Manager assesses Addicks victoryRoyals boss Steve Clarke was delighted that the Royals were able to secure three points against a hard-to-beat Charlton Athletic team at Madejski Stadium.
Nick Blackman struck with 15 minutes to go to hand the Royals all three points against the Addicks – until that point the visitors had managed to deal with the threats that Reading had posed. It was the patience and persistence to the task in hand that pleased the Reading boss in particular.
“It was a difficult game, and to be honest it was the game I thought it would be,” Clarke explained. “Certainly from Charlton’s point of view, I knew they would come here and be difficult to beat. They were very well organised defensively to keep their shape – there weren’t too many shots on our goal today again, which is good for us.
“But we knew it would be a difficult afternoon – it was an afternoon for patience. Thankfully for us, that patience was rewarded. We have shown this season that we can play good, sparkling, free-flowing football when it’s an open game – we’re very good in an open game.
“Today it was different. It was a team that came and sat in and made it difficult for us; we didn’t create too many chances, although I was disappointed with one or two opportunities early in the game which if we had got in front would have changed the whole complexion.”
Blackman’s header – as he latched onto Lucas Piazon’s well-weighted hanging cross – took his tally to ten for the season in Reading colours. Less than ten minutes earlier, a clever drop of the shoulder had drawn a second yellow for Patrick Bauer as Charlton were reduced to ten men.
As well as netting the match-winning goal, Clarke praised the forward’s all-round contribution as he covered every inch of the final third for the Reading cause.
“We stayed patient, we kept probing, we kept trying to pick the right moments and get our shots at the right time. Eventually, the man in form produced again.
“From the first minute until the last – and I moved him around to a couple of different positions on the pitch. At the moment, it doesn’t seem to matter where I play Nick Blackman. He is always going to make a positive contribution to the team.
“Nick has got the skills and can go past a man – the second yellow made it more difficult for Charlton. They go a man down, and Bauer, who had been good for them, might have been the one to get on the end of the cross when it came in if he had still been on the pitch. But he wasn’t – you’re not allowed to commit two yellow-card offences, and that was a real bonus.
“I was also pleased that Lucas Piazon was able to get the assist for the goal. When you’re a creative player and you can make an assist, it’s important for the team.”