The Madejeski Stadium played host to the most important tie of the weekend. The battle of two clubs fighting for their Premier League survival. In one corner sat the old favorites in Wigan Athletic, and in the other stood the new Royal blood of Reading.
Three points would be key to one of these teams survival. So with that said a cagey started was to be expected, and that is exactly what we got. Neither team looking to force the issue much in the first ten minutes of the game. Wigan though did looked the brighter. Franco Di Santo with a glorious chance three minutes into the game.
The chance was all of his own making, and much like his country man (Lionel Messi) it was all in the footwork. Picking the ball up ten yards inside the Reading half, he turned one defender, before racing past another. That left the defence in his way, no need to pass them though, the ball could do that. His shot low and hard into the corner, and Adam Federici had to save well down low to his left.
That set the tone for the first half, Latics the more eager to get forward and force the issue early on. Reading were willing to let us and try to hit on the counter. Their fans quiet and anxious in the early minutes of the game, they grew into it by the half hour mark.
The they pushed further into the Wigan half, and by half time that would cost them two goals. The first from a corner. Kone crossing into the box forcing the Reading defence to clear it for a corner. The resulting kick found the head of Maynor Figueroa who pushed it back into the box. Arouna Kone was on the seen to chest the ball home.
Two minutes to half time and 1-0 up. It got better into the added minute of the half, Reading high up the pitch, left their back door open. Shaun Maloney finding Jean Beasuejour on the half way line. The Chilean made his best pass of the season setting Kone off towards goal on the far side of the pitch. The striker headed into the boxing before chipping the goal keeper.
Half time 2-0 up and looking comfortable you must be joking. But no Wigan were in the driving seat and Reading didn't look to have much in response to our play.
The second half started the same and withing three minutes Wigan were 3-0 up. A great interchange of passing as Franco sets up Figueroa to slot the ball into the goal. Did that mean game over? Adam Le Fondre was still to take to the pitch, but even the little striker would struggle here.
As it proved to be. Three goals up Wigan didn't rush and we just controlled the ball and the play. As it turned out Franco could have made it four had he latched onto a Emmerson Boyce. The striker agonizingly close to getting on the score sheet.
Then it did get worse. Phil Dowd sending of Pavel Pogrebnyak for a challenge on Maynor Figueroa. The striker lost the ball to Figs, and the frustration of chasing shadow told as he lashed out at our defender. Straight red was the answer from the referee.
Now that tied the game up.
30 minutes of the game to go, and Wigan strolled through it. The rush and go from earlier was gone. Now we were cool and sophisticated on the ball as the players saved their legs. One striker (Kone) couldn't do that totally, that instinct to get a hat-trick strong in the forward, and that is nice to see.
But Latics closed the game out and were worthy winners at 3-0.