Match Report: 2010/2011 Season

2 April 2011: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Long (30 mins, 37 mins (pen)).
Portsmouth: -
Half Time: 2-0.

Attendance: 21,896

Pos Team P Pts GD
5 Leeds 39 64 +12
6 READING 38 60 +20
7 Nottm F 39 60 +10
Reading: A. McCarthy, I. Harte, I. Ingimarsson, Z. Khizanishvili, J. McAnuff (H. Robson-Kanu, 61), J. Tabb, B. Howard (S. Church, 74), J. Kebe, J. Karacan, B. Gunnarsson, S. Long. Subs not used: A. Pearce, M. Andersen, A. Griffin, M. Antonio, M. Manset.
Portsmouth: J. Ashdown, G. Halford, R. Rocha (s/o 36), H. Hreidarsson (J. Ward, 78), R. de Laet, L. Lawrence, H. Mullins , D. Cotterill (A. Mokoena, 43), J. Hogg, D. Kitson, D. Nugent (D. Webber, 85). Subs not used: D. Flahavan, N. Kanu, N. Ciftci, C. Dickinson.
Reading: McAnuff.
Portsmouth: de Laet, Mullins, Mokoena, Hogg. Sent Off: Rocha (37 mins).
Ref: K Friend.
The late charge for a play-off spot is well under way after this deserved victory over close rivals Pompey pushed the Royals into sixth place with a game in hand over the team below. Reading were without Leigertwood, Mills and Hunt but were still too strong for Pompey. Once again it was Shane Long who led the way with both goals but there was confidence about Reading which was not evident earlier in the season. The game was killed off after thirty six minutes when Rocha was sent off for bringing down Long just outside the box and referee Friend, not helped in any way by his assistant, awarded a penalty which Long converted with ease.

Dave Kitson's return was greeted with warm applause from the home fans. The former Royals favourite repaid their kindness by spurning two good chances in the opening twenty minutes. He missed a real sitter when he headed wide from close range when left completely unmarked. Soon after, Gunnarsson made the first of three awful if uncharacteristic errors which led to Nugent hammering a shot at McCarthy. Kitson followed up, but shot at McCarthy when he looked certain to score. Harte fired a couple of free kicks over the bar as the game began in lively fashion. The Pompey fans were very loud and their team were flying into tackles and conceding too many free kicks.

Long's first goal came out of nothing. The in-form striker had brief sight of goal and surprised everyone, especially Ashdown, with the power and pace of his low drive from outside the box which squirmed under the sprawling 'keeper's body. Maybe he should have got down quicker but it was excellent example of how to finish. Seven minutes later Howard curled a delightful ball behind the Portsmouth defence for Long to chase. Having lost the race Rocha brought him down and deserved to go but it probably was not a penalty. Portsmouth nearly pulled goal back when Karacan mis-judged the flight of a long punt out of defence leaving Lawrence clear but the tenacious Karacan made amends for error with a great last ditch tackle to prevent a clean strike on goal.

The second half was a big disappointment as Reading sensed they had the game won and sat back. Fortunately Portsmouth did not have quality of passing or finishing to hurt Reading in spite of a lot of possession. Their main weapon was the long throw which is a sad indictment of any team and on this occassion it didn't work. Kitson must have thought he was back at Stoke. Kebe and McAnuff were again not at their best but the Reading midfield held firm. Howard and Karacan got forward to good effect and Tabb worked tirelessly plugging the gaps. A play-off place is a real possibility now, and if all goes well and the Royals do make the top six I would not bet against them if they have a full squad to choose from when the time comes.
John Wells

From the games I've been fortunate to see this season today's Reading line-up looked somewhat makeshift. That taken into consideration it was a good performance. The first five minutes or so set the scene, misplaced passes from both sides. thought Pompey's finishing was lamentable. There was a glasslike feel to the side without Liegertwood (sp.). Kebe frustrated/delighted in disproportionate fashion. Howard the same. Long again showed a strength and determination fully meriting his goal tally. Nicely taken penalty, stylish and pragmatic. Great shot for the first also, seemed that Ashdown might have been tardy getting to it, perhaps, although couldn't be too sure. Bryn played well after a shaky spell, him and Ingimarsson are consummate professionals. I thought 'small body massive head' Tabb played a good game, tenacious in the tackle and always looking around him. Increasingly pleased with the young keeper, he's growing in confidence and that spreads in turn to the defence. Not in a rush to see Federici back, tbf. We lacked fluidity at times, but when it did surface, we looked streets ahead of Portsmouth. All in all a good piece of work. Did the dirty in the first half, and policed them in the second with little collateral damage.
Ian Herring

Delighted to finally see us beat Portsmouth. They have been a bit of a bogey team for us in the past. We werent at our fluent best and the result could have been different, but we ground out the result just like good teams who play badly often do. Long was yet again at his imperious best and one wonders how much we will get for him in the summer. We just all have to pray that he stays fit. Does anyone know where Leigertwood is? I presume injury but I feel we miss a cutting edge in midfield without him. Tabb is his busy, energetic self as always, however Karacan frustrates me as a player. When on the ball he does the simple things well, however he was anonymous second half when pompey were threatening. McCarthy was decent. He is still making silly mistakes. He made a good save from kitson however it was from his own mistake by spilling a routine shot, and second half completely missed a cross. Plus worst kicker of a football since andy hughes. Everyone was decent I felt. Long of course MOTM. Gunnar somehow gets away with it, but feel we should play griffin on tuesday. Worst game ive ever seen from Mcanuff. Constantly lost the ball/looked disinterested. Always took the wrong option. Feel Manset deserved to play instead of Church. Good run by Kebe for our first aswell. Roll on tuesday.

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Reading lifted themselves into the Championship play-off places as Shane Long scored twice in their win over 10-man Portsmouth. Royals keeper Alex McCarthy saved from David Nugent and Dave Kitson before Long powered in a shot. Ricardo Rocha was red carded for a foul on Long, who slotted in the resultant penalty for his 51st Royals goal. Brian Howard had a shot ruled out for handball for Reading, who survived a goalmouth scramble late on. Portsmouth will be left to rue their failure to take their early chances as well as Rocha's dismissal.

Former Royals forward Kitson headed wide from a Liam Lawrence cross during a lively opening. Nugent beat the Royals offside trap and was through on goal only to have his low shot saved by England under-21 international McCarthy. Kitson latched on to the loose ball but was denied when the Royals keeper tipped over his follow-up effort.

Long punished Pompey moments later as he finished off a Reading counter-attack. A visitors' corner was headed clear for Jimmy Kebe to burst away down the left wing and he cut inside before picking out Jem Karacan, who in turn played in Long to drive in a shot. A chipped Howard ball over the top released Long and the Reading striker was hauled down by Rocha. The Pompey defender was sent off and Long picked himself up to slot in from the spot to make it nine goals in his past nine league games. The visitors valiantly continued to attempt to get back into the game and Kitson had another chance but sent a header high as Reading held on for the win.

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