JUST four days after their largest win in 122 years, Reading found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-1 drubbing, falling to League One rivals Blackpool.
Conceding three goals, two from Jordan Rhodes and one from Kylian Kouassi, in 11 first-half minutes, the Royals were all but out of the game by half-time, and any hope of a comeback for the ages was buried in the 51st minute when Rhodes completed his hattrick with a strike which went in off the post. Sam Hutchinson’s deflected effort served only as a consolation to the travelling fans.
Buoyed by a win against Bolton and a midweek 9-0 demolition of Exeter in the EFL Trophy, Reading made the trip up to Lancashire looking to break a run of seven league games at Bloomfield Road without a win.
Blackpool had themselves made an indifferent start to the season, sitting 14th in the League One table prior to kick-off with nine points, the same total as the Royals had they not fallen foul of their four-point deduction.
Ruben Selles made one change to the starting 11 which secured three points at the Select Car Leasing Stadium a week earlier, calling on Ben Elliott – who had impressed in recent performances – in place of Harvey Knibbs.
Both sides took some time to ease themselves into the game, struggling to create any clear-cut chances in the opening 10 minutes. Andy Yiadom fashioned the Royals first opportunity of the encounter with a positive run down the right wing saw Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan played in, but the forward’s effort was too weak to trouble the hosts’ ‘keeper Dan Grimshaw.
But that was to be the only positive for Reading as the Seasiders proceeded to put three goals past them.
A misjudgement from Nelson Abbey saw James Husband burst through on goal and, in a desperate attempt to halt his progress, Sam Hutchinson scythed the wing-back down, conceding a penalty in the process. Experienced forward Rhodes stepped up and fired low to David Button’s left – the stopper was able to get a hand to the ball, but couldn’t stop it from going in off the post.
Less than 10 minutes later, striker Kouassi grabbed the second, rising highest to head home an Owen Dale cross from the left. The shell-shocked Royals conceded another soon after, Rhodes pouncing on some loose defending on Reading’s left to power the ball into the far corner and double his tally.
Watching his side fail to fashion a response, Ruben Selles looked to his bench to stem the tide, bringing on Tom McIntyre, Amadou Mbenuge and Lewis Wing in place of Clinton Mola, Femi Azeez and Ben Elliott.
Reading travelled to Lancashire looking to break a torrid run of results at Bloomfield Road, with their most recent league win coming back in 2001, but had any remaining hope of securing three points dashed six minutes after the break as Rhodes completed his hattrick. The ball fell fortuitously to the Tangerines striker whose effort went in off the post.
A firm Charlie Savage strike from range injected a little energy into the visitors, not enough to overturn the deficit, but enough to pick up a late consolation goal as Hutchinson’s deflected effort from the right side of the penalty area found the back of the net.
Blackpool had chances to impose further punishment on the Royals, but failed to add to their already sizeable lead.
The defeat leaves Ruben Selles’ side fall further into the relegation zone, dropping to 22nd position in the League One table.
Blackpool: Grimshaw (GK), Hamilton, Pennington, Casey, Husband, Virtue, Norburn, Dougall, Dale, Rhodes, Kouassi
Substitutes: O’Donnell, Connolly, Carey, Dembele, Weir, Lavery, Ekpiteta
Reading: Button (GK), Mola, Elliott, Savage, Ballard, Azeez, Ehibhatiomhan
Substitutes: Boyce-Clarke, McIntyre, Knibbs, Mukairu, Mbengue, Wing, Vickers