MATCH REPORT: 2004/2005 Season

25 September 2004: LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Sidwell (65 mins).
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 13,389

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 READING 10 21 +6
2 Wigan 10 20 +12
3 Ipswich 10 20 +7
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Williams, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Brooker, Sidwell, Harper, Hughes, Forster, Kitson (Sonko 90). Subs Not Used: Goater, Convey, Newman, Young.
Watford: Lee, Chambers, Cox, Dyche (Doyley 45), Mayo (Bouazza 70), Young, Mahon, Gunnarsson, Ardley, Helguson, Webber. Subs Not Used: Chamberlain, Dyer, Darlington.
Reading: -
Referee: M Thorpe (Suffolk).

Just four days ago Reading were soundly beaten in the league cup by Watford at the Madejski Stadium - but the return fixture in the league was very different indeed. After resting a couple of key players on Tuesday night the league game saw their return with Nicky Shorey and Nicky Forster back in the starting line-up. Shorey's inclusion made a massive difference with the Reading defence looking much stronger as they held the home side at bay. Across the side we looked more comfortable and worked much harder for the three points to take us to the very top of the Championship table - our highest ever position in history.

In a game of few chances overall, the Royals had the first notable attack of the game early on when a Shorey cross found Sidwell who put a shot over the Watford crossbar. It would be the same Shorey and Sidwell combination was would find the winner in the second half. Reading were looking the brighter prospect with Brooker and Kitson both getting in decent efforts - a second Kitson effort needed a good save from the Watford keeper. Towards the end of the half the home side got into the game with a couple of shots at Hahnemann - they probably should have done better with at least one effort that would have put them ahead at the break.

The second half started very quietly with Reading defending firmly but not producing much up front - until Andy Hughes got in a header needing a save. Although many sources credited Hughes for Reading's winner just after the hour mark it was Steve Sidwell that headed home with some style from a Shorey cross from the left. Nicky Forster had a couple of chances to put Reading further ahead but Watford could have pulled level late on as they again ended the second half with a number of goalscoring opportunities. Reading continued to defend well to hold out for an impressive seventh league win from ten games.


Unbloodybelievable! Top of the flipping league!! What that says about the standard in the Championship I'm not too sure, but bollocks to that, top we are and like I've often said league never lies. Been away this week and when I heard the midweek score I thought knowing us we'll probably go and win on Saturday and so we did. Had to listen to the game on Radio Burks and though it didn't sound a classic again who cares. Fair play to Hughesy for answering the stick he got in the week with a goal all be a disputed one [Sidwell has been credited with the goal]. I'm certainly not his greatest fan but you should never boo your own players, sure give them stick if you've "paid your pound to watch" but not booing. With Ipswich Tuesday we may not have too long to enjoy our moment of glory but at least we can all go to work Monday morning with that smug look on our faces! Anything against those Tractor Boys will be a bonus, but remember last season when that cheating git McGilton cheated us out of three points with his dive in the last minute, well if there's a god he'll be at Portman Road Tuesday night... well played lads, top of the bloody league come on!!
Nick Newbury

I have felt from the start of the season that just perhaps this is our year.There is a noticable spirit in the squad to win and for the first time in many seasons we are playing as a unit and for one another. We all know however that the season is long and there are some strong teams in this Division but I believe fervently that depth of squad and may I say with equal talent,coupled with the ability to grind out away results is the answer to promotion to the highest level in English football! Now is the real time for the fans to do their bit and to fill the stadium for our home games and like Portsmouth last year who made Fratton Park even too much for Manchester United! More than anything we all hope the lads can stay clear of injury.EXCELLENT START LADS! The REAL supporters are with you all the way.
Terry, Isle of Wight.

Despite the nature of Tuesday's cup exit, probably most Reading fans would've traded a third round tie for three points and being top of the league. A big test awaits on Tuesday versus Ipswich, but the team deserve to be proud of achieving this position. Let's hope they can sustain the results that got them this far. COME ON...
Caversham Royal.

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