A right Royal demolition

A lot more evidence will be required for many to be convinced that Town have turned the corner and can deliver a season free of desperate struggle, soul sapping defeats and barely deserved survival, but an encouraging start to the season was confirmed by an emphatic home victory.

Amongst a clutch of very good performances, notably the back 3, Hogg, Sinani and Koroma, the impossibly exciting Sorba Thomas, with 2 assists and his first senior goal, stood out, yet again, on an afternoon which couldn’t have gone much better for the Terriers.

Completing a third win on the trot, Town overwhelmed a desperately poor Reading side who could barely cope with the plethora of threats carried by the hosts as Corberán could leave the early season Covid issues well and truly behind, naming a strong squad with options all across the bench.

The opening half hour saw plenty of intent from the confident Terriers, which was slightly let down in execution too often, particularly by a surprisingly unsure O’Brien, and only an excellent free kick by Sinani, which slammed against the far post caused genuine consternation for the visitors, but pressure was building.

A marvellous cross field ball by Colwill found Thomas on the right. The youngster executed a precocious flick over Yiadom, leaving the Reading right back on the floor, controlled the dropping ball with his chest before hitting a first time ball in to the area which eluded Ward and two defenders before reaching O’Brien. The sought after midfielder slotted home from close range for a deserved lead.

The promise of the first half blossomed in a second period brimming with hope as Town dismantled their hapless opponents.

Within 5 minutes, victory was all but assured as Thomas curled yet another superb free kick delivery behind the Royals’ defence for Pearson to tap in. The defender was one of a clutch of players who could have converted, such was the quality of the ball in.

Reading responded with their best spell of the game, forcing a couple of corners and free kicks but couldn’t translate it in to anything even vaguely alarming for Town’s dominant defence and assured goalkeeper.

As they pushed forward in the hope of a nerve inducing goal, the Berkshire outfit simply exposed themselves to counter attacks in to the spaces necessarily vacated and were punished twice in quick succession just after the hour mark.

First, Thomas carried the ball from just inside his own half with pace and purpose, received a little luck from an attempted challenge just outside the box, which his adventure deserved, and found a yard of space before steering his shot across the keeper for his first Town goal.

Minutes later, Koroma collected the ball in a tight spot on the left, pushed it past Reading’s right back and roasted him for pace before supplying Ward, unmarked, in the box. The rightly maligned striker neatly side stepped the exposed keeper and slotted home a much needed goal.

Ward, who upped his game to adequate levels of competency was substituted immediately but could reflect on a much improved performance. Doubts, sewn over many, many months, remain but it would be unfair not to acknowledge his contribution to a hugely satisfying team display.

The problems Corberán faced last season as injuries ravaged a thin squad, forcing him in to fielding an inexperienced and panic inducing goalkeeper, relying on ageing central defenders prone to error and an attacking force of minimal threat seem to have been largely resolved.

Nicholls provides the much improved back line with a level of assuredness and certainty, the flair on both flanks is unrecognisable from last season’s tepid efforts and while creativity in the middle and a genuine cutting edge at centre forward remains elusive, the positive improvements throughout the side overcomes those issues just enough.

Sinani offers something a little different too. He needs time to adjust to the rigours of the Championship, but the potential is real.

Much sterner tests await. A depleted and, frankly, terrible Reading offered little and their ridiculous spending seems ready to bite them badly this term but the confidence and momentum Town can take from a thoroughly entertaining and encouraging afternoon augurs well.

If, as seems more likely than not, O’Brien stays now that a sickening move down the A62 appears off, and if Mbenza can be taken off the payroll opening up the possibility of recruiting a striker or creator, Corberán should be able to guide Town to a season with far less trauma. 

And maybe better.

One thought on “A right Royal demolition

  1. So… did we play CarlosBall yesterday?
    I don’t know, but whatever it was we certainly did well, despite still fannying about with it around and across the back.
    And Danny Ward deserves the plaudits as I’m sure that we’ll all agree that yesterday was far and away his best game (yes, I know that it was a very low bar).
    We’ll enjoy the break now and hope that we can also “dismantle” Stoke on the resumption.


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