MATCH REPORT: 2005/2006 Season

23 August 2005: LEAGUE CUP - ROUND 1
Reading: Kitson (9 mins, 94 mins), Lita (114 mins).
Swansea: Akinfenwa (80 mins).
Half Time: 1-0
Attendance: 7,603

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 READING 4 9 +9
2 Sheff Utd 4 9 +4
3 Derby 4 8 +3
Reading: Stack, Makin, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Hunt, Harper, Sidwell, Oster (Little 14), Kitson, Doyle (Gunnarsson 71), Little (Lita 82). Subs Not Used: Hahnemann, Convey.
Swansea: Gueret, Tate, Edwards, Austin (Anderson 45), Ricketts, Britton, Martinez, Tudur-Jones (MacDonald 101), McLeod, Akinfenwa, Connor. Subs Not Used: Murphy, Thorpe, Goodfellow.
Reading: Harper, Kitson, Gunnarsson.
Swansea: Tudur-Jones, Martinez, Anderson. Sent Off: Anderson (85 mins).
Referee: K Stroud (Dorset).

Reading made hard work of disposing of Swansea in the First Round of the Carling Cup. The Royals had to wait until extra time to secure victory against inferior opponents reduced to ten men shortly before the end of normal time. In the end the difference in the teams was underlined by the slick finishing of Kitson and Lita although it was a far from comfortable victory. Coppell made changes choosing to rest Little, Lita, Convey, Hahnemann and Murty. What he found by making the changes is that his cover is adequate. From the start it was clear there was no lack of commitment from Reading, but there was understandably, a lack of cohesion resulting from introducing so many new players at once.

Reading took control of the game from the kick off and it took Swansea about ten minutes to settle. They were just beginning to gain confidence when Kitson ran onto to a Doyle flick on and lifted the ball over Gueret to give Reading the lead. Reading dominated possession for the rest of the half but could not penetrate a well organised City defence. Stack had to be alert to hold on to a defected shot just before half time but he had little else to do. Oster missed his opportunity of playing a full game picking up an injury early in the game. Little replaced him and missed his opportunity for a rest. He played well but ultimately he also hobbled off near the end of normal time.

Reading looked eager to finish City off after half time but could not find a way through and a nagging doubt crept in that with lapse in concentration, the visitors might force extra time. With ten minutes left Akinfenwa provided the equaliser with a header at the far post. Lita came on immediately in an attempt to win the game in normal time, and even with Anderson sent off soon after for a bad foul on Kitson, City held on for extra time.

Kitson scored the crucial goal in the first period of extra time. Running onto a through ball, he held off a challenge, rounded the 'keeper and calmly slotted the ball home with his left foot. Sidwell had a shot well saved after working a good opening, and Stack was required to make a save in the second period of extra time but it was all over now. The fans were sent home happy with a fine third goal from Lita who converted a good early cross from Harper.

Of the new boys on show this evening, Hunt worked hard, Doyle still doesn't look ready for place in the starting eleven, and Makin was caught out a couple of times but had settled by the end. Gunnarsson was unjustly booked as soon as he came on but his passing looked sharp and penetrative. Lets hope the next round brings a better referee and some opposition to bring the best out of the team preferably from the Premiership.
John Wells



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