HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 0 READING 1 (Half Time: 0-0)
Forster (56 mins).
Huddersfield Scorers: -
12 January 2002
Reading: Hahnemann, Shorey, Mackie, Williams, Hughes, Gamble, Igoe (Jones 83), Parkinson, Salako, Forster, Rougier (Henderson 89). Subs not used: Ashdown, Robinson, Cureton.
Huddersfield Town: Margetson, Heary, Gray, Moses, Evans, Hay, Holland (Wijnhard 67), Irons (Armstrong 81), Schofield, Booth, Knight. Subs not used: Senior, Clarke, Macari.
Bookings: Forster (Reading).
We are top of the league! We may not be there for long with Stoke playing again tomorrow but who cares! This was a moment to savour. Today the Royals, roared on by a huge contingent of travelling fans, completely dominated a team on the fringe of the play off positions on their own ground. It was the home side's first defeat in almost three months.
I was able to work out during the warm up that Murty was not available (apparently he has 'flu) but had to wait for the kick off to find out the team because the public address system was completely inaudible at the away fans end of the stadium. When the teams lined up I was feeling slightly apprehensive. Hughes was moved to right back, and the midfield, with the exception of Parky, looked a bit lightweight. But this is a squad full of confidence and desire and it seems that any eleven from our depleted numbers will go out and give a good account of themselves.
I can still only marvel at the transformation of Rougier. He was outstanding again today. His partnership with Forster is at present a nightmare for opposing defences. Rougier pressurised the Town defence constantly. He is won the ball in the air, received long balls, held the ball when required and laid off good simple passes. He took players on and created chances. All this made life much easier for our back four and midfield because the game was mainly played in their opponents half.
Forster got the goal and took it well. He ran onto a poor defensive header and lifted the ball over the keeper. Two minutes later he wriggled past two Town defenders and was felled in the box by a third. He had broken through with the ball but went down well past the last man. It was a clear penalty but in keeping with his performance throughout the afternoon gave the benefit of the doubt to the home side. Having made the wrong decision he went for broke and booked an astonished Forster! The decision probably went against Fozzy because he stayed on his feet too long! He certainly had nothing to gain by going down because he was completely clear of the defence. In the end it didn't matter - it only added to the satisfaction of victory.
The first half was completely one-sided with Forster and Parkinson failing to convert good chances. Town were restricted to a couple of half chances with Reading enjoying most of the possession because they were quicker to the ball and passed the ball better. Hughes hit his first pass into touch when he had plenty of time and space and then settled down to play a very solid game defensively. It is great to see him improving and learn that he can provide cover for Murty when required. I was also pleased to see Gamble start although he took a while to settle. He has tremendous potential as a creative midfield player. The second half was again mainly Reading with a couple of late scares. Mackie and Williams did their stuff well again today which was no mean feat. Andy Booth is a very good player - particularly in the air.
Driving away from the ground I picked up the radio match reports. The BBC match reporter was luke warm about Reading's performance, criticising them for not killing the game off and implied that stronger opposition would not have let the points slip. Great! Let everyone think that. As far as I'm concerned the team that creates the most chances usually wins, and as long as we continue to play as we did today we will be in Division One next season. I thought the Huddersfield fan on the local radio phone-in programme picked up the main point. "Reading were first to every ball in midfield and were winning most of the 50-50s"
" We are going up!" sang the jubilant Royals fans after the final whistle and the team came over and joined in with the singing. The fans are beginning to believe it and most important of all I sense the players are too. I'm not going to tempt fate by making any predictions. I want it to happen too much to do that!
Report by John Wells
Post Match Opinions
Its a long way to Huddersfield from Worthing, but when you pick up
three points, the traffic behaves, and Brighton lose 3-0 at Wigan, the
journey home is a total pleasure. Good all round performance today. Rougier
is playing the best I've seen him, Hahneman is powerful, self confident,
and a great influence, and Hughes, while not looking as good as Murts
going forward, is comfortable at right back. Centre backs look solid,
and midfield, whilst a bit deep sometimes, looked creative. Fozzy's goal
well taken, and Shorey getting even better. How Huddersfield missed their
open goal with seconds left, I really dont know. I dont really care either.
Needed a long sleep after a long day, but with Stoke slipping up at Northampton,
I might just go and rub a few Brighton and Hove noses in it at the pub
tonight. Bring on Blackpool!
Staying in York with relatives over the week-end, so had a great opportunity
to see Reading away... and hopefully go top of the league. Reading were
clearly the better team, and while Rougier and Foster worked non-stop
I think the midfield deserves a mention, especially Parkinson and Gamble.
The work rate and commitment was terrrific from those players. There was
one bloke in the away end giving Sammy Igoe loads of stick in the first
half, and I've got to say the right hand side of team (i.e Igoe and Hughes),
looked suspect first half, and if we were to concede then that was where
it would happen. In any case Igoe seemed to have bucked his ideas up second
half. Huddersfield didn't pose a threat, and Nicky got a goal and should
have had a penalty decision! Great away support, a quiet home bunch, 3
points, and as I write this Stoke have drawn... what more can you say.
We've just got to make sure our home form is as outstanding as our away
form... My man of the match: Mr Gamble... play him every week I say.
Fantastic travelling support matched by an immense second half onslaught
by the R's. Huddersfield had to buckle under the pressure eventually.
Very impressed with Forster, Rougier and Salako in the 2nd half - but
some concern that it required an atrocious backward header fro Andy Booth
to set up our goal. We had many opportunities to score nad really should
have won by 2 or 3! Hahnemann looks safe as houses and gathered crosses
well and inspires confidence in the defence. Sadly the ref was poor and
the booking of Forster will surely be overturned (fortunately we did not
need another goal (except to let me win my 2-0 correct score bet!)). A
great day and hopefully we can continue the form of 2002, 4 wins and no
goals conceeded. Finally any chance of some new chants? Come on you Rs
Great performance, and a well deserved win for Reading. Having now
watched us at both Wrexham and Hudds in the last couple of weeks I have
to start believing that this is a Reading side that can comfortably gain
promotion automatically. One slight and it is slight criticism is that
we didn't kill of the opposition, which left a few anxious moment towards
the end of the game. Rougier looks good and you cant fault the man for
effort and skill, however is he playing in the right position, the guy
is not a natural goal scorer. would he not be better playing in another
position, maybe wide of midfield? Which begs the question why is Curo
on the bench? Is it attitude? The two chances that went begging in the
first half would have been tucked away if they had fallen to Jamie. However
I'm not the manager and I'm sure that the management team has a bit of
a clue as to what's happening, but if I was manager for the day I would
have bought curo on for the last twenty minutes as I am sure that our
breaks into the box would have gained more reward had a natural finisher
Another tremendous performance by The Royals today. The whole team
are so up for it at present and look like a team that knows they can beat
anybody. I'm convinced that Pardew is using a tactic - (a step in the
right direction for AP) He is getting the players to give their absolute
all from the kick off. This in turn gets the fans going and a great atmosphere
was created at The Mcalpine (Only in the away end I might add).
The last time I wrote an opinion was after we were outclassed buy
Brentford and although I was not one of the many who wanted Pardew's head,
I did question whether he had what it takes to turn things around. Well,
3 months on a couple of decent loan signings a rejuvenated Rougier, Hughes
and Forster a solid back 4 and I'm more than happy to eat humble pie,
well done Pards and the boys at last we do look genuine promotion candidates
keep it up.
Couldn't make the game but listened to the excellent coverage on Radio
Berkshire. Sounded a really impressive performance backed up by a report
on the Huddersfield web site which was very complimentary to the Royals.What
a weekend of result , we really are back in the driving seat now and our
destiny lies totally in our hands. Full credit to Pardew the players and
the quiet modest Kevin Dillon who I believe may be one of the reasons
for our recent transformation. Keep it going lads... please!
It was a frustrating afternoon listening to the radio until the deadlock
was broken in the 56th minute by Forster. Up until then it sounded as
if Reading were keeping up the neat accurate football and approach play
of late and had the game by the scruff of the neck without being able
to force home the advantage. The commentary was impressive and compulsive
listening, but there was that nagging doubt that the break through would
not come in spite of so much domination as in the Rangers match. Despite
the odd shaky defensive moment when Huddersfield appeared to go close
against the run of play, it sounded like another match where Reading deserved
to win by more than the single goal. A great result however, even if the
second half seemed to drag on after the Royals went 1-0 up, I almost died
when knight according to the commentator beat six Reading players only
to hit the ball straight at Hanamann just before the final whistle. Listening
for the last half an hour would have been easier if the Royals had made
the game safe with a second goal, it will be interesting to see the Forster
booking which most seem to have called a penalty including Fozzy in the
post match interview. Well despite the fact that goals still seem hard
to come by for Reading at the moment the run continues and Reading seem
to be as the manager has said a completely different side. Encouragingly
they have achieved the recent success playing some creative football proliferated
with accurate neat passing which is enabling us to keep possession and
dominate opponents, easing the pressure on defence and controlling the
game in midfield. There is a definite change about Reading which can only
be put down to the new partnership between Pardew and Dillion and they
must also be growing in confidence. It maybe a little premature to get
too excited, but the Royals for the first time seem to be playing entertaining
football consistently and it can only be a matter of time before we give
someone a good thrashing, as our forwards must be itching to increase
the goal tally. The next big hurdle will be Wigan and although Blackpool
would not seem to be a threat, as we have already beaten them once this
season, we must not get complacent. It was good that Gamble got his chance
today in this important fixture and the experience can only give him confidence,
from which hopefully he will grow in stature and become a more regular
first team choice. Everything seems to be going Pardews way and JM must
feel that he has done the right thing by sticking by his man. Pardew will
be a better manager for experiencing the trials and tribulations earlier
this season and the players I feel have given their own vote of confidence
in the management by their recent performance on the field. Reading seem
to be a team now playing with self belief and without pressure and most
importantly you feel that there is a new team spirit which has bonded
them into a more close knit unit, which most opponents will find hard
to break down and open up. Lets hope this continues to grow, great result
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