READING 2 PETERBOROUGH UNITED 2 (Half Time: 0-1)
Forster (73 mins, 79 mins)
Peterborough Scorers: Gill (29 mins), McKenzie (83 mins)
13 April 2002
Reading: Whitehead, Murty, Mackie (Williams 16 (Butler 45)), Viveash, Shorey, Hughes, Watson, Parkinson, Salako, Forster, Rougier (Igoe 45). Subs not used: Talia, Cureton.
Peterborough: Steele, Gill (Oldfield 85), Joseph, Edwards, Kimble
(Farrell 81), Danielsson, Bullard, Forsyth, Pearce, Fenn (Clarke 81),
Bookings: Murty (Reading); Joseph, McKenzie (Peterborough).
|Reading need just a point from next Saturday's final showdown against Brentford at Griffin Park. The point would give the Royals second place in the table above Brentford - and automatic promotion to Division One. Reading drew 2-2 at home this afternoon against Peterborough United, while Brentford also failed to win but collected a point against QPR. Reading's 8th draw from nine league games was enough to give Reading the advantage for the trip to Brentford. Although a win would have set us up nicely, today's draw makes no difference to the outcome of the season - although Brighton are now guaranteed the Division Two championship. Everything rests on next Saturday's game, and Reading fans will be hoping for a repeat of today's second half performance rather than the first half. The Royals went in 0-1 down at half-time after a poor 45 minutes in which we managed just a single shot from Nicky Forster that was well over the crossbar. Peterborough took the lead after a mistake from Whitehead when he failed to hold a tame shot, and were well on top. Pardew took drastic measures at half time and made a double subtitution. The changes paid off with Igoe and Butler coming off the bench and having a major impact. Reading pulled level on 73 minutes and then went 2-1 up six minutes later with two goals from Nicky Forster after some great team play. Reading looked set to take the full three points with Forster and Butler linking together up front to nearly produce a third goal. However, the attacking play led to a defensive lapse and Peterborough were able to steal a goal with seven minutes left to play to take a share of the points.||
Following report from John Wells:
So we continue to stumble towards the finishing line - but we are still on our feet and in with a good chance of gaining the automatic promotion we deserve. Next week's final game at Griffin Park could not be more finely balanced. As far as I'm concerned the player who has done the most to put us in contention this season is Nicky Forster. He can be infuriating at times, and his finishing lacks composure, but he has done more than anyone in the squad to unsettle defences and create scoring opportunities. Next to Bobby Zamora, he must be the player the defenders in this division least like to play against. I feel sure we will will need at least one goal next week, and as long as he is in the side, we have a chance of getting one. Today his two vital goals mean that we can go into next week's game knowing the onus is on Brentford to win it.
After a bright start, in which Forster had a goal disallowed for offside, Reading lost their way. A uncharacteristic blunder by Whitehead saw a speculative long range effort give Peterborough the lead after 30 minutes. Only Phil will know how he managed to let the ball slip through his fingers and into the net, and the less said about it the better. He is certainly not a 'dodgy 'keeper' as proclaimed by the Peterborough fans. Reading were not helped by Mackie going off injured after 15 minutes. What was cause for greater concern was the lack of cohesion in the way Reading played. There was so much wrong it his hard to know where to begin, but inaccurate passing was the most obvious flaw. The away side showed how it should be done, stringing together some neat quick passes. Reading simply lost control of the game as Peterborough grew in confidence.
Williams, who had replaced Mackie, received a nasty blow to the head and had to be replaced at half time. Rougier also did not come out for the second half but he is still struggling to find the form that was so impressive during January. The reshuffled team actually looked far more threatening than the original line up. Murty moved into the middle of the defence with Viveash, Hughes dropped into right back, Igoe took over on the right side of midfield, and Butler joined Forster up front.
Gradually Reading built up some momentum, and just as I began to worry about the prospect of an embarrassing defeat, Forster brought the game to life. In a matter of minutes he forced two good saves from Steele, produced a good cross for Butler, and smashed in an equaliser from a quick incisive ball from Igoe. A minute later he skipped past the defence wide on the right and laid the ball invitingly into the path of Butler who should have scored, but with the 'keeper stranded at the near post, he hit the ball feebly at a covering defender. Minutes later another Forster run was halted by a foul and Watson floated the ball in behind the defence. A desperate lunge by a Peterborough defender brought another good save from Steele and then the referee absurdly decided that it was a back pass! As usual the strike on goal was blocked. On 79 minutes a deep cross by Hughes was brilliantly knocked back across the goal by Salako and Forster was there again to put Reading in front with a close range header.
Reading were rampant now with Hughes looking more effective running from deep positions, Murty starting things from the back, Igoe darting about in midfield and Butler looking sharp up front. Surely we would go on and win! It was not to be. You could almost sense the panic exemplified by Parky hoofing the ball into touch. The equaliser came in typically controversial circumstances. Murty was convinced that Clarke handled the ball before crossing for McKenzie to score from close range. What upset me most was the ease in which the defence was beaten with such a simple ball bouncing across the edge of the six yard box. There was no real advantage in winning today but it might have boosted morale a bit. The most worrying outcome of the day was Mackie's injury which could keep him out until next season. We will need to defend resolutely next week and he is without doubt our best defender at present.
No doubt all Royals fans will spend the whole week speculating about what could happen at Brentford. From my point of view the tension is already unbearable - but imagine what it must be like for the players. We should already be up, but this is not the time to agonise over what might have been. We can do that, if we need to, when the season is over. The fans will be behind the team that is for sure. I only hope that Pardew is positive in his selection and, without throwing caution to the wind, we try to win the game.
Post Match Opinions
Forget the crap offside decision that denied us in the first half.
To be honest, the result didn't matter. The first 20 minutes were
awful, OK Forster put it in the back of the net, but had to be yards offside
to do so. And so Peterborough scored. But Phil Whitehead's stop ruined
it. Even I could have saved that, and I haven't played for ages. The passing
was a bit dire, Kevin Watson's touches were excellent though, the only
one who could do anything with the ball, that wasn't punt it up in the
air. At half time, I was gutted and horrified by the performance. But
Reading's two subs, Sammy Igoe and Martin Butler is the best tactical
change Pardew has made all season. Sammy changed the game, with excellent
throughballs and crosses at the back. Martin on the other hand offered
pace not yet witnessed by peterborough in the game, due to Rougier's stormy
runs. Sammy could have got a goal himself, and was unlucky not to. His
shot was deflected cleverly by the Peterborough defence. Hughes also seemed
more spritely with Sammy nearby, and the face of the game changed. Runs
down the right of the pitch troubled the strong Peterborough defence.
And if it wasn't for Peterborough's excellent keeper, Reading could have
grabbed more than the two they got.
I was not at the game, but am sadly sat at my PC in Hong Kong waiting
for updates each minute. The way that I see it is that if we can't even
beat Oldham, Northampton and Peterborough at home, then what chance would
we ever stand against the teams currently in Division 1? I'm just glad
that I'm not JM spending loadsa' my money every year on a team that seems
destined always to bottle it at the major moments. Saying that, I was
born a loyal Royal, and I am sure that I and my kids will die loyal Royals,
but come on lads, you have to give something back to the hopeless wasters
who spend our lives thousands of miles away each Saturday night sat by
A game of two contrasting halves and two contrasting goalies. In the
end the result scarcely mattered. Yet again we were treated (if that is
the right word) to some magnificent entertainment as we showed what a
wonderfully unpredictable side we are. In recent home games we have started
well, only to fade as nerves took hold. Today we were like frightened
rabbits caught in the glare of a headlight not knowing what to do. Even
the crowd were confused. At one time one bloke near me shouted 'Hold it'
whilst another one shouted 'Pass it' It was that sort of start. There
was no pattern, no coherent play and Peterborough thrived on it. Their
goal was as soft as they come. A simple long range shot that just slipped
through Whitehead's gloves. In fairness, he has had an excellent season
and at least this slip did not really matter (as it turns out). We also
lost Mackie in the first half which, with the introduction of Williams
left us lacking pace down the middle. The first half was utterly forgettable.
Peterborough deserved their lead though I could not see if Forster's earlier
strike had been offside.
The results today do not mean a great deal as far as promotion is
concerned, but the Reading performance today was highly significant. In
the first half they were woeful and booed off. So much for all the "positive
vibes" Big John wanted before the match! The second half was much better,
with Butler and Igoe coming on to make a real difference. It was hardly
convincing stuff though, and they were outplayed for a lot of this game
by a "pass and move" Peterboro team that were the more attractive team
to watch. I still cannot understand why Cureton does not get a game. He
is a proven goalscorer at this level and yet Pardew obviously does not
rate him. Why is that? Just a draw next week will be enough then. Reading
should be able to manage that! Play up The Biscuitmen!!
What a dire first half, playing like that every week we would have
been relegated, not trying to gain the second promotion spot. In addition,
the loss of Mackie with a suspected broken fibia and torn ligaments is
awful news, and means he will struggle to be fit for the start of next
season. Replacing Rougier with Butler at half time was made easy by Rougier
himself. Why on earth can't he run back into an on-side position like
everyone else? His only contribution seems to be to fall over and hope
to get a free kick. Replacing Adie Williams with Sammy Igoe was rather
forced on Pards as Adie apparently had concussion and was not allowed
to restart the second half.
What a day! Where do you start? Without wishing to appear a smart
arse I bolding predicted weeks ago that this was always going to go right
down to the last game, and so it will be. I'll even go as far I saying
this will go down to the last kick... bloody hope not!
Well, anyone would have to admit that the first half was absolutely
terrible from Reading's point of view. Like Alan Pardew said, we were
too spread out letting Peterborough get through. I think Pardew was right
with the decision he made at half time to bring off Rouge and put on Butler.
I think Butts did amazingly well since thats the longest hes played since
his injury. And Sammy did great too swinging in some good crosses. I think
that out second half perfomance shows what we can do and that was easily
of division 1 standard. Lets just hope we get there this season! URZ!
The earler comments are absolutely right - the result yesterday didn't
make any difference to what we need to do at Brentford. Please spare a
thought though, for a poor exiled Royal, living in Sussex. If I've been
told once that Brighton are far better than Reading, having spent a fraction
of the money, I have heard it a thousand times. My defences are running
out, and try as I may not to, I bite at every pathetic snide remark. Couldn't
face the Zamora parties last night, so stayed in Reading, and went to
the London Irish match today. Guess what. It ended in a draw 18 all! The
Mad Stad just does not want to host a win for anyone at the moment. So
whilst I agree that we can still do it, 3 points yesterday would have
kept the seagulls quiet if only for one more week. We must play for a
win next week. I am worried that Pards may try and shut the game down,
and play for a point. Having said that, we are pretty good at getting
one point a game. URZ!
Like most other HNA readers I have supported Reading since a boy.
I first went to Elm Park as a 10 year old Man. Utd supporter with my big
brother. I watched Reading beat Rotherham 1-0 in the league cup and I
was bought. I went home and dumped all my Man Utd stickers and posters
in the bin and became a Royal. I have stood on the pissed stained steps
of the South Bank and watched Ollie Kearns, Pat Earls, Stuart Beavon,
Terry Hurlock, Martin Hicks, Neil Webb, Kerry Dixon, Keith Curle Jimmy
Quinn, Micky Gooding the late Dean Horrix and the clumsy but prolific
Trevor Senior to name but a few. All these players plus others have at
times been heroes for the club and in many cases their genuine commitment
made up for lack of class.
OK, OK enough whingeing. We may all have another crap week of tension
ahead of us waiting for When Saturday Comes, but for those of us 'lucky'
enough to have a Brentford ticket somehow we've got to get ourselves into
a really positive mind set for next Saturday. Most of us will be too nervous
on the day to even be able to talk, let alone sing and shout, but we've
all got to find the self belief that we've lost and just shout and scream
and sing ourselves hoarse for URZ. At Tranmere when we fell behind we
went very quiet - if we go down at Griffin Park we've got to turn the
volume UP even louder! We've got to transmit that confidence and self
belief to the players, and if we do at long last we will get out of this
wretched division for once and for all. Come on URZ - WE CAN DO IT!
I agree 110% with Nick, the whole reason this site is so popular
is that the majority of the comments are made by true supporters whose
primary concern is the club and it's success. Any LOYAL supporter is entitled
to tell it like it is, when it's good say it's good but when it is sh*te,
let 'em know, as long as the critism is constructive where's the harm
in that. However this week is too important to get into a another Pardew
character assassination as only one thing matters. True we have blown
a monumental lead at the top of the league, allowed a third rate team
to take the title and given all anti-Royals fans enough ammunition to
give Sadman Hussain a run for his money but I am at the stage where for
the next few days I don't care and I don't care how we get it, who gets
it and where they get it from just as long as we get that one point by
4.50 on the 20th April, forget Tenacity, Spirit and Flair, we can Timewaste,
Spoil and F*cking cheat for all I care, just get out of this donkey division
without having to go anywhere near the Severn Bridge! But you've got to
be confident, as apart from the minor blip of a 2-0 victory at Chesterfield
that is something we have managed to do every game since the 2nd March
! Losing Mackie is a big blow, but Butler's back and raring and going
into the game I would rather be a Royal than a Bee, hey I'd rather be
a Royal than anything else and that is the point, we are all Reading 'til
we die....I have a vision, with the score at 3-2 to Brentford with the
ninety minutes up Pardew makes his most controversial substitution of
the season, bringing himself on for Forster, 30 secs later, Salako swings
in a cross and 'like a salmon' Pardew leaps and buries the ball in a carbon
copy of his Palace semi final goal v Liverpool of 1990 and we are in divison
1. It's just a feeling but have the last 6-7 weeks finally taken their
toll on my mental health.....URZZZ
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