Match Report: 2009/2010 Season

Reading: Pearce (31 mins), Sigurdsson (80, pen).
Crystal Palace: Clyne (7 mins), Ambrose (45 mins), Moses (45 mins, 88 mins)
Half Time: 1-3
Attendance: 16,629

Pos Team P Pts GD
18 Scunthorpe 19 21 -14
19 READING 20 20 -10
20 Coventry 19 19 -8
Reading: Federici, Ingimarsson, Bertrand (Sigurdsson, 68), Pearce, McAnuff, Tabb, Kebe, Cisse, Matejovsky, Gunnarsson (Robson-Kanu, 46), Rasiak. Subs not used: Mills, O'Dea, Hamer, Karacan, Cummings.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Hill, Butterfield, Fonte, Ertl, Clyne, Ambrose (N'Diaye, 81), Derry, Danns, Moses (Sears, 89), Andrew (Lee, 65). Subs not used: Carle, Smith, Davis, Scannell.
Reading: -
Crystal Palace: Butterfield, Clyne, Moses.
Ref: K Friend (Leicestershire)
The outcome of this game was decided in stoppage time at the end of the first half when Federici was beaten twice in the space of two minutes from outside the box. Reading had started brightly only to fall behind to a soft goal when full back Clyne was allowed to run onto a loose ball just past the half way line and beat Federici at his near post with a speculative long range effort. Reading reacted well and good work by Tabb created panic in the Palace defence. A couple of hopeful appeals for a penalty were correctly turned down by referee Friend. Palace under the guidance of the abrasive Neil Warnock were prepared to do anything to break up play. Speroni wasted time at goal kicks and throughout the team Palace kicked. tripped, and shoved Reading players off the ball. The booking of both full backs were fully justified. Reading conceded almost as many free kicks in the second half but unlike their cynical opponents they were the consequence of frustration and impatience. A total of forty fouls were committed during the match - almost one every two minutes.

Brendan Rogers talked of the inexperience in the squad after the game, which certainly has been a factor in some of the poor results this season, but there is also the issue of an inexperienced manager too. Not that I would swap him for Warnock! The selection once again confounded many and I have say I was concerned by the lack of pace throughout the side when the team was announced, and ultimately that was a key factor in this defeat. Cisse was worth his place but why Gunnasson was preferred to Sigurdsson is a mystery. He has been substuted twice recently after playing well and scoring crucial goals. Poor goalkeeping by Federici was the main reason for Reading's downfall. He was beaten three times from long range and really should kept out at least two the goals, The crucial third goal from Moses was admittedly a good strike but he really should have been closed down on the edge of the box.

Reading almost equalised immediately after Palace had scored the opening goal but Rasiak miscued from close range after good work by Tabb. Tabb was looking good going forward but he was getting roasted by Moses every time Palace broke down the left. He needed someone to have someone backing him up but amazingly that tactical adjustment was not made and in the end it cost Reading a fourth goal. As the Palace fans abused McAnuff at a corner he delivered a perfect ball for Pearce to head home powerfully for a deserved equaliser. All the hard work was undone in that dreadful spell in added time. Reading came out fighting in the second half with Robson - Kanu introduced to provide some pace up front to help the lonely and rather static Rasiak and provide Gunarsson with the opportunity to go and have a lie down. Speroni saved from McAnuff and Ingimarsson and hit the bar in the opening minutes. Palace soaked up the early pressure and then the game looked like petering out until Rasiak was hauled down and Sigurdsson scored confidently from the spot after the referee had done him best to unnerve him a with a lengthy delay. For the first time the crowd was roused in anticipation of a comeback but it never really looked likely. The trigger to head to the car park came on eighty - eight minutes when the Reading defence parted like the Red Sea and Moses took full advantage, darting into the box and curling a superb shot past Federici.
John Wells


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Reading manager Brendan Rodgers:
"We got what we deserved from the game which was nothing. We started poorly and then got worse. We conceded twice in first-half stoppage time which is incredible really and that totally threw us. If we are going to win games here then we need to be better than that. Victor Moses was outstanding all night and he is a Premier League talent."