Saturday 2 March 1996
First my little report and then another one...
After the stunning away win at Luton midweek and the record signing of Darren Caskey this home tie against Watford - bottom of the division, promised a good result for the Royals. So overall a dissapointing result as Reading could only manage a goaless draw at home against a team who aren't exactly setting the division alight.
Reading never looked like they could win this one and in truth the Watford keeper had little to do as the Royals hardly threatened. Watford looked more likely to score and Bobby Mihaylov in the Reading goal was in great form to keep the scoresheet blank. A number of occasions the ball was heading in the net when Bobby appeared as if from nowhere, not only to make a save, but a clean catch as he plucked the ball out of the air.
Darren Caskey made a good debut for the Royals despite looking slightly tired towards the end of the game. In fact he could have given the R's an early lead after only about 5 minutes. It would have been a magical way to start his Reading career but he was denied cruelly by the crossbar. The chance came from a free kick outside the area. Up stepped Caskey - his shot beat the wall and the keeper but not the crossbar.
Reading's man of the match was amazingly Michael Meaker who never gave up and looked rather useful with his runs down the wing. Booty also had a good game. Nogan and Quinn were quite frankly shite. We now have a good keeper, a good defence, a decent midfield but are being let down by a front line that is just out of form.
The rumour on the David Mellor show on 5 live about a few minutes of the game being played without a referee is untrue by the way.
This next report is from Pete Langdale...
Oh, how optimism is a delicate flower that can be crushed under the weight of Hicks' era hoofing. Why oh why oh why do we play long ball when Quinn plays. It doesn't work!
It all started so smoothly, on a dark, dingy day the clouds parted as the team names were read out and a glow of golden light radiated the ground as the name Darren Caskey was read out. The New Messiah!
Unfortunately, Watford had made a new signing themselves in the heart of defence good enough to snuff out any attack - his name? Jimmy Quinn.
As a rule, I don't swear, but Quinn played a load of unexpurgated bollocks. Time and time again, promising attacks foundered on the shitty wall that is JQ. Why play it forwards when you can turn away from goal and play it backwards? For an international his touch and range of pass were dreadful, and the presence of a "target man" encourages lazy play. It is so dispiriting seeing defenders taking the easy way out and playing the long ball (direct, ha!) to a striker (?) who can't even win the ball in the air. There is no future with JQ up front. Give Neville Gordon, Michael Murphy or Alan Carey a chance for gawd's sake. Just not Quinn! Sure, he'd have probably done a good job if he'd come on for the last 15. Faint hope.
Wiggy: Best game so far, brilliant at shot stopping, but a little too reticent on crosses and corners. Otherwise, top game
Andy Bernal: Why did we play him at left back? Wibble wibble fish blanket...
Adie, Hopkins: Good games, made sure that we could have been the only winners with a host of good challenges. Adie looks good when he's annoyed: I thought he was going to lump Hessenthaler!
Booty: Sound game, looks good cutting inside from the right.
Gilkes: well, all good things must come to an end. A litany of poor crosses.
Caskey: Superb 4th minute free that hit the bar. After that, a few nice touches and first time balls. The rest of the time he had to avoid being killed by hospital passes from the rest of the team, who obviously expected him to take the ball up the end and score every time they gave him him the ball and were quite happy to stand around and watch him try, and made no effort to run off him. The problem with buying a decent player is that it makes you realise how crap the rest of the team is.
Parky: Some great tackles, but he doesn't telegraph passes, he uses a carrier pigeon. Head injury meant he was replaced by Gooding after 45.
Meaker: The lad improves! He gets my man of the match, he was always looking to beat his man and deliver an (invariably good) cross. The only Reading player who looked like he could actually hurt Watford.
Quinn: Sex god? We'd be better off with Barry White.
Nogan: totally marked out of it, and always had to beat a man to make any room. Where are the through balls of yesteryear slid though ON THE FLOOR for him to run on to? Oh, yes, Wolves.
Gooding: played okay, did the most running, but got caught in possession too much to influence the game.
Conclusion: there is still not enough running off the ball. Parky, especially, was static when we were attacking. I'd like to see Gooding and Caskey develop an understanding, you'll never see Parky overusing the Give and go.
I think we only had 3 decent shots in the entire game. NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
Sorry if I sound depressed, but that was such a let down after the euphoria of Tuesday's twin events.
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