Another game, another missed opportunity - Sunderland just do not help themselves.
We drew 2-2 this afternoon and though we scored two good goals - a 30-yard strike from Paddy McNair and a header from Lee Cattermole - two mistakes by Lee Camp cost us at the other end, and with that result we’re about as good as confirmed for relegation.
Reading: Vito Mannone, Chris Gunter, Omar Richards, Liam Moore, Tiago Ilori, John Swift, Dave Edwards, Liam Kelly, Sone Aluko, Modou Barrow, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson
Subs: Anssi Jaakkola, Joey van den Berg, Yann Kermorgant, Pelle Clement, Tyler Blackett, Chris Martin, Andy Rinomhota
Sunderland: Lee Camp, Bryan Oviedo, Marc Wilson, Lamine Kone, Donald Love, Lee Cattermole, Paddy McNair, George Honeyman, Aiden McGeady, Callum McManaman, Ashley Fletcher
Subs: Max Stryjek, Kazenga LuaLua, Josh Maja, Ethan Robson, Joel Asoro, Jake Clarke-Salter, Ovie Ejaria
Sunderland started the brighter of the two sides for the first twenty minutes, having more than their fair share of the chances.
The Lads inadvertently had their first chance after eight minutes when George Honeyman’s cross deflected off Reading’s Omar Richards and headed towards goal - but it was easily gathered by former Black Cat Vito Mannone.
We’d then put a lovely move together shortly after, as Ashley Fletcher squared the ball to Honeyman who flicked it on for Callum McManaman - unfortunately, the latter failed to cap the move off by firing wide of the left post.
Before too long, however, Sunderland would remind us that they’re still Sunderland.
Lee Camp failed to gather a relatively tame effort from Reading and at his second attempt to gather the ball he lunged at the legs of Jon Bodvarsson, bringing the striker down and thus conceding a penalty - which was duly converted by Liam Kelly to hand the advantage to the home side.
Sunderland almost made a reply three minutes later. Fletcher hit the post and the rebound fell into the path of McManaman who thundered a volley toward the mouth of the goal, but Liam Moore headed the ball off the line to keep the Royals’ noses in front.
Fletcher was amongst it again minutes later when he latched onto a long ball, only for his effort blocked by Mannone. Reading then failed to clear their lines but the most Sunderland could muster was a tame effort from Aiden McGeady amid a goalmouth scramble - which Mannone gathered comfortably.
McManaman had another chance to draw his side level on forty-two minutes when he brought the ball down, turned his man but fired well wide of the mark. It just wasn’t happening for the Lads in the first half.
The opening interval came to an end with Reading ahead, despite the consistent pressure from the visitors and their defensive frailties.
HT: Reading 1-0 Sunderland (Kelly 20’ [P])
Sunderland started the second half in the conceivably best way - with a pearler from Paddy McNair!
McNair sauntered towards goal from the middle of the park, and once he was within thirty-five yards of the goalmouth he let loose an absolute rocket of a shot which evaded Mannone completely and landed in the back of the net.
The Lads finally had something to show for their efforts hitherto and continued to remain on top, with the home side seldom threatening.
Reading did manage to get the ball in the net on the break, but the whistle was blown for offside long before the home crowd had their bums off seats.
Sunderland would soon double their advantage. McGeady swung in a free-kick which was met by the head of captain Lee Cattermole and nodded into the top left corner via the palm of Mannone.
Sadly, and once again, the lead wouldn’t last. A cross was floated into the Reading box and Yann Kermogant was there to meet it - heading the ball across goal and into the far right corner as Camp watched on.
Camp would make a good save as the game neared it’s conclusion, when he turned a chipped effort from Kermogant behind, but ultimately his mistake in the first half and omission in the second cost us dearly.
I’m not a massive fan of scapegoating, but I’m pretty sure this will go down as another game where poor goalkeeping has contributed to our demise.
FT: Reading 2-2 Sunderland (Kelly 20’ [P], McNair 47’, Cattermole 66’, Kermogant 79’)
Lee Camp, 2/10: Vito, I love you. I miss you.
Bryan Oviedo, 5/10: Was alright. Didn’t see too much of him really.
Marc Wilson, 5/10: Bit shaky but otherwise uncontroversial.
Lamine Kone, 5/10: Decent enough.
Donald Love, 6/10: Another solid showing from him.
Lee Cattermole, 7/10: Got his name on the scoresheet and was formidable throughout. He just looks a lot more assured alongside McNair.
Paddy McNair, 8/10: Speaking of which... What a hit, son!
George Honeyman, 6/10: The usual. Industrious.
Aiden McGeady, 6/10: Seemed to grow into the game a lot more as it neared it’s end. Took the free-kick which got us our second.
Callum McManaman, 7/10: Lively all afternoon. One of a handful of Sunderland players who would’ve scored on another day.
Ashley Fletcher, 5/10: Hit the post again. I feel sorry for him, to be honest.
(SUB) Jake Clarke-Salter, 5/10: Came on at left back, didn’t do anything of note.
(SUB) Joel Asoro, 6/10: Came close to scoring.
(SUB) Josh Maja, 5/10: Didn’t do anything of note.
Roker Report’s Man of the Match: Paddy McNair.