MATCH REPORT: 2004/2005 Season

Reading: Kitson (13 mins, 27 mins, 57 mins).
West Ham: Sheringham (82 mins).
Half Time: 2-0
Attendance: 22,268

Pos Team P Pts GD
5 Preston 37 60 +3
6 READING 37 57 +9
7 West Ham 36 54 +4
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Hughes, Sidwell, Newman (Brooker 82), Little (Harper 81), Kitson, Morgan (Owusu 85). Subs Not Used: Young, Keown.
West Ham: Bywater, Newton, Powell, Mackay, Mullins (Ward 87), Noble, Lomas, Fletcher (Chadwick 45), Etherington, Zamora (Sheringham 62), Harewood. Subs Not Used: Walker, Reo-Coker.
Reading: Newman
West Ham: Fletcher
Referee: P Joslin (Nottinghamshire).

Reading fans have had to wait a long time for a convincing home win, but this was worth waiting for. It may have given many Royals fans particular satisfaction to put one over their former manager but for me that was the least significant aspect of this fine performance. Dave Kitson once again demonstrated how simple scoring can be if you take up good positions and keep your head when the chances arrive. His hat trick was the end product of a solid all round team performance. West Ham were simply outplayed in every department and never really looked like threatening Reading's superiority.

As so often this season the Royals steamed into their opponents from the kick-off, but today, after Newman's 30 yard dipping volley had hit he post, they made the pressure tell. Morgan won a free kick wide on the left and Shorey's delivery to the far post was nodded nonchalantly down inside the post for the opening goal. Their tails were up and clearly there was to be no intention of sitting back. Little ripped the Hammers defence to shreds with a run into the box leaving a trail of lunging defenders behind him. His cross caused problems but was scrambled away for a corner. We did not have wait long for the second, another header at the far post from Kitson. This time Hughes flicked on a corner at the near post to provide the chance. Morgan might have added a third when Kitson played him in with an incisive through ball. Unfortunately he failed to lift he ball over the onrushing Bywater. A great cross whipped in by Hughes only just eluded Sidwell's lunge as Reading finished the half with a flurry of corners roared on by a Madejski crowd that finally had something to cheer about.

The Hammers fans tried to lift their team after the restart, and with Chadwick replacing Fletcher their team responded with a more positive display. Reading were prepared to trade punches and gave as good as they got, and a bit more. Sidwell missed a sitter as Reading carved open the Hammers defence before Morgan wriggled into scoring position only to have his shot blocked. Kitson was alert to the situation and at the second attempt spun sharply to drive the ball into the net with the defence all over the place. The away fans began to indulge in a bit of humour but when Reading began stroking the ball around to cries of 'Olay' it was more than they could take and they began leaving in droves. It was a joy to behold! Back on the pitch Sheringham slid the ball into Reading's net for a consolation. Morgan, who had a superb first half with his positive running and link up play, became over indulgent and wasted several good opportunities to really rub it in by hanging on to the ball too long or, as on one notable occasion falling over it.

Today everything went right for Reading. There was less hoofing the long high ball forward and more sharp penetrative passing and running from midfield. Kitson dropped off the defence and linked up well with midfield. Sidwell made more forward runs that usual, and Hughes played like a man possessed. The crowd found its voice. The team regained their confidence. Suddenly the play offs looks to be a possibility again.
Report by John Wells


What a difference a goal makes! Not necessarily the first but probably the second. We started well today, but we have done that before. What was different today was that we capitalised on it and you could see the players wanting the ball and more importantly, moving into position to receive it. We played well as a team and individually. Morgan was very lively up front - I don't think anyone knew what he was going to do - even him. The key was Kitson's finishing. Two headers showed the weakness of the opposition in the middle, and his third resulted from sheer determination. The manager must be tearing his hair out but we now need to take this on and win at Rotherham. Suddenly everything looks good again. Let's have another hattrick hero on Tuesday!
Ken C

This was the most committed performance seen at home for some time and Reading ran out deserved winners. The whole team worked hard, battled well and fought for everything with Hughes, Little and three-goal Kitson standing out for me. The image of Pardew stood solemnly amidst the chants of "Pardew Out!" and "You're going to get the sack" is one that will continue to bring a smile to my face on those cold wintry nights for years to come... Now that, inevitably, it took this fixture to brings many of the things that have been lacking since the turn of the year;- commitment, drive, the whole team giving 100%, and GOALS, you can only hope these newly returned qualities remain with the players for the rest of the season. The good work done in turning over Pardew needs to continue at Rotherham on Tuesday, Brighton the week after, and then on into the remaining fixtures that don't involve an ex-manager. COME ON...
Caversham Royal

Friday night I had a dream. In the dream it was the year 2010 and Nick Newbury and myself were in the pub celebrating Readingís first treble, having won the Championís League, the FA Cup and coming top in the Premiership. We started reminiscing about the turning point in the 2004/5 season when Reading, having gone 11 straight games without a win, beat West Ham 3-1, with Dave Kitson (in 2010, Sir David Kitson) scoring a hat-trick, and then went on to win 6 of the remaining 9 games and beating Preston in the play-off finals on penalties. After that, we never looked back. This evening, Iím still dreaming Ė what a performance! We can still do it!
Crowthorne Seb.

Shame we can't play West Ham every week till the rest of the season!
Brilliant result and performance that does give us hope. Just shows what we can do when really motivated and up for a game . Kitson brilliant and all the players should take a massive boost in confidence from the game and take that to Rotherham where we'll have a far tougher game than yesterday. Still think Forster shouldn't go but I think it's a done deal. We need every single player if we are to cling on to play off hopes and dreams for the remainder of the season. I don't know Crowthorne Seb, seems a loyal Royal but I suggest he sees a doctor asap, preferably a mental health one! UURRZZ
Nick Newbury

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