Match Report: 2010/2011 Season

7 August 2010: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Sigurdsson (26 mins).
Scunthorpe: Thompson (9 mins), Jones (60 mins).
Half Time: 1-1
Attendance: 15,914

Pos Team P Pts GD
16 Leeds 1 0 -1
17 READING 1 0 -1
18 Nottm F 1 0 -1
Reading: Federici, Mills, Griffin, Williams, Pearce, McAnuff (Antonio, 75), Kebe, Karacan (Church, 70), Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson (Tabb, 59), Long. Subs not used: Howard, Rasiak, Hamer, Robson-Kanu.
Scunthorpe: Murphy, Mirfin ( Raynes, 51), Nolan, McNulty, Jones, Togwell, O'Connor ( Andrew Wright, 89), Thompson, Josh Wright, Forte, Dagnall ( Woolford, 73). Subs not used: Collins, Grant, Slocombe, Canavan.
Reading: -
Scunthorpe: Murphy, Thompson.
Ref: F Graham (Essex)
Reading created sufficient chances to have won this game comfortably, but poor finishing, and even poorer defending enabled one of the weaker Championship sides to sneak off with all three points leaving players and fans feeling deflated. Expectations were high, almost to the point off complacency, as Reading kicked off their season at home against the kind of opposition a team with the ambition of reaching the play-offs would expect to win with relative ease. It looked as if that might be the case as the Royals mounted a series of attacks in the opening minutes. The mood quickly changed as Forte beat Mills far to easily to put in a cross from which Thompson scored. There was a moment or two of confusion as the assistant's flag was hoisted but was ultimately ignored by referee Graham and a goal was given. Scunthorpe had not read the script.

Reading were playing a 4-2-3-1 formation with Karacan and Gunnarsson holding in midfield. Long as always toiled unselfishly up front, Kebe and McAnuff provided the width and Sigurdsson was given the central attacking midfield position he surely enjoys most of all. His selection in that position was fully justified when he sidestepped a challenge outside the box and drove a long range effort past Murphy. It was the perfect way for Reading to open their account for the season. Almost immediately McAnuff, who was playing well but getting a raw deal from the referee, should have given Reading the lead and he swept into the box only to scuff his shot wide of the upright. Somehow Reading were unable to get into their stride. Their passing was not slick enough and Scunthorpe were certainly not prepared to stand back and admire their opponents skill. Karacan was caught in possession at least three times in the first half.

The second half saw flashes of enterprising play from Reading but United defended with courage and determination as exemplified by Murfin's brave challenge which ended with the defender being stretchered off to hospital. McAnuff looked to have put Reading ahead with a sweetly stuck shot which cannoned wide off a defender's knee with Murphy well beaten. Their eagerness to score almost gave United the lead as Griffin amazingly kept four attackers at bay singled handed when the Royals over committed and lost possession. Not only did he slow the attack down he actually won the ball. In contrast Mills deserved to have this week's wages docked for his impersonation of a statue at the far post allowing Jones to head powerfully into the net from a rare United corner to give United the lead.

McDermott tried all sorts of things to liven up his flagging attack. The switching of Kebe to left wing following McAnuff's departure after seventy-five minutes almost brought instant success as he burst through and set up Church with a golden chance which the young striker sidefooted tamely at Murphy. It was the sort of miss that makes heads drop on and off the pitch. Antonio had a lively spell as a late substitute but lacked the composure to capitalise on his pace and trickery. Murphy finally got the booking he deserved for time wasting near the end - but avoided further punishment in spite of continuing his delaying tactics. He need not have bothered as the Royals did not look likely to snatch the goal they were clearly desperate to score.

Williams had a solid game at the back but Mills and Pearce looked worryingly out of their depth in what was hardly the toughest test they are likely to face this season. Last season Reading did not have to rely on this pairing with Ingimarsson, Cisse and Khizanishvili as back up. Suddenly the centre of the defence looks like a significant weakness. Apart from that it is too early to talk about the shape the season will take for the Royals, but I get the feeling there even more teams in the Championship this season likely to be serious contenders for a play-off spot.
John Wells

Well, Radio Berks got it right in their post match when they said it was a 'balloon' day, feeling very deflated generally after watching that. First of all credit to Scunny who I thought defended well after a sloppy first ten and who made good use of what chances they did get. I thought Forte looked a very good player and their centre backs were both excellent. As far as Reading are concerned Pearce and Mills just do not play together well and it's gradually becoming more clear that Pearce is not a top half Championship player, at the very least not today anyway. Mills didn't have an amazing game either and Griffin whilst not that bad, was clearly losing the battle with the aforementioned Forte. Elsewhere I cannot comprehend why Jem and Gunnar were picked to start this game :| unless Howard and Tabb are unfit, why on earth would you change such a successful partnership? Long did his best to win the flick ons and hussle about but he had bugger all service really. Sig was average and it just didn't really come off for McAnuff or Kebe today. Also nice to see we might have a new weapon with Antonio, that throw looked pretty handy. Not panicking as of yet as the performance wasn't THAT bad but I fear that if we don't get a new centre back in then we'll keep slipping up like this and fail to make the top 10 yet alone top 6.

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A controversial first-half goal from Garry Thompson helped Scunthorpe take the points at Reading. The midfielder was flagged offside as he converted Jonathan Forte's cross from close range but referee Fred Graham allowed the goal to stand. Fifteen minutes later Gylfi Sigurdsson skipped past two Iron players before smashing in a 25-yard equaliser. But after the break 6ft 7in centre-half Rob Jones headed in a Michael O'Connor corner to earn the Iron the victory.
BBC Sport