MATCH REPORT: 2008/2009 Season

Reading: Bikey (18 mins), Doyle (76 mins).
Doncaster: Van Nieuwstadt (74 mins).
Half Time: 1-0
Attendance: 17,294

Pos Team P Pts GD
2 Wolves 12 25 +9
3 READING 12 23 +15
4 Bristol C 12 19 +4
Reading: Hahnemann, Rosenior, Ingimarsson, Bikey, Armstrong, Karacan (Cisse 70), Gunnarsson (Harper 70), Kebe, Stephen Hunt, Noel Hunt (Long 83), Doyle. Subs Not Used: Andersen, Kelly.
Doncaster: Sullivan, Chambers (Roberts 57), Hird, Van Nieuwstadt, O'Connor, Coppinger, Stock, Wilson, Woods, Guy (Price 79), Hayter (Byfield 79). Subs Not Used: Elliott, Heffernan.
Reading: Doyle.
Doncaster: Chambers, Stock.
Ref: Darren Deadman.
After a run of convincing home victories, Reading struggled to overcome a disciplined and well organised Rovers side. The Royals were clearly not at their best, but full credit must be given to the visitors for a fine display of passing football which, fortunately for Reading, lacked penetration where it mattered. Although Rovers enjoyed more possession over the ninety minutes Reading were more direct and created far better scoring opportunities. Essentially Reading played as if they expected to win but as the game reached its climax Rovers were beginning to believe they might snatch a draw.

Bikey opened the scoring beating Sullivan at the near post with a well placed header from a good free kick on the right from Steven Hunt.In recent games an early lead has heralded a display of attacking dominance from the Royals but Rovers remained unruffled by the early setback and continued to defend in a disciplined manner. They conceded few free kicks and neatly passed their way out of trouble on numerous occasions.

Reading should have killed the game off early in the second half. Kebe won the ball on the left and the ball flew across the edge of the six yard box. Noel Hunt reacted well but scooped over from very close range when a goal seemed certain. On sixty-five minutes the ball broke kindly for Doyle to race clear. With only Sullivan to beat he correctly opted to take the ball round the 'keeper but his touch let him down and the ball ran away from him and the chance was lost. Rovers looked to have a reasonable claim for a penalty turned down by referee Deadman. With twenty minutes left Cisse and Harper replaced Karacan and Gunnarsson both of whom were probably weary from chasing the ball as Rovers stroked the ball around in midfield for long periods of the game. A couple of minutes later Hahnemann tipped over free kick after the referee had ludicrously penalised Reading for winning the ball cleanly just outside the box. The equaliser was no surprise when it came. For the second game running confusion between Hahnemann and his defence lead to the goal. What should have been a routine catch from a cross was headed away by Bikey.Hahnemann either called too late or not at all, or perhaps Bikey ignored the call, but the ball was immediately turned back across goal and was thumped home by Van Nieustadt.

Reading's response was almost instant. Harper sent over a good ball from a free kick and Doyle placed his header wide of Sullivan, whipped off his shirt and was reworded by a yellow card. The final minutes were played out with Reading carelessly giving the ball away as Rovers went looking for another equaliser. There were far too many stray passes from Reading this evening. Steven Hunt and Kebe were particularly guilty of squandering possession needlessly. As for Rovers, they may be near the bottom of the league but they look far too good to go down. It was good to see Leroy Lita doing his bit for the cause with a hat trick against Wolves!
John Wells


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Reading failed to produce another goalfest at the Madejski Stadium last night but did enough, just, to see off the threat of Doncaster Rovers and maintain their pace in third position in the Coca-Cola Championship... the resilience of lowly Doncaster made for hard work. “They were very diligent and made it difficult for us,” Steve Coppell, the Reading manager, said.
The Times