed and were both cautioned.
We thought we had taken the lead on the stroke of half time when Matthews crossed the ball to the back post and McManaman reeled away in celebration as the ball crossed the line but the ref had spotted a blatant handball from the winger and subsequently showed a second yellow and issued his marching orders. It was absolutely idiotic from McManaman given the fact he was on a yellow and it cost us the game as soon after the restart Reading took the lead when Edwards pounced on a cross from Aluko to slam the ball past Ruiter.
Things went from bad to worse when Oviedo went off injured and was replaced by Galloway though Sunderland almost had a route back into the game but Mannone denied Honeyman with a good low save. With twenty minutes to go Coleman made his second change with Joel Asoro replacing Aiden McGeady with the Swedish winger entering the pitch with a note of containing instructions which he handed to Lee Cattermole.
This had little effect as Sunderland were soon two down after Modou Barrow converted a cross from Kelly unmarked at the back post before making it three nil three minutes later converting a cross from Kermorgant. It was another trademark collapse from Sunderland although we did get one back fifteen minutes from time after some tricky work from Asoro drew a foul in the box with Grabban converting the penalty.
Sunderland pushed to get back into the game but it was never happening with ten men despite six minutes of injury time.
Final Score: Sunderland 1 Reading 3
ALS Man of the Match: Joel Asoro
By Aidan Crowe
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