MATCH REPORT: 2002/2003 Season

Reading: -
Francis (31 mins), Tapp (85 mins).
Half Time: 1-0
Attendance: 3,869

DIVISION ONE  1 Mar 2003
Pos Team P Pts GD
2 Leicester 34 69 +26
3 READING 34 58 +11
4 Wolves 34 55 +24
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Brown (Mackie 18), Williams, Shorey, Chadwick (Henderson 45), Harper, Hughes, Sidwell (Tyson 75), Salako, Forster. Subs not used: Watson, Ashdown.
Davis, Ainsworth, Hawkins, Williams, Volz, Reo-Coker (Darlington 80), Andersen, Francis, Morgan (Tapp 63), Shipperley, Gray (Agyemang 83). Subs not used: Gier, Gore.
Reading: None.
Referee: Trevor Parkes (Birmingham)

Reading's impressive league run of five straight wins came to an end this weekend with a disappointing defeat at Wimbledon. Reading would have been hot favourites to make it six in a row after a perfect February but came up against a determined home side looking to bounce back from a bad run. The Royals were lacking in ideas to break Wimbledon down who enjoyed the better of the game and deserved the full three points. Reading got off to a reasonable start with an early header from James Harper just over the bar but Wimbledon quickly got on top after Brown was forced to leave the pitch in the opening twenty minutes with an injury. The Reading defence then looked more exposed than the Wimbledon defence and it was the home side that created a series of chances. Hahnemann made a close range save from a header and saw another effort narrowly over his crossbar before Wimbledon went ahead on 31 minutes after a long range ball found Francis on the edge of the area. Reading made another promising start in the second half with Forster having a chance but we continually failed to break down the home defence. Instead Wimbledon always looked more likely to extend their lead with a header just wide and a shot against the Reading crossbar. The introduction of Tyson gave Reading a glimer of hope as he added some much needed pace into the Reading attack. But it was too late and Wimbledon sealed their win with a second goal five minutes from time.

nick newbury
Of course it's disappointing to lose but I always thought this looked a classic banana skin. We will lose more games this season, we just have to bounce back after a crap result like this. I think we were sussed out today, Milton Keynes were very physical and never let us settle and play our new attacking passing game. It's been a tremendous run and when you consider we would all have settled for away draws, today is not a disaster. Have no doubts, Norwich on Wednesday will be another very tough game and one where a point will be a great result. The real big one though will be Wolves at home next week. That really will show how far we have come recently. Let's hope for a packed Mad Stad and one of those special nights which a game like Wolves can produce. We always beat Wolves! It shows how far we have come, we're getting mentions on 606 on Five Live saying how do Reading feel having lost and losing our chance of Premiership football! At least our name is being associated with the Premiership, though it still seems a dream. Blimey, Derby have just equalised in injury time against Leicester! Get singing fat bird!
worthing royal
A pretty ordinary performance by a pretty ordinary looking Royals team. The passion and spirit that has existed for the last few games had disappeared, and had been replaced by over confidence and complacency. Wimbledon were never going to be the push over that yesterday's Reading line up seemed to believe they were. It was a difficult situation in some ways, with virtually no home fans, and therefore little atmosphere. The away support did very well, but Selhurst Park was pretty eerie at times.
Game started brightly, and the loss of Steve Brown through injury early on was a blow. Mackie replaced him, but looked nervous, and lost at times. He didn't seem to play the same system. This caused a disjointed build up. We reached half time, one down, but I felt that we could still get back in it, as long as we stuck to the task. Pards then made a big mistake in my opinion. Chadwick was substituted, and we reverted to bashing balls over the top for Henderson, who couldn't get on the end of them. Even worse was to come when Sidwell was taken off too. Neither he nor Chadwick had had brilliant games, but surely the two guys who transformed February for us deserved a bit longer to get things going. Somehow or other Salako stayed on. Surely Tyson who did look dangerous a couple of times when he came on should have replaced him. The usually reliable Shorey screwed up badly for their second goal, and the match was all over. All in all a poor result, and not the ideal warm up for Carrow Road on Wednesday evening. Hopefully, a kick up the arse for everyone, and a reminder that there are no easy games at this level, - let alone the next! Looking forward to one of Delia's pies. We'll get back on track. URZZZ!
muswell hill
What a surprise to hear that Pards was made Manager Of The Month for February after Saturday's performance: it was almost as if the team performed poorly in expectation that he'd get it. Let's just hope that it was the banana skin that Nick Newbury talks of. I'd also like to take issue with the reporter from The Times who described Steve Brown as having played "a stinker". I don't know which game he was watching, but Brown wasn't even on the field for most of the one that I saw.
Perhaps the reporter was as shortsighted as the linesman with the yellow flag. Did anyone else see the referee using sign language to remind him that offside relates to when the ball is kicked, not when it reaches the attacking team? Incredible...
emmer green royal
Crap result on saturday but the run had to end sometime. Hopefully we won't go on a bad run like the last time Pardew won manager of the month. I didn't see the game so can't comment on that. However I would like to say that I am extremely dissapointed by the comments from Nigel Howe from last weeks Chronicle slagging off Butler and Cureton. Of course there might be things that have happened I don't know of but anything that has happened has done so behind closed doors. If they are causing trouble then the manager will sort it. Both players have done a lot for the club in the past. Maybe Butler should have gone on loan somewhere but that's between him and the management and as for Cureton why should he sign a contract when he's not playing football? Pardew has only ever said that they are good professionals. What does Howe know about football anyway? Shut up! The last thing the club needs is someone causing disharmony when we are doing well.
caversham royal
The general pattern this season seems to have been have an excellent run of results, then get a little complacent and lose poorly against opposition we ought to beat. This has sometimes led to a poor run of form and results which is something the team can ill afford in the next few tough games. When they bounce back, Reading tend to do it against tougher opposition, so I hope they do it straight away this time against Norwich on Wednesday. I reckon one of the fatal floors on Saturday was the lack of any ball-winner to put themselves about in the midfield, and if there ever was a fixture where that was obviously needed it would be Wimbledon. The only player who really fits that bill, when on-song, is Newman and he wasn't even on the bench which is a puzzle to me. Still, let's hope this poor result gives the players the poke in the eye they need to be rid of the complacency and fight for their right to be in the play-offs, starting with Norwich on Wednesday. COME ON...
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