MATCH REPORT: 2006/2007 Season

14 January 2007: FA PREMIER LEAGUE
Reading: Lescott (28 mins, own goal).
Everton: Johnson (81 mins).
Half Time: 0-1
Attendance: 34,722

Pos Team P Pts GD
8 Tottenham 23 32 -3
9 READING 23 31 0
10 Man City 23 30 -6
Reading: Hahnemann, De la Cruz, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Little, Sidwell, Harper, Hunt, Doyle (Long 38), Lita. Subs Not Used: Federici, Oster, Sodje, Bikey.
Everton: Howard, Neville, Yobo, Lescott, Naysmith, Van der Meyde (Beattie 71), Carsley, Cahill, Osman, McFadden (Anichebe 46), Johnson. Subs Not Used: Wright, Davies, Stubbs.
Reading: Sonko, Hunt.
Everton: Cahill, Anichebe.
Ref: M Riley (W Yorkshire).
Reading were within ten minutes of taking the full three points from Everton after frustrating the home side all afternoon. In a good away showing, Reading led for most of the game after taking the lead just before the half hour mark and held it until Johnson headed a late eqauliser to force a share of the points. With Murty out, De la Cruz stepped into the full back position and had probably his best ever game in a Reading shirt, in a solid defensive performance. De la Cruz also looked good coming forward as Reading created chances of their own despite pressure from Everton. It was the home side that had got off to the better start and looked more likely until Reading took the lead on twenty-eight minutes. Doyle was taken down outside the area and Shorey's free kick into the area saw the goalmouth crowded with players. As the ball came in, Stephen Hunt emerged unmarked to run behind the defence and meet the ball with his head. The ball bounced on the keepers' leg on the line and came back out, but found the net via a defender to put Reading a goal up.

The goal was quickly over shadowed for Reading as Kevin Doyle was forced to limp off the pitch after going down when chasing the ball. Doyle's suspected hamstring injury will be confirmed after tests - but he seems likely to be out for at least the rest of Janaury and perhaps beyond. Shane Long came off the bench and looked lively as the game developed into an end to end affair after a quiet opening half. There had been very few chances in the first half but the game opened up after the break with Hahnemann quickly needing to make a good save to hold a powerful long range shot. Johnson shot just wide of the far post as Everton stepped up the pressure. Reading looked dangerous on the break but Everton looked more likely to pull level. With nine minutes left on the clock a high ball in the area saw Hahnemann come way off his line when he should have stayed put. The mistake left Johnson free to head into an empty net to make it 1-1.

A great point that we'd all have settled for before the game , but could easily have been a fantastic three points had not Hahnemann yet again cocked up with a classic howler .What on earth was he doing flapping like a wounded swan in the six yard box and yet again letting midget Andy Johnson score with the softest of headers . Hahnemann needs to have a very hard look at himself as he's turning into our weakest link , long term he's simply not good enough . I thought we battled really well and though rode our luck at time , with a bit more composure in their box could have come away with all the points . The whole game for us is overshadowed by what looks like a bad injury to Doyal . We've been incredibly lucky with injuries and still we have a bit of luck in being able to sign a replacement striker as the transfer window is still open . Nugent or Zamora would both be good replacements . Still like I said a great point , but if only that keeper of ours had.........
Nick Newbury

Agreed: a fine away point. Now I don't like to criticise, and I think that one of the refreshing things about this season as a whole (and contributors' opinions to this website in particular) has been the "team" mentality and the acceptance that some players are stronger than others, without any specific finger-pointing going on. However, I do feel quite strongly that we seem to have an achilles heel here in the way that Hahnemann deals with crosses outside of the 6-yard box. Johnson's goal was the second time it happened during this game alone; it happened for Drogba's first goal at Stamford Bridge; and it's happened on various other occasions (that I can't specifically call to mind) since the Boro demolition job. Marcus, you're a fine keeper, you've been (and will continue to be) an integral part of this club's recent success, but you do need to work on this aspect of your game. Please.
Kris, Muswell Hill

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