We'd all been looking forward to this game for ages as the chance to get our first 'double' of the season - following the 2-0 home win over the Scum earlier in the season. The away end was sold out with over 2,000 travelling supporters waiting to watch the Royals show the country who really is the best team in the Thames Valley. I don't think so! Swindle won the battle on the pitch and on the terraces (verbal) with the Reading fans given very little to cheer about by a 'normal' Reading away performance.
Reading lined up with both Barry Hunter and Mickey Gooding (suspended) missing. And it showed. Reading's defence immediately looked suspect and our midfield non-existant. Hopkins and Parkie stepped into the side but could do little to improve on the dire mid-week bore draw against Birmingham. It took Swindon about a minute to take the lead. It took Reading five minutes to pull the game level with the highlight of the match from an R's point of view. A Caskey cross found Trevor Morley in the middle. Morley's header to the right of the keeper looked like it was going in the corner having beaten the keeper. The away fans went mental. Then we realized it wasn't in. The ball came back out off the post to the feet of the same man who drove the ball in from close distance with the keeper down. Yes! 1-1! oooo Trevor Morley!
Reading then enjoyed one of their best periods of the game as they pushed forward. Bernal kept coming down the right wing and combining with Meaker. However their crosses were all over the place. Meaker hit a disasterous one from the wing into the Royals' fans behind the goal. In midfield we looked devoid of any ideas. A number of big hoofs up the pitch were successful only in finding red shirts. With about half an hour gone Swindle made it 1-2. Their winger down the right made it look all too easy to break to the edge of the Reading area. The ball came across into the middle, the Reading defence was all at sea, and the forward was left with an easy opportunity to give the home side the lead. Which he did.
Tommy Wright was then needed to keep Reading in it at 1-2 as the defence deceided to go on holiday. Readings marking all went wobbley. Hopkins failing to stay on his man in the middle. A number of shots required some good saves. Mostly long distance efforts. A close range shot on the right saw Tommy Wright push the ball wide for a corner. Only Macca in the middle looked solid. A dangerous break down the right from Swindle saw Macca get in a brilliant tackle as the last man to prevent a shooting chance.
1-2 at half time and a 20 minute queue to get a drink. The band came on the pitch (nice touch), and Swindle gave their answer to the 'Jets' - thankfully without microphones attached to the PA system.
Reading started to enjoy a greater ammount of posession as the second half got underway - but did nothing with it. Bodin was starting to look more than a little uncomfortable down the left - playing alongside the core home support. And Caskey joined him with a couple of truely dreadful stray passes. Eventually Archie Lovell made a welcome return to first team action to replace the truely out of touch Lee Nogan.
Reading tried a couple of long range efforts but failed to test the Swindle keeper. Swindle obviously relaxed a bit as Reading failed to make the posession count. It could have been 1-3 with about 10 minutes remaining when a cross from the Swindle right gave them a free header on the left. He got up well but the header cleared the crossbar and post. More possible bad news as Parkie was stretched off after an incident in the Swindon half. Even the constant references to sheep did little to cheer me up.
Then it was 1-3. Another defensive lapse to give the Swindon forward a clear chance cutting in from the corner of the box to Tommy Wright's right. He made no mistake and fired the ball just inside the near post to spark a massive departure of Reading fans.
Bollocks. Reading were all over the place and just didn't know what to do. Swindon beat us in about every area while the Royals seemed to lack any imagination. Far too many passes arrived at the feet of Swindon players. We made it far too easy for them. So Reading's dodgy away form continues. It's only our home form thats keeping us up - so if we lose on Tuesday then I start to panic.