Match Report: 2009/2010 Season

17 April 2010: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Pearce (3 mins), Sigurdsson (25 mins, pen; 76 mins), McAnuff (29 mins), Kebe (44 mins), Long (59 mins).
Peterborough: -
Half Time: 4-0
Attendance: 15,982

Pos Team P Pts GD
8 Middlesbro 44 61 +10
9 READING 43 59 +5
10 Sheff Utd 44 59 +2
Reading: Federici, Griffin, Bertrand, Pearce, Khizanishvili (Gunnarsson, 69), McAnuff (Henry, 62) , Tabb (Karacan, 77), Howard, Kebe, Sigurdsson, Long. Subs not used: Rasiak, Hamer, Church, Robson-Kanu.
Peterborough: Lewis, Morgan, Zakuani ( Simpson, 30) , Griffiths, Little ( Green, 85) , Bennett, Geohaghan (Mills, 16) , Frecklington, Lee, Rowe, Mackail-Smith. Subs not used: McKeown, Wright, Appiah, McCrae.
Reading: Sigurdsson
Peterborough: -
Ref: C Boyeson (E. Yorkshire)
Reading took full advantage of an opportunity to flaunt their attacking prowess against already relegated and demoralised Peterborough. The sun shone and players and fans were relaxed and in high sprits. Pearce opened the scoring with a header as early as the third minute and from that point it was a procession of goals. near misses and extravagant passing and movement from the Royals. Pre-match talk of United players eager to stake their claim for a contract in front of their new manager were unfounded. Most of them played as if they were hoping to be elsewhere next season.

Following Pearce's opener 'keeper Lewis made good saves from Sigurdsson and McAnuff in the first ten minutes as Reading streamed forward. United manager Gary Johnson was quick to realise McAnuff and Kebe were going to rip his team apart and made an early tactical substitution putting on second forward presumably in the hope it would occupy the Royals back four with more defensive duties. It did not work. If fact it was Bertrand's run into the right side of the United box which gave Sigurdsson the opportunity to double the lead from the penalty spot after twenty five minutes. Sigurdsson had already been harshly booked for diving when most referee's would have been considering giving a penalty but there was no doubt about the foul on Bertrand. On twenty-nine minutes Sigurdsson's superb long pass from deep in his own half sent McAnuff racing away down the left. His run ended when he cut inside and hit an exquisitely powerful and accurate shot inside the far post. The flood gates were now open. Kebe's pace allowed him the streak clear of a very square and flat-footed United back four but Lewis came out and snuffed out the chance with some very good goalkeeping. A minute before half time Kebe, in similar situation demonstrated what he should have done before, making a bee line for the box and leaving Lewis no chance with an early shot inside the far post. It was party time with Brian Mc Dermott complying with requests for him to wave acknowledgement of their admiration. It would be wrong to single players out becuase everyone is playing so well but the quality and timing of Kebe's passing and crossing has been one of the most significant improvements under the new regime. Ironically, because of his ability, it was probably something quite simple to put right.

There was little sign of Reading easing off in the second half although United might have scored soon after the break when Reading were caught out at the back. United had unmarked players in the box when Frecklington went past Federici but he chose to shoot tamely into the side-netting. The East Stand fans were quick to point out that it was an embarrassing missed opportunity. More chances began to arrive and the fifth goal was taken well by Shane Long when he broke through and held off a challenge before firing low past Lewis who was now looking more than a little upset of the shambles in front of him. Long deserved his goal for his hard work and the number of balls he won in the air. He should have added a second with fifteen minutes left when Griffin surged forward to present him with the ball almost on the goal line. With an empty net to aim at from two yards he somehow managed to hit the bar! Sigurdsson helped to alleviate the embarrassment by finishing the job for him. A new Madejski record of seven goals was now in sight and with more ruthless finishing it would have been achieved. Two great strikes from Sigurdsson and Kebe were ruled out for offside and Lewis remained alert to the end so the Royals had to settle for six. Brian McDermott spoke about the spirit of the club returning. I agree, and was pleased to see so many fans staying on after the final whistle again to applaud their team off the pitch. Players feel good when they have played well but they are also motivated by the acknowledgement of their efforts by the fans.

Talk of next season will fill the media now and every Reading fan will be hoping the club will be able to keep the current squad together. It is not completely in the hands of the club especially when it comes to loan players but surely most of them will fancy a shot at promotion next season which is a realistic proposition under a current manager. Maybe also some might look at what happened to a few of our former stars as they moved on to sit on the bench of wealthier clubs, or even, as looks likely with Stephen Hunt, return to the Championship. Being part of a good team can give players an inflated view of their own ability.
John Wells

What a lovely day it has been. 6-0 flattered a frankly awful Peterborough side, it's going to take Gary Johnson a while to get the returns he was hired to bring. On another day it could easily have been 10, Kebe could have had 4, Long should have scored a second instead producing the miss of the season out of any league, Sig was amazing, Tabb was everywhere, Howard had a solid and busy game, and the back four were simply rock-solid. As for McAnuff, well, looked like he couldn't be bothered at times on Tuesday night, but today he was amazing, really deserved his goal. One of the best things about todays game was seeing all the players come off the pitch with beaming smiles to a man,

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Reading manager Brian McDermott:
"Some of the football we played from the back was terrific and it was at a tempo. We kept it up in the second half because the boys were enjoying the game and trying to keep a clean sheet. We created a lot of chances. Their keeper pulled off a couple of good saves. It's tough for a team like that when they are already relegated."
Peterborough manager Gary Johnson:
"They scored six and could have had ten. We got well and truly trounced and the lads are down about it. They are working hard in training but when it comes to games they seem to have lost their Championship ability. We weren't good enough at either end of the pitch. It was a poor performance all round."

BBC Sport