Match Report: 2009/2010 Season

Reading: -
Newcastle: Ameobi (38, 61, 75 (pen))
Half Time: 1-0
Attendance: 36,944

Pos Team P Pts GD
22 Watford 2 1 -2
23 READING 2 1 -3
24 Swansea 2 0 -4
Reading: Federici, Rosenior, Cisse, Pearce, Bertrand, Tabb (Harper, 65), Karacan, Davies, Kebe (Noel Hunt, 65), Church (Robson-Kanu, 54), Long Subs not used: Hamer, Mills, Gunnarsson, Sigurdsson.
Newcastle: Harper, Ryan Taylor, Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Nolan, Barton (LuaLua, 82), Smith (Geremi, 78), Gutierrez, Ameobi (Xisco, 77), Carroll Subs not used: Krul, Kadar, Ranger, Donaldson.
Reading: -
Newcastle: Barton, Carroll, Smith.
Ref: A Taylor.
There was little in this performance to suggest that Reading will be challenging for promotion this season. Although the Royals were not intimidated by a thuggish United midfield and continued pass the ball well at times, they were rarely able to seriously threaten their opponent’s goal. Reading were allegedly playing a 4-3-3 formation which looked more like 4-1-4-1 with Karacan working effectively in front of the back four and Long struggling with a lack of support up front on his own. United had done their homework and prevented Reading playing through midfield by closing them down in their own half as soon as Federici had possession.

United looked far from comfortable in the first half and Reading looked likely to create openings but the final ball was not good enough. Smith was lucky not to be sent off for two bookable challenges in succession. The referee’ s courage deserted him on the second occasion and he got away with a severe lecture instead of the second yellow it merited. Carroll and Ameobi are quite a handful due their physical presence but Cisse and Pearce contained them well most of the time. The best chance of the half came when Nolan played a ball inside Rosenior and sent Gutierrez clear. With only Federici to beat he lost his nerve and decided not the convert the chance and the opportunity was wasted. Reading’s best effort cane when Pearce tested Harper with a header. The turning point in the game came near half time when a misdirected header from Ameobi bounced fortuitously over Federici.

The second half followed a similar pattern with Reading trying to pass their way through the United midfield and defence without success. United scored a crucial second goal when the defence collectively went to sleep and Nolan retrieved a lost cause resulting in a cross to the far post when Ameobi scored with a more convincing header. Brendan Rodgers has clearly worked hard on set pieces but it was disappointing to see United clear good crosses unchallenged from the danger area. Hunt and Kanu-Robson replaced Kebe and Church respectively and both players had a chance to open Reading’s account for the season. Hunt shot just wide from a difficult angle and Kanu – Robson made an awful mess of a good chance losing his balance and skewing his shot wide when given clear sight of goal. Ameobi’s hat trick came courtesy of a harsh refereeing decision when the ball dropped onto Long’s arm who looked surprised that the ball had hit his arm even more surprised to see he had conceded a penalty.

United only looked really comfortable and knocked the ball around when they were two up. Reading, as they have been since January, are still struggling to score goals in spite of all the changes.
John Wells


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Coincidentally, Brendan Rodgers, Reading's suave young manager, was mentored by Robson's great protege, José Mourinho.He acknowledged his young and lightweight – although creditably sweet passing – side were outclassed before positively gushing about Newcastle."At this level, they've got terrific top class players," he said. "They've got a real chance of going straight back up. Even if more players leave, they're still going to be strong."
The Guardian