MATCH REPORT: 2005/2006 Season

Reading: Convey (6 mins, 25 mins), Harper (38 mins), Kitson (43 mins, pen), Sidwell (79 mins).
Millwall: -
Half Time: 4-0
Attendance: 14,225

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 READING 4 9 +9
2 Sheff Utd 4 9 +4
3 Derby 4 8 +3
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Little (Oster, 80 mins), Harper, Sidwell, Convey (Hunt, 57 mins), Kitson (Doyle, 61 mins), Lita. Subs not used: Stack, Makin.
Millwall: Marshall, Lawrence (Robinson, 15 mins), Phillips, Dunne, Vincent, Igoe, Morris, May, Simpson (Serioux, 45 mins), Livermore, Hayles (Elliott, 23 mins). Subs not used: Hutchison, Fangueiro.
Reading: Sidwell.
Millwall: Morris, Robinson, Phillips. Sent Off: Marshall (23 mins).
Referee: Steve Tanner (Somerset).

Reading made it three wins in a row, and went top of the Championship table, with a 5-0 victory over Millwall at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon. In a bizarre fixture, Reading were easy winners after going in 4-0 up at half-time after a eventful opening forty-five minutes. The visitors were much the better side in the opening exchanges with Marcus Hahnemann in excellent form to tip over a couple of shots to keep Reading level. Reading looked to be struggling until Bobby Convey, fresh from international duty, scored an excellent goal - his first ever for the Royals - against the run of play. Leroy Lita flicked the ball on and Convey went on a determined run from deep inside the Reading half, beating two players, before calmly putting the ball past the advancing keeper and into the far corner of the net. It was an impressive goal from Convey who is already having an excellent season, and it was better when he scored his second not long after.

The first goal saw Reading come to life, but the turning point was when the Millwall keeper was sent off for diving to save Lita's shot when well outside his area. It would have been a second goal for Reading and the referee had no choice but to send the goalkeeper on his way. Millwall appeared to have no substitute keeper and, after some shuffling around, Convey took the resulting free kick and stuck it into the side of the net past a confused replacement. With Reading two goals up, the opposition down to ten men and without a real goalkeeper, it was all one way traffic with Reading already having the game won. With seven minutes of the half left, Convey played in a free-kick from the right which was partially cleared for Harper to score with a long range header into the top corner. Just before half time, Igoe, on his return to Reading, put his arm on the ball inside the area to conceed a penalty. Convey looked keen to secure his hat-trick but Kitson stepped up and put in a low penalty that was nearly saved, to make it 4-0 at half time.

The second half was a non-event, with Millwall keen to keep the score respectable and Reading happy with the margin of victory. Their third goalkeeper of the game, a half time substitute, made a couple of good saves but Reading had eased off the pressure. Lita struck a good shot that was pushed over the crossbar, and Doyle came off the bench and caused some problems for the Millwall defence. With just over ten minutes left it was 5-0 when a Little corner from the Reading right was headed in by Sidwell. This was a big win that continues Reading's good start to the new season.

Following report by Ali Costelloe:
Perhaps irrationally, I wasn’t expecting such a convincing performance, but as soon as the first goal went in, everybody in the stadium knew what the result would be – the only thing left to be decided was the number of goals. Millwall started brightly, with Hahnemann stopping Livermore’s 20-yard volley, and also having a few corners to deal with. From one of these corners, the ball fell to Bobby Convey, who quite superbly managed to manoeuvre himself between three Millwall players, on the way to an 80 yard dribble and finish into the Millwall goal, under Marshall’s body, on approximately 7 minutes, for his first ever goal in Reading colours. Millwall didn’t roll over immediately though. Ben May tested Hahnemann from another corner, with a header from about 10 yards. From another corner, Matt Lawrence came under a heavy tackle, and forced Colin Lee to make changes to his tam, subbing Lawrence off for Paul Robinson (Not the one we want to replace James in goal for England though). At this point I feel the game really swayed in Reading’s direction.

Bobby Convey was given a fantastic opportunity to grab a second goal for himself and his team, but his 30 yard free kick hit the inside of the post, and bounced across the goal line – unfortunately there were no Reading players to tap it in. The real turning point of the game came in the 23rd minute though. Marshall made a poor clearance from a back pass, under a challenge from James Harper – This left him 30 yards out, with Leroy Lita receiving the ball about 50 yards out. Lita attempted to blast in the ball, and Marshall did well to get his hands to it. As I know, you know, and undoubtedly Marshall knew too, he wasn’t allowed to do that outside the box, and after a brief consultation with the linesman, the referee gave the inevitable red card.

In Millwall’s wisdom, Colin Lee failed to have a substitute ‘keeper on the bench, so little Mark Phillips ended up in goal, with Barry Hayles being replaced with Marvin Elliott, the defender. Predictably, his first task was to pick the ball out from the back of the net, after Bobby Convey scored his second goal of the game. Phillips was so obviously not a goalkeeper, and we could all tell that as he let the ball squirm under himself from a firm, but not unstoppable shot from Little. From the resultant corner, Leroy Lita headed wide, across the face of the goal. From another corner, Lita repeated his trick.

With Reading pressing Millwall’s 10 men, more goals were likely to come – Reading won a free kick on the wing, but Ingimarsson’s header was cleared from underneath him. Unfortunately for Millwall, It fell to James Harper, who from 15 yards out, headed into the top corner, for Reading’s third. Minutes later, a Millwall player committed the crime of handball inside the box, and Dave Kitson slotted home the resultant penalty, despite the best efforts of Mark Phillips, who got a hand to it, and the Millwall fans, who all congregated at the front of the stand to goad Dave Kitson. Thankfully however, he didn’t let their attempts distract him, and he ran to the Reading fans to celebrate his second goal this season. I’m sure I’m not the only one in the ground hoping that Convey would be allowed to take the penalty in an attempt for his hattrick, but as Kitson is the club’s allocated penalty taker, it was only fair.

During the half time break, Colin Lee replaced Phillips in goal with the flamboyant Adrian Serioux, with some other fellow coming off. I don’t know who though, because I was eating a burger. Serioux made a pretty decent fist of being a goalkeeper, making some tremendous saves, although Reading did resort to lots of lame long range shooting, the vast majority of which went over the bar. Convey was replaced after an hour with Stephen Hunt who made little impact. Reading did very little in this half, but Steve Sidwell did add a fifth, with 11 minutes remaining. From a corner, Sidwell stooped to head home, and scored his first this season, and Reading’s 11th! Deep into injury time, Serioux dived to save Leroy Lita’s rasping, rising drive, and from the resultant corner, Millwall cleared, in time with the referee’s final whistle, which was the signal to send home about 13,800 Reading fans home happy.

MOTM – Bobby Convey. Two goals, hit the inside of the post, and give Millwall on hell of a lot of problems down the right.
Well played – Adrian Serioux. He dealt with almost everything Reading hurled at him, and looked very strong in the air. Millwall were a lot tighter at the back with him between the sticks, and I feel his tendencies, as a natural leader will have aided their cause.
Well Played – Graeme Murty – at RB, he was untouchable. No Millwall player got inside him, and he had the vision to get the ball forwards at appropriate times. In fact, the whole Reading team looked strong, and I wouldn’t say that any of them had a bad game.
Well Played – Millwall fans – At 5-0 down, they were still singing and banging their seats, even if it did prompt the chant “Have you come from London Zoo”
Moan of the match – Why sit back at 4-0 up? With Lita and Kitson up front, why not make use of the numerical advantage to push forwards and add to our already impressive goal difference. In fact, its not much of a moan, I’ve never seen Reading win 5-0 before!

Following report by John Wells:
It is still very early days yet, but Reading, as result of this remarkable encounter with Millwall are at the top of the league. No one would argue the sending off of Millwall 'keeper Marshall mid way through the first half was the turning point in the game. However Reading took their chances well and had the game wrapped up at 4 - 0 by half time. The second half was inevitably less eventful as a dogged and re-organised Millwall toiled manfully to avoid further humiliation. Sidwell gave the scoreline a more impressive look with a late header.

The opening fifteen minutes were dominated by the visitors who forced several corners. During that period, Bobby Convey scored a superb goal on the break. Having received the ball in his own half he hurdled a couple of wild challenges on the halfway line and raced off towards goal. For a moment he seemed to looking for a passing option but eventually drew the 'keeper and calmly slipped the ball past Marshall as he came put to close him down. May nearly levelled the score for Millwall with a powerful close range header which Hahnemann saved magnificently. Millwall continued to threaten and Hahnemann had to save well to prevent an equaliser. Coveuy came close with a free kick which struck the inside of the post and bounced across the face of the goal.

Mid way through the half the game changed dramatically. Harper pursued an under hit back pass and Marshall's hasty clearance fell to Lita some forty yards out. The Reading striker immediately fired a shot at the unguarded goal and Marshall blocked the shot. Unfortunately for him he handled the ball just outside the penalty area and was shown a red card for his trouble. Unbelievably, not only did Millwall not have a 'keeper on the bench, but they were not even sure about who should fill the vacancy! It was an embarrassing shambles for a professional club, and they paid for it immediately. Convey made it 2 - 0 stroking the resulting free kick past Phillips.

Phillips was looking very shaky in new role which must have been demoralising for Millwall and encouraging for Reading. Lita headed over from close range before they added two more goals before the interval. Harper notched a looping header over a crowded goalmouth, and Kitson converted a penalty which squirmed under Phillip's body.

It was almost inevitable that the second half would be less eventful. Serioux replaced Phillips and did a far better job in goal. It was merely a matter of damage limitation for Millwall, and for Reading an opportunity to improve their goal difference. Kitson was reluctantly replaced by Doyle and Hunt came on for the jet-lagged Convey. It could have been more, but I'm sure most Reading fans were happy with a 5 - 0 win and three points.


Nine points from the first four games was what we needed when we saw the fixture list. What we did not anticipate was the goal feast that has brought it about. Once the first goal went in yesterday, we anticipated a victory but the manner of it was a surprise. Ironically Milwall started brightly and had the better of the early exchanges as we looked rather lethargic and failed to keep the ball. Convey's wonder goal where I think he started in his own half set the tone. He was outstanding again. Desperately unlucky to see his free kick come back off the inside of the post, he scored a second and worked his socks off. He really has been a revelation so far this season. The incident that saw Milwall's hopes disappear came with the sending off of their keeper for handball outside the area. By doing so he stopped a goal for Lita but condemned his team to defeat. Milwall had already lost one player who had been stretchered off and they clearly had no plan to deal with loosing their keeper unless he was the one on the stretcher! What we then did was to kill off the opposition and what was so good was the names of the goal scorers. Apart from Kitson's penalty, it was the midfield players who scored and one for the record books as Harper scored with his head. I thought that Harper had a good game today. The fact that we did not double the tally in the second half may have been a disappointment to some but the frontmen were not really firing and it was no surprise that Kitson was taken off - he was having one of his rather casual days. We will have much tougher tests than this but it has been a good start following the carelessness against Plymouth. We have come back well since then, Convey has been outstanding, the defence looks solid though perhaps a bit vulnerable in the air and when Kitson feels like it we are good up front with Lita looking full of potential. We need to go on and next Saturday will be a tougher test than many will have thought at the start of the season.
Ken C

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