A look at our loanees’ games over Christmas…It has been a busy period for Reading – and also, of course, for our players that are out on loan.
So here’s a round-up of how some of our boys got on for their loan clubs in the Football League over the last two matchdays…
After scoring twice in a 3-0 victory against Millwall before Christmas, striker Dominic Samuel again played an instrumental role for the Gills in two Christmas wins. On Boxing Day, the Kent-based side had to come from behind to win in Swindon – the hosts went ahead after just 18 seconds through Jonathan Obika, but Bradley Dack levelled just over a minute later to level. Jake Hessenthaler, son of former Gills gaffer Andy, put the visitors ahead before half-time and Ryan Jackson netted in style to complete a 3-1 turnaround midway through the second period.
The Reading loanee played an even more prominent role on December 28th, by scoring the only goal of the game against Colchester – the U’s may be bottom of the division, but Justin Edinburgh described the 1-0 triumph as the ‘biggest and best’ Gills victory of the season. The visitors had kept the scores level until 20 minutes from time, when Samuel was on hand to tap in from close range after John Egan nodded down a deep cross into his path – Gillingham now sit third in the League 1 standings.
Winger Tariqe Fosu also played a key role in securing a good result for Fleetwood Town when they travelled to fellow strugglers Shrewsbury on Boxing Day. Jordan Clark had got the hosts in front after just six minutes, poking in a goal-mouth scramble – the Cod Army fought back valiantly but looked like they were going to be denied a result. However Fosu, introduced from the bench after an hour, had other ideas – he rounded his marker before picking out Ashley Hunter to equalise neatly. Fosu had a chance to win it late on, but could only find the side-netting as it ended 1-1.
He was handed a start on December 28th against Wigan, but prevent his side from being defeated by the Latics at Highbury. Andy Kellett caught Amari’i Bell in possession and finished ruthlessly before the break for Wigan, but Fleetwood levelled midway through the second period as Antoni Sarcevic struck from the penalty spot. However Jordy Hiwula got the visitors back ahead late on by stabbing in from close range, and Michael Jacobs completed the scoring deep into added time when release on goal, with the game ending 3-1 in Wigan’s favour.
Plymouth Argyle will go into 2016 on top of the pile in League 2, after registering back-to-back wins over the Christmas weekend. The first came in a West Country derby against Yeovil Town, who were visitors at Home Park – and Royals loanee Craig Tanner played his part in getting the Pilgrims’ goal in a 1-0 win. After testing Glovers’ stopper Chris Weale with a header and a troubling free-kick, Tanner finally got the better of the goalkeeper when he lashed a strike from 20 yards – the best Weale could do was to beat it away, only to see Ryan Brunt in the right place to follow in.
A maximum return was ensured on December 28th with a short (… comparatively) trip to South Wales to face Newport – Scott Boden put the Exiles ahead with a deft finish in the first period, but when Tanner was switched to the tip of a diamond at half-time, a revitalised Argyle quickly drew level through a Jake Jervis header. The turnaround was complete when Brunt – provider of the first goal – picked up a loose ball in the box and struck on the turn, securing a 2-1 win.
It was a difficult Christmas for Luton Town, who faced two sides that currently occupy the League 2 play-off places. First was a Boxing Day visit from last year’s losing play-off finalists Wycombe Wanderers, who eventually triumphed 2-0 as Sean Long played the full 90 minutes. The full-back had made a critical interception at the end of the first period, but Garry Thompson wrong-footed goalkeeper Mark Tyler just after the break. With 25 minutes to play, the scoring was completed by Paul Hayes, who headed in Thompson’s delivery.
Long was used from the bench on December 28th as Portsmouth played host. Hatters caretaker boss Andy Awford – who has been in temporary charge since John Still’s dismissal – occupied the away technical area at Fratton Park, having previously spent a year in the home dugout. For all the efforts that either side could muster – including 17 shots by Pompey – neither team could break the deadlock. However it was a welcome point, following a run of five defeats in six games for the Hatters.