Match Report vs Sunderland

4 October 1997 (League Division One)

Att: 10,700

Team: Mautone, Bernal (Swales), Sandford (Wdowczyk), Macca, Primus, Parkie, Houghton, Lambert, Meaker, Asaba, Williams.

Goal Scorers: Asaba(2), Williams, Lambert

Man Of The Match: Williams

This from Gary Deards...

A cracking game and a deserved 3 points. Maybe 4-0 flattered us a bit, but it's about time we had our share of luck. It could even had been more.

Asaba is getting more and more confident and it shows. He is shooting a lot sooner and is hitting the ball harder. The midfield is actually learning to give him the ball on the ground and in front of him so that he can run onto a pass. His feet are so quick and to cap a fine display, he even won a few headers! Martin Williams also had a fine game and was running as quick at the end of the game as he did at the start. Jamie Lambert also had a good game.

Parky was, well, Parky and Houghton had his best game for us so far. Did anyone see him run from the halfway line and give Linvoy a terrible mouthful for that awful backpass which led to Sundeland hitting the post for the first time? Meaker had a steady game and i thought that Sandford played really well at left back - I think we need to sign him on (despite having Swales available) but it looks like we won't (judging by the comments on the radio afterwards). Dariusz played the last 10-15 minutes and did a couple of decent passes, but despite want Spike Clueless said on the radio, he gave the ball away a LOT - maybe it was because we were already 4 up but we can't afford that sort of defending in a tight game.

All in all, confidence seems to be picking up and we are definitely playing much better than at times last year. At least we have some pace back in the team and I think that Asaba is going to prove a very good buy - he scares the s**t out of defenders when he runs at them like he did yesterday.

Nice touch by the Sunderland fan who ran on the pitch to score - it was the best strike they had all game!!

Here is the "official" report from PA news courtesy of Compuserve:

Luckless Sunderland were destroyed by a Reading side which hit top form in front of their biggest crowd of the season. Record signing Carl Asaba struck two first half goals and could easily have had a hat-trick before the interval. Sunderland briefly rallied at the start of the second half but Reading then clicked back into gear to inflict Sunderland's heaviest defeat of the season. Reading were on top from the start and Sunderland's defence was first pierced by a through ball straight down the middle from James Lambert after 16 minutes.

Asaba ran onto the ball to shoot past French keeper Lionel Perez Ten minutes later it was Asaba on Perez again after the striker had been put clear by Williams. This time the former Brentford player changed his style to calmly side the ball under the keeper. Perez had better luck with two more Asaba efforts before the break, first saving with his legs before making a brilliant diving save to keep out Asaba's free kick. Sunderland boss Peter Reid must have said something at half time because his side were on top for the first ten minutes after the break but their hopes were quickly dashed.

On the hour, a defensive blunder by Chris Makin let Lambert in for a shot on goal. It was blocked but ran free to Martin Williams who slotted in Reading's third. Then a superb three-man move involving Asaba and Williams saw Lambert at the far post to pop in Reading's fourth.

Sunderland will look back in dismay at two moments of ill fortune in the first half. First Darren Williams hammered a shot against the inside of the right hand post only to see it bounce clear. Ten minutes before the break, John Mullin turned and hit a shot against the other upright. Poor Sunderland even had a sending off to cope with 23 minutes from time when Darren Williams fouled Sandford, his second booking of the afternoon, and he was sent off.

What Dean White had to say...

Saturdays performance lacked nothing !.

Our back four played like a BACK four and didn't play that dangerous offside trap, our midfield collected the ball ran forward and created chances for the front two and also played long accurate PASSES to the front two, the front two showed flair, poise, pace, skill and control in front of goal. Our tactics were spot on and the whole team played as a unit. I we can continue this kind of form and performance I will be the first to eat my earlier words about Bully and we will be in the play offs.

Man of the match 'Asaba' for two well taken goals and an excellent work rate all afternoon, although an excellent work rate and full commitment was shown by everyone.

My only fear now is that we don't return to the old 'Big Teams' 'Little Teams' performance that we had in the last two seasons. Crewe this Saturday will tell.

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