A top of the table clash saw Steve Clarke’s Reading take on Chris Hughton’s Brighton and Hove Albion at the Madejski Stadium yesterday.
The Royals came into the game off the back of a disappointing 4-2 defeat to Fulham, after initially leading 2-0, whilst Brighton hadn’t managed to put a goal past Preston North End the week before, seeing them draw 0-0 with the newly-promoted side.
Brighton opened the scoring on 51 minutes after an even first half when striker Tomer Hemed went down the right hand side and crossed into the path of Jamie Murphy, who cushioned it home into the corner of the net.
Reading then upped the pressure and dominated proceedings from then on, and equalised after a snapshot from Nick Blackman rebounded off of David Stockdale and into the path of Matej Vydra, who smacked home to level the scoreline.
Reading continued with high pressure throughout the rest of the game, and will feel unlucky not to have claimed all three points.
Here’s three things we learned from yesterday’s entertaining encounter:
1) Reading can tussle with the best of them
Despite Brighton’s defensive organisation, there’s no doubt that Reading dominated this game.
The Royals had 21 attempts at goal and held 55% of the possession and, although it took about 20 minutes for them to take control of the game, they had Brighton very much under the hilt towards the end of the game.
After beating both Burnley and Middlesbrough, and along with this performance, it puts them in very good stead in terms of a fight for promotion.
Clarke has put together a really strong squad, which could see them at the top end of the table come the end of the season.
2) Brighton need more goals in their side
It’s been well documented that all of Brighton’s wins this season have come only by a single goal and of all the sides in the Championship’s top eight, the Seagulls have scored the joint least amount of goals.
This could be down to losing Kazenga Lua Lua, a huge goal threat whilst he was fit, and the disappearance in form of Hemed.
Many Seagulls fans will be hoping that the club sign a striker in January to boost their hopes of a first Premier League promotion, and the lack of goal threat very much showed in the draw yesterday.
3) Nick Blackman could be Championship Player of the Season
One of the surprises of the 2015/16 season is the emergence of Nick Blackman, who still stands as the Championship’s top goalscorer, despite not being overly impressive in previous years.
He was nominated for September Player of the Month, and has continued impressing not only Reading fans but Championship fans lucky enough to see him play this season.
But after a fantastic performance yet again against Brighton, there is a genuine consensus that he could be one of the Championship Player’s of the Season.
More importantly for Reading fans, he could be the catalyst to help fire the Royals into the top-flight. Only time will tell if he can replicate this form throughout the season.
Reading and Brighton fans… what did you make of this game? What did you learn from the match? Will either of your sides go up? What do you think the result should’ve been? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!