Match Report: 2009/2010 Season

27 February 2010: Championship
Reading: Kebe (42 mins, 71 mins), Rasiak (45 mins, 65 mins), Church (52 mins).
Sheff Wed: -
Half Time: 2-0.
Attendance: 17,573

Pos Team P Pts GD
17 Ipswich 33 38 -8
18 READING 32 38 -9
19 Scunthorpe 34 38 -20
Reading: Federici, Griffin, Ingimarsson, Bertrand, Khizanishvili, Tabb, Howard, Kebe (Henry, 72), Sigurdsson (Matejovsky, 79), Rasiak, Church (Robson-Kanu, 70). Subs not used: Thorvaldsson, Hamer, Pearce, Bignall.
Sheff Wed: Grant, Hinds, Spurr, Nolan, Beevers, Potter, Soares (Clarke, 46), Gray (Miller, 46), O'Connor (McAllister, 74), Tudgay, Varney. Subs not used: Simek, Boden, Esajas, O'Donnell.
Reading: None.
Sheff Wed: None (!).
Ref: G Hegley (Hertfordshire).
Having struggled to score at home all season Reading hit five against struggling Sheffield Wednesday in spite of losing crucial players to injury and suspension. Other than stubborn aggressive and physical resistance in the first half Wednesday had little to offer. Helped by an incredibly lenient referee they held out until just before half time before Reading deservedly rattled in two quick goals to set up, if you were a Royals fan, a thoroughly enjoyable second half. The win pushed the Owls further into trouble and lifted Reading four points clear of the relegation zone.

With the home fans still wallowing in the glory of a 5th Round Cup win Reading looked bright and sharp from the kick off. Wednesday also had their moments in the opening ten minutes and Federici had to make a couple of saves from long range shots. As the half progressed Wednesday resorted to clumsy intimidation to keep Reading as bay. It was allowed work mainly due to some remarkable decisions from referee Hegley. Kebe broke free and was pulled back from behind. Clearly a bookable offence which was only punished with free kick and a quiet word. Later Rasiak was, as the referee indicated with his arm, elbowed in the face, but while Reading's physio stemmed the flow of blood from Rasiak's face, the referee had strong words with the offender! A red card would not have been out of place but not even a yellow card was shown. There was probably another red card offence just before half time when Church accelerated past the last defender and was flattened from behind. Fortunately for Mr Hegley when play continued Kebe gave Reading the lead with a shot which was deflected past a wrong-footed Grant. Grant had earlier made a good save from a header by Rasiak. In stoppage time Sigurdsson worked an opening down the left and showing good awareness provided Church with a chance. Grant saved, but the ball fell kindly to Rasiak who smashed the ball home from close range.

Manager Irvine made two changes at half time to inject a bit of life into his flagging team. It failed miserably as Reading increased their lead seven minutes after the break with a superb strike from Simon Church. A Wednesday defender did well to catch Church as he ran onto a good ball from Rasiak and shepherded him away from goal. Suddenly the young Welshman turned sharply back towards goal and produced a left-footed strike which rocketed into the net off the far post. A goal of breathtaking quality. Any hope of a Wednesday comeback now extinguished the away side capitulated. The fouling subsided and although Wednesday managed to send a couple of long range shots just wide they were increasingly vulnerable on the break. Rasiak stabbed in a Kebe cross that was allowed to run across the face of the goal for his second and the rout was completed following a comical mix-up on the half way line between the Owls central defenders. Kebe took advantage and raced through unchallenged beating Grant with the power of his shot which made the net bulge. Kebe left the field to a standing ovation which will no doubt further boost his confidence as Brian McDermott was able to give Matejovsky, Robson-Kanu and Henry a run out before the big game next week. Such was the mood of euphoria even Rasiak was chasing the ball towards the end!

Reading's wretched form in 2009 wrecked a promising promotion campaign and plunged them into a relegation battle, but without wishing to tempt fate, with decent manger in place, 2010 looks a lot more promising. It would be ridiculous to expect a play-off spot or a trip to Wembley this season but at least Reading fans at least are enjoying watching their team play again and can look forward to next season with greater optimism.
John Wells

Must be Christmas! Can't remember for such a long time such a relaxed warm feeling at a league game for a long time. Well played Reading with a good old fashioned thumping of a woeful Sheffield Wednesday who must now rate us as the biggest bogey club they encounter. Everybody played well but special mention must go to Church for a wonderful goal that capped a typical hard working performance, the lad works his socks off every game , something others could learn from him, but it would be churlish to have a go after such a great week for the club . Special mention must go to the fat topless Wednesday fan who provided great entertainment during the game with his antics and in all the many years I've been going to football, I've never seen an away fan get a huge round of applause as he left the ground! Priceless. So things have turned round , the outlook is bright and there is light at the end of the tunnel, but beware, it's not an oncoming train ! URRZZZ
Nick Newbury

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Reading boss Brian McDermott:
"I was a little bit concerned that, after Wednesday's FA Cup tie at West Brom, we wouldn't come out fired up. I was also a bit concerned because the players were a bit quiet in the dressing room before the game, but they were focused out there. I thought the fans were terrific today and I am sure they will enjoy themselves tonight. I know I will."

Sheffield Wednesday boss Alan Irvine:
"That was unacceptable. We were a bit unlucky with the first goal but after that we caved in. If we are mentally fragile that will be a real problem. If you don't have mental strength you're in real trouble. You really find out about people in adversity. I learn as I go but don't want to judge over too short a time."

BBC Sport

Brian McDermott is fast becoming the Championship's alchemist. The novice Reading manager seems to have pinned down the formula for prompting promising footballers to realise their potential. If he can maintain such adroitness in cultivating talent, as well as persuading players they are better than they actually are, more glamorous positions could beckon, yet he is content to continue wringing out the ability of those who grace the Madejski. A fifth league win in six was garnered to go alongside a captivating FA Cup adventure.
"I don't think there are any secrets. We don't look too far ahead, we look at each game. The players are really up for it. We played really good football," McDermott said, perhaps struggling to resist thoughts of next Sunday's quarter final against Aston Villa.
Reading's third goal was an explicit illustration of a footballer's sudden refinement. Simon Church has not found goal-scoring a simple activity this season but the swivel past Sheffield Wednesday defender Richard Hinds and measured shot which found the net via a post in the second half smacked of a forward who nets for fun... All over the pitch there were examples of Reading's rejuvenation in miniature. Grzegorz Rasiak has divided opinion among supporters but he gave them reason to extol his virtues as a goal poacher extraordinaire. With clinical opportunism he scored twice, first doubling Reading's lead just before half time after Church's shot was blocked and then stabbing in Jimmy Kebe's cross as Wednesday disintegrated. Kebe is another whose self-belief has been unshackled. His work ethic has often been a subject of debate but, playing wide on the right and often drifting infield, he displayed the conviction to run at players. He gave Reading the lead with a shot which took a deflection off Hinds and wrong-footed Lee Grant before tearing through in the 71st minute and crashing in his second and his side's fifth goal.
This was football butchery and all the more impressive given McDermott was without the energy and penetration of suspended winger Jobi McAnuff and had to pitch Gylfi Sigurdsson on the left flank.
Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici may have perversely regretted not having more opportunity to showcase his ability to Premier League suitors but he was a virtual bystander.

Sunday Telegraph