Blackpool got their 2022-23 EFL Championship campaign off to a positive start with a 1-0 home win against Reading on 30th July. Callum Connolly netted the only goal of the game in the ninth minute.

Blackpool opted for the 4-1-4-1 formation. Daniel Grimshaw was chosen as the starting goalkeeper, and he was shielded by the back four of goalscorer Callum Connolly, skipper Marvin Ekpiteta, Liverpool loanee Rhys Williams and Dominic Thompson. Lewis Fiorini was the defensive midfielder shielding the backline, and he was supported by Matthew Virtue-Thick and Sonny Carey. Wingers Josh Bowler and Jerry Yates provided support to the lone striker, Gary Madine.

Reading lined up in a 5-4-1 formation and in goal was Joe Lumley. The back five was made up of Junior Hoilett on the right, captain Andy Yiadom, Thomas Holmes and Tom McIntyre as the centre-backs and Nesta Guinness-Walker on the left. The four midfielders were Tom Ince, Tyrese Fornah, Jeff Hendrick and Ovie Ejaria. Yakou Meite was the only striker. While Blackpool used all five substitutes available in this match, Reading opted for only one.

Reading had more possession and shot attempts in this match. But Blackpool were more efficient in shooting, as 50% of their shots hit the target, compared to the visitors’ 25%. The Royals had four shots blocked by the Tangerines in this match. They also had more corners than the hosts. Blackpool committed a lot more fouls than Reading and received one yellow card to Reading’s none. Reading missed one big chance which cost them the draw. This is despite having two shots from counterattacks. 11 out of 12 shots from Reading came from inside the Blackpool’s penalty area. Yet, they were very inefficient in front of the goal. Lumley made four saves to Grimshaw’s three.

Reading completed more passes than Blackpool in this match, but the hosts had a slightly more successful rate. The hosts completed more long balls at a higher rate than the visitors. They also made twice as many dribbles as the Royals and did so at a higher rate. Just like one would expect with higher possession, Reading lost possession more times than Blackpool. But they also won marginally more duels, though the home team won more aerial battles. Despite having more possession, the visitors completed more tackles and interceptions than the Tangerines but had less than half the number of clearances.

Blackpool will look to carry the momentum into the next game when they travel to Stoke City on 6th August. Meanwhile, Reading will hope to win their first game of the season when they host Cardiff City on the same day.

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