Match Report: 2011/2012 Season

14 February 2012: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Hunt (61 mins).
Derby: -.
Half Time: 0-0.

Attendance: 22,567

Pos Team P Pts GD
5 Birmingham 30 51 +20
6 READING 30 51 +11
7 Hull 30 50 +6
Reading: A Federici, I Harte, M Connolly, K Gorkss, A Pearce, M Leigertwood, J Kebe, J Karacan, H Robson-Kanu (J Mills, 82), N Hunt, J Roberts.
Subs not used: J Tabb, S Church, A Le Fondre, M Andersen.
Derby: F Fielding, J Shackell, G Roberts, S Barker, C Bryson (S Davies, 46), P Green, J Hendrick, T Carroll (J Bailey, 78), N Tyson, J Ward, C Ball (T Robinson, 55).
Subs not used: J Buxton, A Legzdins.
Reading: Connolly, Leigertwood.
Derby: Roberts, Barker.
Ref: Eltringham.

That was a good win with an excellent team performance. First-half we were never really troubled without creating too much ourselves. Kebe was booked early on and while it may have warranted a yellow card the lack of consistency shown throughout the match from the ref was shocking. It took endless hacks on Roberts, Hunt and Kebe before the ref started showing some consistency and balls. Second-half we were far more positive and upped the tempo and looked like the team who wanted it more. Kebe's delivery for Hunt was excellent and it was a nice header to put us ahead. From there we got stronger as the game went on and Derby offered very little going forward. The workrate of the front two set the tone for the night with both chasing every lost cause and really putting it about. It may have only been 1-0 but it was far more dominant than the scoreline may suggest.
Nigel Clough showed himself up to be a total prat with every contentious decision he was rushing to the edge of his technical area moaning. Connolly looked assured and more than capable of retaining his place. Robson-Kanu was good in glimpses and plenty of positives to take forward while Gorkss and Pearce look to me like the best CB pairing in the league.

The evening didn't bode well when we pitched up at the away sales window to buy a smidgen under 100-worth of tickets only to be told "cash sales only". Not fcuking impressed. Really, who carries a ton plus of cash around with them on an average day? Having trooped halfway around the stadium to the cashpoint to gain the necessary folding stuff, the general consensus at HT was that it was the biggest waste of money ever spent...ever. Recent memory can be a distortion and all that, but i'm not sure I've ever seen a worse 45 minutes of football. My missus commented that it was dire, but it didn't live up to that high assessment in my opinion.
Second half was much better from our side of the fence, but Derby were so woeful it almost defies description. The comedy moment came as Shackell was announced as their MOM just as he played a throw-in straight back out of play. A well-taken goal by Hunty and some decent defending for 95% of the match - the last five minutes got a little bit harum-scarum - led to an ultimately comfortable three points. Roll on Friday...we'll be third by the end of the night and three points off the top...
3 veesinarow

Poor poor fist half which really took the shine off what i was hoping was both sides coming out of the traps to give the willing crowd of away supporters the feast we deserve. I thought it would be a close match where we would just shade it and by christ was i right. It was abject misery stood there and attempting to watch. We controlled the best part of that match but Derby were by far the worst of the two teams out on show tonight. It was pure grind football, errors plenty and thankfully a very lack-lustre side in Derby. The first half misery continued at half time with the grot burger.
Second half we started to take the game more to the Derby defence who on occasion we ran rings around, dancing on the edge of the box and looking for the breakthrough. Kebe did look off form but the sharp cross in for the goal redeemed him. For once he never tried to take on the two defenders and put a potentially ineffective cross in. Hunt though was reminiscent of his terrier brother fighting for the ball, some of the team passing was peachy, controlled but pure possession football.
Derby had come to the game to maul us into submission and it almost worked out for them tactically. We broke them down with pure meat and veg football and walked out with a doggy bag of three points. Happy with the result but often not with the display put on.

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Noel Hunt grabbed the only goal of a dour match at Pride Park to propel Reading into the play-off spots. The Irishman's header from Jimmy Kebe's cross was his first goal since scoring against Ipswich on 26 November. Derby's Theo Robinson and Paul Green tried their luck from long range but neither came close to dragging the hosts back to parity. The three points carry the Royals up to sixth, while Derby end a run of three wins at home. After a dire first half, Hunt fired two sighters from just outside the box after the break. The striker found the net just after the hour as referee Geoff Eltringham waved away Derby forward Jamie Ward's appeals for a foul on the edge of the visitors' box, and a swift counter ended with Hunt powering a header past Frank Fielding. Derby never looked likely to summon up an equaliser and toiled hard without creating any real chances to level.

Reading boss Brian McDermott:
"It was efficient and we needed a little bit of Jimmy Kebe to make the goal for us. Derby worked really hard on him tonight but we felt he has always got that bit of quality to make the difference and he's produced a good cross and Noel's got in a good header. Eight wins from 10 speaks for itself. We normally leave it until end of March or April so we are happy enough, this is the best position we have been in in the last couple of years."

BBC Sport