Reading 2 Chelsea 2: match report
Read a full match report of the Premier League game between Reading and Chelsea at Madjeski Stadium on Wednesday Jan 30, 2013.
Chelsea’s crisis continues to make great drama. A season of permanent turmoil took another twist at the Madejski Stadium last night as Rafael Benítez’s side conspired to toss away a two-goal lead against a Reading team who spent most of the evening rehearsing relegation form.
For 87 minutes Benítez was enjoying perhaps his most comfortable evening as Chelsea manager. He had endured the usual round of abuse from the travelling fans, but would have taken comfort from a performance of craft and composure that seemed certain to deliver a fifth consecutive away league win and, perhaps, some breathing space.
Goals from Juan Mata, his 15th of the season, and Frank Lampard’s 196th in Chelsea blue put them on course for a victory that would have tightened their grip on third place, and opened a six-point gap over the chasing pack.
All that changed in the game’s last gasps as his defence choked, Reading struck, leaving Benítez and his squad to journey back up the M4 reflecting on a third consecutive draw, another backward step, and renewed discussion of the manager’s prospects.
Benítez will not have been the only one considering his future. In the stands at the Madejski, looking as shocked as everyone else, were chairman Bruce Buck, chief executive Ron Gourlay and technical director Michael Emanalo. The next dispatch to Roman Abramovich will be instructive.