CHESTERFIELD 0 READING 2 (Half Time: 0-2)
Forster (30 mins), Cureton (45 mins).
Chesterfield Scorers: -
16 March 2002
Reading: Whitehead, Hughes, Mackie, Williams, Shorey, Igoe (Henderson 83), Parkinson, Watson (Harper 73), Salako, Forster, Cureton (Rougier 68). Subs not used: Ashdown, Viveash.
Chesterfield: Abbey, Payne, Breckin, Howson, O'Hare (Rowland 75), Williams (Allott 45), Ebdon, Booty, Innes, Burt, Hurst. Subs not used: Willis, Richmond, Wilding.
Bookings: Booty, Breckin, Howson, Rowland (Chesterfield); Forster
After a run of three straight league draws we needed a win to keep on track for promotion. With the other sides fighting for a place in the top two having relatively easy games, Reading's trip to Chesterfield looked like a very hard fixture to come away from with three points. However the result never seemed in doubt as Reading outclassed the home side and won the game with two superb first half goals from Nicky Forster and Jamie Cureton. Both goals were fine individual efforts - smashing the ball home from distance and giving the Chesterfield goalkeeper practically no chance of making a save.
This was a great day out with almost nothing to be nervous about after Forster put Reading ahead thirty minutes into the match. The sun shone down on the open away terrace and it really did feel like the Tilehurst end at Elm Park. The away end was full up but the atmosphere was quite quiet - everyone just seemed too relaxed. Sometimes it was easy to forget we're top of the league and fighting for the top spot in the table. The reason it seemed like this was because Reading were so much in control, we were clearly the strongest side out there, and had Chesterfield threatened any more we could have stepped up a gear to put down their uprising.
Reading made a few changes to the starting eleven with Graeme Murty missing Andy Hughes fell back into the right back position. This left room for Kevin Watson to make his debut under a full contract after signing during the week. Watson had a great game in the centre of midfield and played a big part in making things easy for the Royals with his ability to collect the ball and play it to someone in space - regardless of where they were on the pitch. Watson is a quality player, and a superb signing that's going to do wonders for us in Division One next season. Despite Watson's obvious quality the first half was quite a scrappy affair with neither side really creating a huge number of chances. Reading looked the strongest with Parkinson having a solid game alongside Watson.
After a distinct lack of action near the Chesterfield goal Reading suddenly broke the deadlock on the half hour. Nicky Forster did all the work himself with a shot from outside the box just right of centre. The ball flew into the roof of the net, rising over the keeper and keeping just under the crossbar. A great strike and 1-0 to the Royals. Cureton made it two just before the break with a superb effort from the left of goal that flew into the top right corner of the net. Cureton's goal followed up a period of excellent Reading play - keeping the ball on the ground and moving it forward quickly. The goal itself game after the ball was eventually cleared by the Chesterfield defence at the end of the Reading move. Parkinson also had a great first half shot which was tipped over by the keeper. Down the other end Chesterfield nearly pulled one back with a shot that dipped and hit the crossbar when it looked like it was going over.
It was a strange second half to watch with Reading having already done enough for victory during the first half. With the home side two goals down they tried to up the pace of the game in the second half with some quick balls forward and down the wings. They had a long period in the second half with nearly all the possession - but failed to do enough with it. Several times they'd work the ball forward down the wings only for it to run away from them and out of play. The home side were definately working very hard but continually failed to seriously threaten the Reading goal with the final ball always letting them down. The speed of their play got the home fans excited for the first time sensing they might get back into the game, but it didn't last long with Reading willing to let them move forward but always having the extra man in defence to stiffle any serious attacking play.
Reading looked a class above the home side and never seemed to play at full
pace and yet took the three points with ease.This was another great day out
for the travelling fans with a comfortable, deserved, three points that takes
up that step closer to the Championship.
Post Match Opinions
As the pack edge closer so Reading ease open the throttle and pull
away again Madjestically.
I had this down as the day we would start to panic. Brentford &
Brighton had 'easy' home games whilst we had a tough away fixture at Chesterfield.
Thankfully my fears were unfounded as Chesterfield were comfortably swept
aside, and Brighton and Brentford only just scraped wins. So it's as we
were then, but with another game down I think three wins from six will
do it now.
Just got back to the seaside, having travelled to Chesterfield, and
stayed at a mate's in Reading last night. A great day out, and three points.
It still amazes me how even when we are 2 up, and in total control, we
somehow manage to panic, and let the opposition back in the game. It was
a good job Chesterfield were crap, as otherwise I am sure they would have
broken us in the strange period in the middle of the second half. Anyway,
thats irrelevant now, as long as we dont play like that for 20 minutes
or so in any of our remaining, more difficult away games. Watson was just
what the doctor ordered. He looked knackered when he was substituted,
but with a week in the camp before Oldham, I believe he will be the midfield
calmer that we need for the final push. Isn't it good to see Notts County
winning four on the trot, and peaking just as they are due to visit the
Withdean? Still think we need another 10 points to be sure, but as said
earlier in these opinions, we would need an almighty cock up to fail now.
I have to make a mention of the excellent Royal Oak pub, which is about
4 miles from Chesterfield's ground. I've never walked into a pub before
to be confronted straight away with whether or not I fancied a shag. At
a pound a bottle it was hard to say no. It was of course, bottled lager.
Great idea, shame about the quality. Nothing new there!
Couldn't get to game but live reports from Big Paddy and Bob the Builder
reported a comfortable classy performance from the super Royals. Two super
goals will make the long trip home so enjoyable. True fans! With all our
so called rivals winning at home as expected, the result today will arguably
prove to be the day we secured our destiny in this poxy league. Next week
is the chance, with us at home and most of the pursuers away, we have
a golden opportunity to put so much pressure on the followers that a win
against Oldham who were thrashed at home today, would see us nearly home
and hosed. Forster back today proved how vital he is to us with his pace
putting the fear of god up most defences we encounter. We've now three
at home and three away, win our home games we'll get promoted, the championship
will be a bonus!
My opinion is that it's good to have friends to stay with in Derbyshire,
even if they're Chesterfield supporters. Great evening - a couple of pints
of Timothy Taylor's, a decent curry, several bottles of Rioja, and still
enough change out of a fiver to feed the whippet.
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