(Half Time: 1-0)
Reading Scorers: Salako (79 mins).
Bury Scorers: Newby (22 mins)
Date: 2 February 2002
Attendance: 3,667

Reading: Roberts, Murty, Mackie, Williams, Shorey, Igoe, Parkinson, Hughes (Cureton 66), Salako, Rougier, Forster (Henderson 74). Subs not used: Ashdown, Robinson, Jones.

Bury: Kenny, Unsworth, Collins, Swailes, Hill, Jarrett, Forrest, Borley, Clegg, Newby, Seddon.
Subs not used: Reid, Whiteman, Connell, Nelson, Lawson.

Bookings: Mackie, Salako (Reading); Forrest (Bury).
Referee: M J Jones (Chester)

Bury ended Reading's amazing run of seven straight league victories by opening the scoring on twenty two minutes with the first goal the Royals had conceeded since the winning run got underway. However, this was still an excellent battling result as the Royals picked up a valuable point from a tricky away fixture with Salako levelling the scores with twelve minutes left to play. Bury have a habit of breaking Reading's run of form - but this point was enough to see us move one point further clear with Stoke City again dropping all three points.

Reading's hunt for an eighth successive league victory was watched by a huge away following that made up about a third of the day's attendance. The away fans would have been happy enough after Reading claimed a late point, and it was never going to be the best game of football on a very poor quality Bury pitch. After a bright opening spell for the Royals with Forster and Mackie getting in early shots it was the home side that seemed to get used to the conditions on a wet and slippery pitch much better than the Royals. They looked capable of taking the lead early on with a couple of dangerous balls through the middle that nearly caught out the Reading defence, and after nearly breaking the off-side trap once they successfully did it to take the lead when the ball was crossed from the right, taken wide of Roberts and fired home. 1-0 to Bury.

The first goal to be conceeded for well over a month was probably a bit of a shock to the players, but there was no sign of it as Reading looked settled with Bury failing to up the pressure after taking the lead. The second half saw Reading look determined with their hunt for the equaliser by taking the game right to Bury from the restart. Rougier looked dangerous and working himself into a couple of good positions but couldn't finish off the moves. Forster and Hughes both had early shots saved by the Bury keeper.

Rougier's trickery inside the Bury area perhaps twice could have led to Reading winning penalties, but both times the referee waved play on. Once before Reading pulled level Rougier did all the hard work before being brought down, and then again right at the end of the game Rougier burst through to take the ball towards the keeper only to be pulled back by Kenny in the Bury goal. It could have been the break through to take the full three points, and Reading might well have deserved it at that point after having nearly all of the play in the last twenty minutes of the match.

The equaliser had come with twelve minutes left to play when a great Reading move released Igoe who crossed to John Salako in the middle just on the edge of the box. Salako unleashed a superb shot that steamed into the top corner of the net to make it 1-1 and earn the point. It was another point for Pardew to be proud off, as the unbeaten run continues.

Post Match Opinions

I think this is a great point for the super Royals today, especially with all the chasing pack failing to secure three points. We all know we're not going to win every remaining game, so another game without defeat in my eyes is a great result. With fifteen games to play there are going to be many highs and lows yet but with the points in the bag so far, we really are in the driving seat. Next week will see three games in six days. Every game is now a massive one whoever we play but there's no doubting the two Brighton games coming up could well decide the championship. We just need to hold our nerve, win our home games and continue to play the way we have been since Christmas to secure the championship which I think we will. Finally, I think it's about time somebody placed an order for one of the biggest Humble Pies ever made! I'll humbly be the first to dive in head first after questioning Mr Pardew's management ability earlier in the season. Perhaps he reads these opinions and has taken all the "experts" advice which has resulted in our turn around, my arse! Whatever good luck to him and all the boys! Keep going lads, don't you dare take your feet of those pedals!
-- Nick Newbury

I had a vivid dream last night that Reading had lost 1-0 to a battling Bury side on a quagmire of a pitch at Gigg Lane. This dream only became more unrealistic when Alan pardew turned up at the post match press conference dressed in my son's Bob the Builder outfit. This was followed by me waking up with stomach cramps only a hot Indian meal the previous evening is capable of, and my wife hurtling around the house searching for air freshener. Imagine my mental state then, when with 12 minutes remaining The Royals were losing 1-0 to a battling Bury side on a quagmire of a pitch. I was actually beginning to prepare myself for Bob the Builder's post match chat, (followed by five years in a padded cell), when John Salako came to my rescue and put back some stability to my deteriorating psychiatric state. Thank you John, I owe you!
I listened to the game on the superbly one sided TVFM, and all said and done, this was not a bad result with Bournemouth doing us a favour, and Bristol City & Huddersfield drawing. It could have been better if Rougier had not been pulled back when through in the last minute. Every cloud has a silver lining though, and our hero at TVFM can expect to pick up the much coveted BBC Biased Commentary Award for his description of the foul. I think 24 points from our remaining games will see us promoted, and four points from two games against Brighton will make us champions. I must also congratulate the Evening Post and Andy Hughes for getting a notable mention on SKY's Soccer A.M this morning for Andy's Eastern European substitute goal celebration. It was just a shame that they could not show it, because the rights are owned by (Not) On Digital. Sweeter dreams tonight I hope. Kirsty Gallagher in a nurses outfit will do for starters!

-- Bob Lethaby

Who ever said officials are inconsistent? all those I've witnessed this season have been consistently bad! Don't think I need say more on the subject. Great battling Point and thank you My Salako for saving me from a verbal bashing from my Bury supporting colleagues. I cant make many more games this season as will be in Aus for a while, but will listen via the internet. great support yesterday keep it up! just watch highlights on ITV W**k W**k W**k guess what? They didn't show the controversial decisions!! No great surprises there. Will be watching the Swindon game. However should have been going to the match with my Dad as we had tickets, no surprise cant make a Thursday night from Rochdale. Will probably unsubscribe after. Going to Oldham Saturday to see if they can do us a favour, I may even buy my father-in-law a pint if they win!
-- PJ Holton

Listened to it....very good result, everything else taken into consideration.....just got to keep our focus...and i mean the fans as well...dont stop singing, keep on making noise...we can make the difference as well!
-- Nigel

I would agree, a good battling point. Before the game I would have said a 1-1 result would be 2 points dropped, but given the state of the pitch, the fact that the 'Mighty Shakers' (yeah right), as they were announced, appeared to raise their game as they are fighting for Div 2 lives and given the fact that Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and David Blunkett (2 blatant pens and Kenny's late last ditch Rugby tackle without any reaction were proof of that) were officiating, then this is really a point gained, especially given the other results.
Salako's goal was a beaut, the 1000 travelling fans were superb and virtually made this a home game, only a visit to the Elm Park style Gents at half time reminded me of the northern location, and if we can still get a point out of a game when we didn't really bother playing for most of the first half and then promotion is still totally in our own hands, and these hands look . Special mention for Rougier was outstanding second half, he really deserves a goal or two given recent performances, Murty who was Mr 110% and Ben Roberts for a toptastic save to keep us in it at 1-0 when in the most part he was a spectator. The midfield, so hence the strikers struggled to get any real control in the game or the ball for that matter especially in the first half but given the 'I wouldn't let my dog sh*t on that' appearance of the pitch (I've seen more grass in Prince Harry's school lunchbox !) these were hardly the ideal conditions for the normally Brazilian-like Royals and their silky smooth passing game.
But fair play to 'Magic' Pardew, all he had in mind was to go for it and try win the game from the off and nobody can fault the Royals for desire and effort, with the 'home' side guilty of time wasting and spoiling tactics just content to hang onto the point (as opposed to 'keeper Kenny, who just wanted to hang onto Tony Rougier). History usually dictates that any team we play beginning with the letter B invariably ends in one sort of a travesty of justice or another and whilst the men in black attempted to continue this theme, the MIGHTY ROYALS are made of stronger stuff nowadays.

-- Darren Hall

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