READING 1 CARDIFF CITY 2 (Half Time: 1-2)
A.Smith (32 mins).
Cardiff City Scorers: Fortune-West (13 mins, 36 mins)
|Date: 8 September
Reading: Whitehead, Murty, Williams, Whitbread, Robinson, Igoe, Harper, Parkinson, A.Smith (Butler 56), Rougier (Henderson 71), Cureton. Subs not used: Viveash, Jones, Ashdown.
Cardiff City: Alexander, Weston, Prior, Gabbidon, Simpkins, Hamilton
(Maxwell 71), Kavanagh, Bonner, Brayson (Low 88), Fortune-West, Earnshaw
(Legg 54). Subs not used: Nugent, Hughes.
This was a very disappointing result against a side that's likely to be competing with us for the promotion places come the end of the season. It's the kind of defeat that could be costly when a small number of points seperate us later in the season - lets hope it doesn't mean something as bad as pushing us into the play-off positions. It was even more disappointing given the huge expectation with Reading's fantastic start to the season. Cardiff's two goals were the first scored against Reading all season long - and more importantly it was our first defeat of the season. Reading weren't actually that bad. We weren't that great either - but Cardiff seemed just that bit better than Reading throughout the game and deserved to take home the full three points.
It would be easy to blame the referee for never letting the game flow which seemed to hamper the Royals more than it did Cardiff. However the real reason for defeat was Cardiff's dangerous front line that caused Reading troubles all afternoon. Whitbread, Williams and Robinson have been solid up until now, but today they had real difficulty coping with a fast and powerful Cardiff attack. Williams had a poor game, and looked uncomfortable when defending and in possession of the ball - the number of mis-hit passes continued to add up throughout the afternoon. Robinson should also be disappointed - he all too often failed to cope with a very tame ex-Reading player - Paul Brayson. We might have done better if we'd been prepared to tackle quicker and harder. Perhaps the referee's willingness to book players made us a bit too cautious. Phil Parkinson was a casualty late in the game of tackling too hard - getting a straight red card after a late challenge that was followed with a full on bundle involving players from both sides.
Perhaps Reading under estimated Cardiff. It took us a long time to get going - we only started to look like the home side after we'd gone a goal behind after just thirteen minutes. We could have been a goal behind even earlier - but were saved by the linesman's flag which indicated offside after the ball from cross to the far post and headed firmly into the back of the net. The away fans behind the goal went mental for long after play had restarted from the offside position. Cardiff's pacey start had the Reading defence all at sea, and it wasn't much of a suprise to see City take the lead. Harper conceeded a free kick and picked up a booking - presumably for kicking the ball away - and the ball was moved right to the edge of the Reading box. The ball was pushed forward and the strike was on target. Whitehead made the save but didn't hold it and the rebound was stuck in the back of the net. 0-1.
Cardiff could then have increased the lead with Phil Whithead failing to look comfortable in the Reading goal and not holding the ball when he should have doen. However, the goal, and Cardiff's bright start, bought Reading to life. Reading appeared to be back in the game just after the half hour mark. The ball was played out from the middle of the pitch to Graeme Murty on the right wing. Murty, who had a very solid game and always looked like creating a chance when coming forward, took it forward and played it into the box for Jamie Cureton. Cureton did well and got the shot in, the keeper saved it but it spilled out to Alex Smith who was advancing into the centre of the box. Smith picked up the loose ball from the keeper and stuck it home. 1-1, and a well worked goal from the Royals.
At this point the confidence was back with the team and the fans and conversation was back to discussion of another Reading win. Cardiff, however certainly had other ideas, and Reading being level was a short experience. Cardiff went straight on the attack causing Reading to conceed a whole string of corners. We were looking very slow and shakey at the back - we clearly weren't coping. Following a solid spell of Cardiff pressure the ball was in the back of the Reading net again after a corner from the right created the goal. 1-2. Cardiff could have extended their lead during the first half - a powerful shot from well outside the box hitting the post with Phil Whithead perhaps just managing to get a hand to it. Jamie Cureton could have grabbed another for the Royals after the ball was played into the box and Rougier couldn't convert it and prodded it to Cureton - Cureton got to it but the ball hit the crossbar rather than the back of the net.
Just after the break Cardiff were lucky to still have eleven men on the pitch after Whitbread was hacked down just outside the Reading area. Thankfully Whitbread was able to continue - but it seemed far worse than Parkinson's challenge later in the game that resulting in him receiving his marching orders. Reading were already beaten when Parkinson was eventually sent off after a bundle involving players from both sides, but his dismissal with about ten minutes left summed up Reading's afternoon.
Reading did have a few second half chances including a long range Sammy Igoe
effort that hit the post. However, as time went on it was clear that Reading
were never going to take anything from the game. Henderson came off the bench
and caused problems in the Cardiff defence - but they were the first problems
caused for most of the half. Everytime Reading game forward Cardiff could handle
it, and despite great runs from Igoe and Murty we didn't get enough balls into
the box, and Martin Butler who had come off the bench hardly got a shooting
Following report by John Wells
This result said more about City's strengths than any deficiencies that Reading may have. A club backed by Sam Hamman and a physically strong team coached by Alan Cork is a force to be reckoned with in any division. Today we were watching the new 'Wimbledon'. They may not be the most talented side in this division but I suspect they may prove to be the hardest to beat.
From the start Cardiff were sharp in the tackle and closed players down quickly all over the pitch preventing Reading from settling on the ball and taking control of midfield. Although the six bookings they picked up might suggest otherwise they were well organised and disciplined. Although Reading were not intimidated by City's physical approach, they certainly became frustrated, lost their composure and did not play as well as they have so for this season. Cardiff took the lead when White head blocked a fiercely driven free-kick and Fortune-West knocked the rebound into the net. It has to be said that they were probably unlucky not to have taken the lead earlier when they had a goal disallowed for an offence that was not obvious to most people in the ground.
Minutes later Cureton headed the ball onto the bar with keeper beaten. We saw briefly what Reading were capable of play when good movement and passing produced some threatening crosses, but Rougher does not match up to the threat Forster or Butler in the middle and the City defence were comfortably stifling any danger in the box. Reading were beginning to gain control in midfield and a move involving Marty lead to a Cureton strike across the goal parried by Alexander and Smith reacted quickly to level the scores.
Cardiff, roared on by a large following of fans, responded positively and created several moments of panic in the Royals defence before their dominance in the air produced their second goal. A ball to the far post was nodded back across the goal for Fortune-West to head home. When opponents win two successive headers in your own six yard box it is time to look a bit closer at how to defend form corners and crosses. I seem to remember the defence looking similarly vulnerable in the air against Huddersfield. The second half was even more disappointing than the first. Cardiff were mainly content to contain Reading and did so with relative ease. A good strike from Igoe which hit the inside of the post and bounced across the goal was the closest Reading came to an equaliser.
Pardew attempted to play them at their own game by putting Henderson up front and taking off Rougher and replacing Smith with Butler but that didn't really look like working either. The challenge which lead to Parkinson's sending off was probably due to the growing frustration felt by the whole team. The referee's decision was probably influenced by reaction of the Wimbledon players. It was certainly no worse than the late challenge on Whitbread earlier.
Reading are going to have to learn how to deal with these tactics this season
and I hope that Pardew will continue develop the style that has produced good
performances and results this season. There is always pressure to change things
when you are behind but I don't think Reading are equipped to match Cardiff
in their style of play and I would have preferred to see Smith stay on and Butler
leading the attack rather that the very raw Henderson. Cardiff stuck to their
style and it worked. Maybe Reading needed to be more patient and stick to theirs.
The way to beat teams like Wimbledon to put them under pressure with good passing
and movement - they enjoy a good scrap - just ask Leo Fortune-West!
Post Match Opinions
Well the honeymoon is over. The dreaded word Cardiff spoils all the
Cardiff's game plan was obviously to spoil and not let Reading get
into any rhythm, except for the first half when Reading did play some
creative football, Cardiff succeeded in this and stuck to their task well.
Igo and Murty displayed the vision and flair that Reading seem to lack
in other areas and Murty's ball into the box which lead to Readings equaliser
was pure class. Brilliant Murty keep up the simple football which is so
effective coming forward. Cardiff were big and physical and they did intimidate
Reading, we struggled to find any answer to this despite Igo and Smiths
attempts to play football. As Cardiff got to grips with the match, their
football was effective and in the first half penetrating, leading to the
two goals, tactically they imposed their game on us and we were lucky
not to have conceded more! I did not hear Pardew after the match, but
I bet he mentioned the referee. Its a pity when refs are having a bad
match, that the 4th official can't sub them. To say the ref was poor is
an understatement and he was supported by his linesman who seem completely
blind to much of what went on, they must have been Welsh, from the bias
of some of their decisions. Could some body let me know if football is
now a non contact sport, or do I need my eyes tested! What were some of
those bookings and fouls for? Certainly the ref did not help Reading by
continually blowing his whistle and breaking up the flow of the game.
Anyway it is a disappointment that Reading lacked the quality and composure
to dispatch Cardiff back to Wales with a lesson in football which for
brief moments of the match we threatened to do. Reading still did not
provide many openings for Cureton and relied on Rougie to hold the ball
up far too much, without giving him many options. We still need better
movement in possession and that must come from better work on the training
ground. Whilst I applaud pretty football in the middle of the pitch and
I would much rather see that then hoofing, it must lead to an opening
for our strikers and we were poor in putting the final ball through or
across to create an opening and result in goal. To finish, Robinson is
a weak link and a liability, in his current form he is no better than
the lad we let go to Swindon, sorry his name escapes me already. With
regard to Henderson, if he can improve his first touch he might be dangerous,
he did make a difference when he came on, just because of his presence
and obvious commitment. Its down to the management and staff to pick the
players up and use Tuesdays match to bounce back. West Ham wont be as
physical and will give Reading more space and time on the ball even if
they will be a greater threat coming forward, confidence could be restored!
I'm still undecided on what rivalled all the piles of horse shit
outside the East stand after the game . The bitterly disappointing display
by the team, the grossly embarrassing half time entertainment laid on
by the group of Beavers or the absolute complete tosspot w**ker of a referee.
What the bloody hell went on yesterday?
I haven't got much to add...only to echo the comments of the others...
We underestimated Cardiff, we were poor in defence (especially Williams),
Cureton and Rougier did not link up and looked isolated, Cardiff wanted
it more, and finally the referee was a disgrace.... Cardiff are no doubt
one of the better teams in this division...we have to beat that sort of
team if we are to go straight up....end of story!
Ten points from five games. If we continue to do this then we will
be promoted. We should not forget that, but we must learn from yesterday.
What the result hinged on yesterday was that we were out thought and Cardiff
were able to dictate how the game was played. We did not respond and that
was the worrying bit. In the long term the good teams have midfield players
who are above to dominate games for a significant period of time. We have
outstanding strikers at this level, a reasonable defence which has improved
this year, but lack a midfield general. Today we saw one in the name of
Graham Kavanagh. People will look at our inability to cope with Fortune-West
and that is right, but it was Cavanagh who ran the game. When we have
a problem we retreat. We defend too deeply and leave our front men isolated.
I cannot agree with the view that Rougier had a poor game. In the first
half he was easily our best player, with no support. What we failed to
do was to adapt to the opposition.
That performance dragged me back to reality - more like some of the
displays towards the end of last season...hoofing clearances...losing
possession...nervous defending and a tendency to pass backwards when we
had the ball in some good positions. Biggest culprit is Harper...too often
he misplaced his passes or passed backwards and ruined some promising
attacking moves and that only added to the hair-tearing frustration of
the worst, most pedantic referee I have seen in a long while! Another
frustration was the quality of the corners. I mean if you are going to
pass right into the opposition keeper's hands why not vary the delivery
next time, instead of doing the same thing again and again? Still there
were good points of course, Murty has really impressed this season, him
and Igoe have been superb and it is no coincidence that they set up our
best chances...they are direct and run at the opposition goal (not back
towards Whitehead) which is great to watch. But Cardiff were better on
the day and their fans outsung the very quiet home crowd too, is this
a result of reserved seating now? It would be interesting to hear other
peoples's comments on this. I'm sure the Club claimed that the Supporters
voted in favour of reserved seating, is this true? [No it's completely
untrue! Graham] I'm sure this result is a minor blip on another great
season for the Royals...I know it was an off day but overall there are
some promising signs, a better balance to the team for one so let's hope
the lads can bounce back on Tuesday on what should be a great night against
I think the best way to describe yesterday's game is "a bad day at
the office!" Cardiff will upset many teams in this division, and will
definitely be in the shake-up come May next year. They came to the Madjeski
with a game plan that they will employ at 90% of their away fixtures this
year and will probably rarely be beaten. Every time we come up against
a strong, well-organised, physical team we struggle. Who remembers the
games last year against Peterborough, Cambridge & Colchester? The tactic
of packing the midfield, leaving a huge thug up front, and giving us no
time on the ball, seems to catch us out every time. I think that Cardiff
actually narrowly deserved the points yesterday, in a game that was completely
spoilt by an appalling referee who was ably assisted by two equally incompetent
linesman. The officials were dreadful, and as bad as any witnessed by
me in 30 years of following the Royals. This shouldn't be used as an excuse,
as they were of no benefit to either side, except perhaps in breaking
up any rhythm that we occasionally showed, and helped Cardiff's spoiling
tactics. Can anyone explain how there were 9 bookings and a sending-off
in a game that really only had two tackles that I can remember?
It is a shame that despite spending large amounts of money, Alan Cork
needed to employ such negative tactics against us in order to win this
game. All credit to Cardiff for exploiting our weaknesses and perhaps
we should take it as a compliment that they felt that this was the only
way to take three points away from the Madejski Stadium. I suppose their
fans don't expect the sort of entertaining play that we do. All I will
say about the ref is that from what I could see of Parky's challenge it
did not even compare with the appalling foul on Whitbread. He was quite
simply never in control of the match. Hopefully, some positive changes
will come from this result. Rougier is clearly not a centre forward and
every time he was given the opportunity to take the ball wide he did so.
However, I was slightly surprised that Henderson was brought on for Rougier,
and there was no-one to play the ball in from the left due to Smith having
already left the pitch. Anyway, lets be optimistic, we are still in a
strong position and we have yet to field what is arguably our strongest
We lost it in midfield. Kavanagh proved why he is the best midfield
player in this division - he switched between playing deep and in the
`hole', always seemed to find space, pulled all the strings, won loads
of ball and hit the woodwork twice from set plays; he really is a class
player. Parky and Harper who up to now had looked so solid in the centre
just couldn't get hold of him or the game. We also have to take some of
the blame - same as Bristol City and Milwall last year, once we go behind
with a big away support the East Stand goes silent, the South Stand gets
noisier and noisier and all of a sudden its turned into an away game.
We gotta make more noise! Only consolation for me was that Paul Brayson
was Cardiff's worst player, just as shite as I remembered him - how long
do you give a player to `fulfill his potential'! Roll on the Hammers and
if, not when, we go behind lets turn the volume up!
New season, same old crap. Was nothing learned from last season or
the one before? A well organised Cardiff team deserved to win. Reading's
lack of vision and tactical awareness was very apparent. Lofted high balls
for Cureton to control or chase do not work against giant centre halves.
Balls to Rougier's neck area at speed give little chance for decent football.
The ball passed along the floor and we're a better team. Whitehead's lack
of communication is a real concern, he may well be a fine shot stopper
but unless he talks to the defense and takes control we will continue
to struggle at the back. The ref had a poor game but that is no excuse,
we should beat teams like this week in week out with the quality we have,
otherwise the foreseeable future is grim. Please prove me wrong READING
Couldn't agree more with the comments already posted about Saturday's
game. It was spoilt from the start by probably the worst refereeing performance
I have ever seen and that includes Sunday League Pub Football. What made
it even worse was the assistant linesmen both of whom should be prosecuted
for aiding and abbeting! The bookings of Adrian Williams and Fortune-West
for nothing more than aerial challenges does suggest that the game must
have moved on to a non-contact sport (pity no-one has told the players,
managers,fans etc.). It certainly affected Adie's game and if I had been
Pardew I would have substituted him with Viveash at half time. How was
the Parky challenge any worse than the assault on Whitbread? Isn't Pugh
a Welsh name?
I got there on the new bus service from Newbury - stress free, magic!
From low in row B of the East Stand I can't claim to have had a good view
of the tactics being employed, so these are my impressions. From where
I sat, John Wells' opening remarks are spot on.
I left the Madejski very dissapointed on saturday.
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