MATCH REPORT: 2003/2004 Season

Reading: Owusu (14 mins, 56 mins).
Crystal Palace:
Freedman (33 mins), Johnson (44 mins).
Half Time: 2-1
Attendance: 17,853

Pos Team P Pts GD
7 Millwall 34 53 +8
8 READING 35 53 -3
9 Sunderland 31 51 +10
Reading: Hahnemann, Hughes, Ingimarsson, Williams, Shorey, Murray, Sidwell, Harper, Salako, Goater (Kitson 82), Owusu (Morgan 85). Subs not used: Savage, Brooker, Young.
Crystal Palace:
Berthelin, Butterfield, Popovic, Hudson, Granville, Routledge, Derry (Soares 90), Hughes, Gray, Johnson, Freedman. Subs not used: Smith, Black, Borrowdale, Leigertwood.
Reading: None
Crystal Palace:
Derry, Hughes.
Referee: G Poll (Tring)

Two goals from Lloyd Owusu earnt the Royals a share of the points with Crystal Palace this afternoon. Reading got off to a great start when Owusu scored the first goal of the game when Harper put in a corner from the right which Ingimarsson touched on allowing Owusu to head home from the centre of the area. After taking the lead Reading looked comfortable with Sidwell and Salako both having further shots that missed the target. However, Palace enjoyed the better end to the first half scoring two goals to go in ahead at the break. The first came just after the half hour mark when the ball was played in from the right and fired into the bottom corner of the net. It was 1-2 just before the half time whistle when a cross from the left was stuck home from the edge of the Reading area. Palace seemed to have the edge at half time but Owusu popped up with his second ten minutes into the second half to give the travelling fans reason to celebrate again - Murray provided the cross from the right and Owusu scored from the centre of the Palace area. Both sides had chances to win the game late on but it will be Reading who will feel they got the best result ending Palace's run of three straight home wins.

Following report from Matthew Williams:
Selhurst Park really makes us appreciate the Madejski Stadium even more. The new Holmesdale Stand and the plush scoreboard seem terribly out of place in a stadium that time forgot. The pitch was poor and seemed to fall to pieces at the slightest hint of rain, and at least half of the Reading fans found themselves sitting on wooden seats, something most football fans thought was last seen when Aldershot were a respectable side. This didn't dampen the fan's spirits however, and the atmosphere generated from the Reading fans was awesome, the best at an away game for a long time.

It was clear that the atmosphere was appreciated and each song was acknowledged by the players not just with waves but with good performances. Reading started the brighter and Shaun Goater had an early shot dealt with rather uncomfortably by the Palace keeper Berthelin. Apart from this shot the first ten-minutes was generally focused around the middle section of the pitch, as both sides tried to get hold of the ball for long-enough to allow the game to be played at their own pace. It was Reading who managed to do this more effectively and a quick throw from Hahnemann allowed Salako (who was outstanding against his former club), to go on a mazy run which resulted in a Reading corner. Harper's corner fell straight onto the head of Ingimarsson and his header towards goal was given the pace it needed to go in by Owusu, who was lingering on the edge of the six-yard box.

The goal allowed Reading to firmly grab hold of the game, and the next 20 minutes were dominated by the away side. Salako and Murray looked dangerous every time they received the ball on their respective wings, (a trend that continued throughout the game), and Owusu unsettled the Palace defenders with his aerial ability. The best of the many chances created in this 20 minute period fell to Salako and Sidwell. Salako showed great skill to flick the ball over a Palace defenders head and his resulting volley flew just over the cross bar. Reading immediately won the ball back however and a great run through the middle by Sidwell was flicked back to Goater who unselfishly laid the ball into Salako's path, and his right-footed shot was fired just over. Sidwell also saw a long-range shot fly just wide, which made it somewhat of a surprise when Palace equalised.

With Andy Johnson on form Palace always had a chance, he reads the game well and links up with his team-mates very effectively. In this instance Johnson linked up with fellow striker Dougie Freedman (playing because of a suspension to Neil Shipperley), and Freedman slotted the ball past Marcus Hahnemann. After this equaliser it was all Palace up until half-time, with the Reading defence, still coming to terms with the goal, all over the place. Sidwell and Harper were pushed back deeper and deeper by the Palace midfield, and a Granville cross from the right was chested down by Johnson and he lashed home a left-footed shot. Half time couldn't come soon enough for the Royals.

The second half started off with Palace on the attack again as Routledge hit a shot just wide, but Reading clawed their way back into the game with Murray and Hughes linking up well on the right-hand side in Murty's absence. It was Murray who was the instigator for the equaliser which came around the hour-mark. Murray cut inside well as Hughes drew the left-back out of position and a good pass into the box found Owusu, who calmly stroked the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.

The goal seemed to inject some confidence into Reading, and with both sides now looking for the winner there where many chances, the best falling to Goater, whose one-on-one with the keeper needed an excellent save. Johnson had a shot in the last few minutes hit the side-netting, but a point was the least the Royals deserved, and Graham Poll, who had a good game (although from the way the two sides played it was easy to referee) blew for full time after a very exciting 90 minutes.Palace are a good side and I won't be surprised if they are still challenging for a play-off place at the season's climax. They have some good individuals, (Johnson, Butterfield and Routledge stand out), but they must be happy with a point against a Reading side who also proved that on their day they can beat anyone in the division.



Got an opinion? E-Mail us at
Appropriate submissions will appear on match report pages

Quick Links:
  [Match Reports Index]   [Match Previews Index]   [Current League Table]

Link to Hob Nob Anyone? Home Page
Copyright Hob Nob Anyone? © 1994-2004

The Original Reading Football Club Internet Site