MATCH REPORT: 2004/2005 Season

Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 14,651

Pos Team P Pts GD
6 West Ham 34 54 +7
7 READING 35 53 +7
8 Sheff Utd 33 51 -2
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Newman, Brooker (Little 71), Hughes, Sidwell, Kitson, Owusu (Ferdinand 61). Subs Not Used: Harper, Morgan, Young.
Leicester: Walker, Tiatto (Nalis 70), Dabizas, Dublin (Heath 77), Stewart, Gillespie, Williams (Hughes 69), Stearman, Gudjonsson, de Vries, Connolly. Subs Not Used: Canero, Hirschfeld.
Reading: Shorey.
Leicester: Connolly, Stearman, Gudjonsson.
Referee: U Rennie (S Yorkshire).

Reading's barren spell continued today with a dull goalless draw. It was another frustrating afternoon for the home fans as they saw the Royals struggle to create any clear cut chances against a mediocre City. Coppell was obviously desperate to shake things up by dropping Harper and Little. Unfortunately their replacements had poor games. Newman's passing was unusually poor and Brooker scurried around on the left without really providing a threat. It was a scrappy game which stuttered along disrupted by petty fouls, poor passing, and bad refereeing from Mr Rennnie. The ball spent a lot of time in the air.

A mind numbing first half was almost concluded with a goal from City when De Vries barged his way through the centre of the Reading defence and sent a shot just wide of the post with Hahnemann beaten. Other than that, the highlight of the half was a Sonko clearance hitting the roof of the East Stand, which to my knowledge is a first at the Madejski Stadium! Reading played slightly better football without looking like scoring and City were only capable of containing Reading without posing any attacking threat.

The home fans tried to get their team going with more vocal support in the second half and Reading did raise their game slightly and looked more likely to break the deadlock. The best chance was missed by Kitson of all people when a long clearance fell nicely for him. His shot was easily stopped by Walker. Kitson also created an opening when he caught the aging Dublin in possession and raced clear. Unfortunately when the ball fell to Newman on the edge of the box Hughes managed to get in his way and hammer the ball over the bar.

Owusu, who did not develop a very good partnership with Kitson, was replaced by Ferdinand. That made no difference. Brooker was taken off to give Little the chance to open up the City defence. Strangely Coppell put Little on the left wing and left Hughes on the right. Kitson did put the ball in the net after two determined challenges and a neat short pass from Murty had set Hughes free to cross from the right. The offside flag wiped the goal out but it must have been a tight decision.

The game fizzled out and the whistle sadly brought boos from the some of the home fans. I heard several people comment on the radio that it was the right of the fans to express their feelings about the performance. Surely that is not the point. Booing the team is only going to discourage the team and make them feel worse. Reading need all the help they can get at the moment. We are not playing like a team ready to go up but we are still in with a chance of the play-offs because there does not appear to be any team capable of winning consistently in this division this year. Things could change very quickly with a couple of victories.
Report by John Wells


Entertainment - this was not. What we saw did represent an improvement on last week's desperate and embarrassing performance against Coventry. The first half was completely forgettable. Neither side were able to create and our midfield sat too deep and therefore were totally unable to offer any support to the front two, who did OK. The second half was better and I thought that we were the better side but the current problem of not being able to score continues to plague us. One disallowed for offside and a disappointing strike from Kitson were the best efforts but we did not create enough. Like many I still wonder about Brooker and we looked more positive when Little came on. In terms of the defence - well I don't think Marcus had a meaningful shot to save. The really disappointing point about our run is that this may well prove to be one of the easier seasons to get out of this league and for a large part of the season we have looked very capable of doing that. We just to to scramble a win and then it should statrt again. I though there were at least some encouraging signs today. Have we ever had a stronger bench than today?
Ken C

When the biggest moment and most exciting cheer of the game came when Sonko attempted to boot the ball out of the stadium, we know things are bad. Maybe it's contagious with Reading being so boring at present, but I can't think of anything to say really about the game or the players. Support the lads through thick and thin and all that stuff comes to mind, but by golly it pushes us so called loyal Royals to the limit. Director of football Mr Hammond is doing a good job isn't he?? Horrible feeling it's going to get worse before it gets better.
Nick Newbury

Ken C is absolutely right - one of the easiest seasons to get out and what are we doing - very little. Strangely even now, a decent run could see us way up the league but I can't see it happening. This brings me to talking the talk - let's manage expectations here - if what we really mean is that we're a small town club making decent progress but let's get real about the premiership i.e. we don't really want it - then let's say so and be happy with what we've got. If we do mean it, then we need some magic on the pitch - can anyone see a creative player who'll make a real difference? As for Brooker, he is good on the ball and can deliver a decent cross. However, he reminds me of kids football when they're scared of a tackle, he always seems to run the wrong way...on purpose! Time to have a word with him, do you want to earn your money or find a different job - quickly! Final point - Marcus throwing it to the full backs and building from there - the opposition are closing it down and the alternative is the hoof - whether marked or not, let's shift it to the fullbacks quickly and have a go - it's better than the hoof!
Nick, Tilehurst

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