MATCH REPORT: 2005/2006 Season

10 September 2005: LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Doyle (68 mins).
Coventry: Page (87 mins).
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 19,262

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 Sheff Utd 7 18 +9
2 READING 7 14 +10
3 Watford 7 14 +7
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Makin, Little (Oster 88), Harper, Gunnarsson, Convey, Lita (Obinna 89), Doyle. Subs Not Used: Hunt, Stack, Baradji.
Coventry: Bywater, Duffy (Whing 59), Page, Shaw, Hall, Flood (Morrell 66), Jorgensen (Wood 77), Doyle, McSheffrey, Adebola, Scowcroft. Subs Not Used: Ince, Heath.
Reading: -
Coventry: Jorgensen, Page, Shaw, Doyle.
Referee: A Hall (W Midlands).

Reading held on to second place in the Championship table with an entertaining 1-1 draw at Coventry's new Ricoh Arena this afternoon. In an end to end fixture, both sides produced chances in front of goal with both keepers having impressive games. The draw was probably the fair result despite Reading having a first half penalty saved and Coventry securing their point with a late equaliser. Reading were forced to make a number of changes due to injury with Makin, Gunnarsson, and Doyle all making starts. All three of those players had excellent games, although it was the home side that made the more comfortable start.

Reading soon settled down and were playing the better football and carved out a few decent chances. Reading's confidence on the ball frustrated Coventry, who were forced to fouling and picking up a series of yellow cards. From a good move down the right Little crossed and the resulting header in the middle sailed over the crossbar when it might have found the target. Doyle was very active upfront and worked himself into a couple of good positions, one needed the keeper to react quickly to force him wide, and another where he might have done better with the final effort. Down the other end Hahnemann made a couple of good saves, one saving point blank from a close range header.

The breakthrough looked to have come when Coventry conceeded a penalty just before half time. Lita's spot-kick was reasonable but a good height for the keeper to dive to his right to make the save. The second half continued in the same pattern with Reading playing some excellent football on the break as both sides shared possession. The Ricoh Arena has a very similar feel to the Madejski but was lacking in leg room in comparison, and forgetting where you were caused leg injuries for the away fans when Doyle put Reading in the lead mid-way through the second half. The Coventry keeper saved the first effort well as Doyle burst into the area on the right, but he couldn't hold the ball as Doyle blasted home the rebound to make it 1-0 to the Royals.

Reading may have been guilty of attempting to hold onto the lead, as Coventry were the better side over the closing stages. Hahnemann kept Reading's lead intact with a couple of great saves to push the ball over, and the home side had a penalty appeal turned down. With just a few minutes on the clock the, probably deserved, goal came to make it 1-1. The ball was swung in from a corner and Hanemann couldn't prevent the header hitting the net to share the points.


This was a good team performance but I still came away disappointed that we had not picked up all three points. The first half was fairly even but I thought that we looked the better side. The only feature of our game that was missing was that ruthless touch in front of goal. If anything it was that that proved costly. It is easy to point to the penalty miss - it was a good save but at the right height for a keeper, but we had other chances as well. I thought that the people who came in to the team did well. Doyle worked hard, occasionally needed a bit more composure but took his goal well and thoroughly deserved it. Gunnarsson had a good game as did his midfield partner Harper who has had a very good start to the season. Whilst Makin lacks Shorey's class coming forward he had a very solid game defensively and so credit to those three. Sonko continues to shine and there must be some concern about Murty's form. The second half was ours and after we scored I expected us to go on and get another. Initially there was little response from Coventry and had the referee not continued to make some strange decisions I don't know if they would have rallied as they did. As it was they had a corner and there was a great save from Marcus at the nearpost. The second one was played to the far post and Page netted and the points were shared. This was a good game - a surprisingly open game and another good team effort. Nice ground perhaps one day they will have some money for a clock!
Ken C

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