MATCH REPORT: 2005/2006 Season

Reading: Kitson (12 mins).
Sheffield United: Dyer (9 mins).
Half Time: 1-1
Attendance: 25,011

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 READING 34 83 +53
2 Sheff Utd 34 71 +27
3 Leeds 33 62 +20
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Sidwell, Little, Harper, Convey, Doyle, Kitson. Subs Not Used: Stack, Hunt, Oster, Makin, Long.
Sheffield United: Kenny, Bromby (Kozluk 24), Short (Flitcroft 88), Morgan, Armstrong, Montgomery, Jagielka, Ifill, Tonge, Akinbiyi, Dyer (Kabba 69). Subs Not Used: Shipperley, Gillespie.
Reading: -
Sheffield United: -
Referee: M Halsey (Lancashire)

Reading took another big step towards confirming promotion to the Premiership by securing a point at second placed Sheffield United. The draw saw Reading retain their twelve point margin over their nearest rivals, and confirm their status as the team set to collect the Championship trophy at the end of the season. This was an excellent result for the Royals, but it could have been even better for Reading if Dave Kitson had converted his last minute penalty. Right at the death Reading might have snatched the win after Bobby Convey was taken down in the area by the United keeper, but he saved the spot-kick to ensure the points were shared. The draw was probably the right outcome after both sides might have grabbed the decisive second goal.

Both of the games goals came early on, and the goalscoring was completed with twelve minutes on the clock. United took the lead when a clever pass saw Dyer score from twelve yards out. Three minutes later, and Reading were back level when Convey did well down the wing to cross for Kitson in the middle. Kitson, starting in place of Leroy Lita who was ruled out after an incident in a Bristol nightclub on Monday, had a straight forward finish from close range to make it 1-1. The home side then enjoyed the better of the play but struggled to convert their chances. Marcus Hahnemann was once again in fine form in the Reading goal with a string of good saves to keep the scores level. United will feel they should have moved ahead after a couple of nervous moments for the Reading defence before hacking the ball clear.

After the break Steve Sidwell had a good header from close range on target that was well saved as Reading looked to move ahead. A frantic second half saw the Reading defence busier but remaining strong, although they had some poor finishing to thank from the home side who hit a couple straight at Hahnemann and one clear over the bar when they should have hit the target. The last minute penalty could have seen Reading practically confirm the title, but we were spared a Warnock explosion by the keeper's impressive save.


What a game and what a cracking result, although Kitson should have stolen the three points with the penalty in the 93rd bloody minute! Why are we so crap at taking penalties? As Kits stepped up I thought "here we go, this is the championship title" and the ghost of Archie Lovell and Wembley flashed through my mind and sure enough he missed, but never mind this was a brilliant result and the main thing was we did not lose and retain our twelve point gap at the top. This was our toughest test so far and so it should be away from home to the second placed club. Sheff Utd played very well and once again the magnificent Marcus Hahnemann performed wonders in goal denying the Blades with a string of wonder saves. Harper and Sidwell worked their socks off again and nothing typified the team spirit as much as Murty who took a right whack in the second half but just got up played the knock off and carried on working his bollocks off for the team, salute him, a great captain. The Reading team performance was one of hard graft , guts and resilience in a very intimidating atmosphere and one I was so proud to be a part off .To be fair a draw was the right result and we go on undefeated. Our support was magnificent and I with many other loyal royals will no doubt have to make it up to our long suffering other halves for going on Feb 14th! I've no doubt at all we will be crowned champions at the end of the season and promotion I think will be secured with just two more wins, but looking at the fixtures coining up we'll have to fight like last night for every single point, but we will do it because we are that good this season. Like I've said before, we should all enjoy every precious moment of this season because I doubt most of us will never experience it again for a very very long time if ever. Keep going lads so proud to be a loyal Royal... you mighty RRRRRZZZZZ
Nick Newbury

I have to agree that a draw was the right result. But what a game! The resilience and tenacity of this team takes some beating. Most sides would have let their heads drop, going 1-0 down to nearly-the-best team in the division so early on. That we fought back as we did is testimony to not just to the starting eleven but to the whole side, manager, chairman, back office staff, fans, and everyone connected with Reading Football Club. Long may it continue.
Kris, Muswell Hill

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