MATCH REPORT: 2005/2006 Season

Reading: Naylor (18 mins, own goal), Doyle (47 mins).
Ipswich: -
Half Time: 1-0
Attendance: 17,581

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 Sheff Utd 13 33 +14
2 READING 13 30 +16
3 Luton 13 24 +6
Reading: Hahnemann, Makin, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Little (Oster 72), Gunnarsson, Harper, Convey (Hunt 81), Lita, Doyle (Kitson 64). Subs Not Used: Stack, Baradji.
Ipswich: Price, Sito, Wilnis, De Vos (Proudlock 45), Naylor, McEveley, Currie (Bowditch 83), Magilton, Horlock, Forster (Garvan 69), Parkin. Subs Not Used: Supple, Juan.
Reading: -
Ipswich: De Vos, Naylor, Wilnis, McEveley, Bowditch.
Referee: S Tanner (Somerset).

Despite the already amazing run, and despite the Sky TV cameras that usually manage to jinx the Royals, Reading carried on where they left off before the international break. Reading dominated this game and looked a class above Ipswich Town, who themselves were fancied for promotion before the season started. Describing this as a "comfortable" win doesn't go far enough to reveal Reading's superiority, and in all honesty the final score-line flattered the visitors who were lucky to escape without being humiliated. Reading kept up a determined whole team performance throughout the full ninety minutes and never eased off against an Ipswich side that simply couldn't cope with the pressure. We closed Ipswich down immediately - every time they got the ball - to ensure possession was nearly always with the Royals. Every player was willing to make that tackle, and then once we had hold of it Ipswich struggled to get it back. Reading were continually pushing forward to keep the game deep in the Ipswich half and the flowing passing game generated plenty of chances to put the game out of reach of Ipswich. We were excellent today.

Kitson returned from injury to make the bench leaving Doyle free to continue his incredible season to date up front. Right from the start Doyle was involved, and both Little and Convey were working hard to ensure there was plenty of supply. Reading went ahead on twenty minutes when Doyle crossed from the right and the Ipswich defender was forced to make contact to prevent the ball reaching Lita at the far post. Fortunately for Reading he only managed to steer the ball into his own net to put Reading a deserved goal up. Chances continued to come for Reading, while Marcus Hahnemann was seeing very little of the game. The second half had barely started when it was two for Reading. The second goal typified Reading's whole performance. Ipswich had the ball in their own half, Gunnarsson refused to give the visitors any space and was straight in to challenge and win the ball to supply Little. Little crossed from the right and Doyle rose to send a powerful header into the back of the net.

There were a whole stream of chances for Reading to go further ahead. Lita struck the post with a good effort and the ball dropped into the middle of the area where the scramble eventually saw Doyle hit the ball off the ground and onto the crossbar, as Ipswich clung on. Doyle was replaced by Kitson who returned from injury and looked immediately back to form. Kitson could have increased the lead with a couple of powerful efforts from the edge of the area - one was inches over the bar, while another looked to be heading into the bottom corner before edging just wide. Down the other end Hahnemann dropped the ball under pressure and the resulting shot flew into Sonko's head and clear. Nothing was getting past Sonko's head all afternoon as Sonko and Ingimarsson put a swift end to any chance of Ipswich getting back into the game. Nicky Forster was replaced after a frustrating return for him - he was continually offside and had a goal ruled out after an obvious hand-ball. An Ipswich goal wouldn't have been a fair reflection of the proceedings anyway. Reading were class today in all departments.

Following report by John Wells:
Such is the confidence running through the club at present, Coppell was able to take off his best player with over half an hour to go to save him for the midweek trip to Hull. In Kitson's absence Kevin Doyle has established himself as Reading's best forward. It was his superb cross which forced Naylor into conceding an own goal on eighteen minutes, and his composed finish just after half time which wrapped up the points for Reading. This was however, certainly not a one man show, and there were several players in close contention for Man of the Match. The Royals played with a confidence and style that truly reflects their current league position.

From the opening minutes Reading took control and completely outplayed their opponents. Doyle exposed the sluggish Town back four after three minutes when he dispossessed De Vos on the half way line and raced towards goal. He seemed to be taken down by an illegal challenge from the embarrassed centre back with only the 'keeper to beat. The inept referee was reluctant to give a foul, but his assistant was not. If it was a foul, and he did eventually give a free kick, it should have been a straight red. In the end it didn't matter. Reading were rampant, with Convey popping up in forward positions all over the field, and Harper, Lita, Little and Doyle pulling the Ipswich apart with their passing and movement. It was only a matter of time before the goal came. Doyle exploited the space where a left back might be usually found, to latch onto a fine pass from Makin and whip in a low cross. With Lita unmarked at the far post eagerly awaiting his chance, and the 'keeper stranded, Naylor's desperate lunge diverted the ball into the net.

Reading had other good openings. The two best chances fell to Lita. Unfortunately his goal scoring touch has deserted him recently. He got underneath a close range header and sent it well over the ball, and missed a good chance from a great Convey cross. For Town, Forster was looking the most likely source of a goal. He turned Ingamarsson once but when clear, he dragged his shot wide. Later he netted after a handball. I couldn't help feeling slightly smug every time he was caught offside. (At least five times by my reckoning during the game).

The second half started with a bang. Two minutes after the restart Little curled in a brilliant cross to the far post. Doyle was there waiting to nod home a superbly controlled and well placed header. That was probably the point where Ipswich knew it was all over. Royle fiddled around with several changes which served little purpose except Nicky Forster got his deserved 'thank you' ovation form the Reading fans. Coppell realised it was time to turn his thoughts to away trips to Hull and Stoke next week and took off some of his most potent attacking players. Doyle was replaced first by Kitson, followed by Oster for Little, and finally Hunt for Convey. Reading toyed with their beaten opponents. The most spectacular moments coming in quick succession when Doyle ran at the Town defence, lifted a great ball in to Lita who hammered the ball against the post and Doyle followed up with a venomous strike which rattled the cross bar. The pressure was relieved by a Town defender smothering the ball, using his hand or arm in the process. The referee flapped his arms like a chicken, which presumably is a new FIFA directive meaning - it is O.K. to handle the ball in the box, and play continued.

Parkin had a good chance near the end to pull a goal back, but he somehow headed over from close range. Reading relaxed too much and Ipswich might have scored again when Hahnemann was impeded and the ball fell to an Ipswich forward who must have been astounded to see the massive frame of Sonko launch himself in front of his goal bound shot and deflect the ball away with his head. It capped another superb performance from Sonko. Shorey almost rounded off his comeback with a goal when he struck a powerful shot which was deflected over with some difficulty by Price. Kitson also went close with a long range effort. It could have been much worse for Ipswich.

Points are always important, but so are good performances. This was a performance of a team capable of automatic promotion. With key players returning to full fitness things are looking very good indeed. There is a long way to go yet but, one thing you can be sure of is that Coppell will not be getting carried away with the current good run!


Very good, very very good. After the recent run of games where it was all hands to the pumps and defend like you lives depended on it, Reading strolled to an easy victory today against a very poor Ipswich side who will be probably happy they escaped with a 2-0 defeat and not four or five, it was that easy. No sooner had the players recovered from seven games in twenty one days when along comes three games in six days, and this was a vital win with yet again what looks like a tricky week with two away games. If we do get four points from Hull and Stoke, then we really do have to start believing and thinking this is our year, in saying that I'd probably settle for two away draws and two points but the way we are playing I think we can win both games. This Reading team really is starting to look the business and full credit must go to Coppell, the backroom staff and of course the players. Sonko typifies the current spirit, the man is quickly becoming a cult hero and his header off the line towards the end capped another great performance. Gunnarsson, what a player! The man has done so well since coming in for Sidwell who surely must be patient before he returns to the first team, no way can Gunny be dropped the way he is playing. Little and Convey also grow in confidence each game and Lita though still going down too easily maybe just needs a goal, I thought his workrate was much better today and he deserves credit, but the star striker is young Doyle. What a bloody find, what a bargain, this lad could go all the way and will prove instrumental in our destiny this season. It really is happy days at the moment, enjoy it while it lasts, we have to lose soon but let's hope it's not for a while yet. Keep going lads, keep playing as we are and keep believing. You never know! UUUURZZZZZZZZ
Nick Newbury

Six years ago to the day, I sat at the Madejski along with 7,700 others as we lost 2-0 at home to Wigan and slumped to 21st place in what is now League One. After coming down the previous season we looked to be heading the same way again. One more relegation after that and we'd be in the Conference. A promising young signing by the name of one N Forster was taken off injured midway through the game. Would we ever score again? Having spent the previous decade standing on cold terraces watching Sir Trevor Senior pitted against the likes of Bury, Oldham and Lincoln, I had to ask myself whether this was really any better. Towards the back end of that season, Fozzy came back. At the same time along came someone called Butler. And a bit later, someone called Cureton. Things seemed to be getting a bit better but surely it would the same old up-and-down for evermore. Massive potential, utterly unfulfilled. For 16 October 1999 read 16 October 2005. Wigan are fourth in the Premiership and the only team to have got anywhere near nicking a point off Chelsea. Nobody needs reminding how many Big Clubs are looking enviously up at Reading. The table never lies, they say, and nor do performances like this. Perhaps this season might be the one. Maybe, just maybe, dreams sometimes do come true...
Kris, Muswell Hill

A good all round performance against a fairly poor Ipswich side got RFC a deserved win. We played some very good stuff at times and probably, with a bit more luck/better finishing could have had more than the two we got. Individuals who deserve special praise I reckon were Sonko (solid in defence and got Marcus out of jail with his goal line clearance), Gunnarson (such a rock in midfield, Sidwell will struggle to displace him on current form), Little (been very good & consistent since the off) & Doyle (so hard working, direct & fully deserved his goal), but everyone did well & played their part in a good team showing. All I have say about our returning 'star' is "Same old Forster, always off-side". Bit harsh Forster disciples? Perhaps no-one could've profited from the lack of service he had today, but if you looked at the strikers we had (young, fresh, hungry) and Forster, even he must have seen he truly now is a force who has had his day.
Caversham Royal

Graeme Murty reminded us in a recent Programme that the team were capable of a lot more and on Sunday this was demonstrated to the fullest. I was delighted to see an air of confidence throughout the entire squad and what's more we have strength on the bench, let alone the anticipation of the return of Sidwell and Murty who both will have to work to regain places. For me Doyle was a real star and Steve Coppell was right to praise him above all. It was good to see Leroy Lita working harder and for once staying more on his feet than usual. There is a lot more to come from this lad and all he needs is a little more service in front of goal. The real test will come with the onbirth of the winter months and to continue to grind out away results, but as John Salako quite rightly retorted to the question on Sky to the effect that there was no reason why Reading cannot maintain their excellent start. For me we are now becoming a different class with confidence growing each week. Keep it up lads.
Terry, Isle of Wight.

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