MATCH REPORT: 2004/2005 Season

Reading: Owusu (42 mins).
Wigan Athletic:
Mahon (26 mins).
Half Time: 1-1
Attendance: 22,114

Pos Team P Pts GD
3 Sunderland 21 40 +14
4 READING 21 38 +11
5 QPR 21 36 +2
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Hughes, Sidwell, Harper, Little, Morgan, Owusu. Subs not used: Goater, Convey, Brooker, Newman, Young.
Wigan Athletic: Filan, Baines, Jackson, Breckin, Eaden, McCulloch (Graham 22 mins), Mahon (Wright 78 mins), Bullard, Teale (Flynn 81 mins), Roberts, Ellington. Subs not used: McMillan, Walsh.
Reading: -
Wigan Athletic:
Referee: A Marriner.

Reading were forced to settle for a share of the points at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon after a Nicky Shorey free-kick smashed against the visitors' crossbar in the last minute of play. If the ball had found the back of the net it would have been fair reward for the Royals, after a much improved second half in which Reading so nearly did enough to win the game. Wigan topped the table before the game kicked off and had the better of the opening forty five minutes - taking the lead from a weak shot that was deflected past Hahnemann midway through the half. Wigan could have extended their lead with a decent effort that was just wide of Hahnemann's left post. A poor Hahnemann free-kick gifted the opportunity for the visitors to shoot at an empty goal but thankfully they put the ball wide. However, it was a game with few chances on goal and Reading's first of the whole game came just before half time with an excellent fast attacking move. Sidwell played the ball out from the middle into the path of Little who was steaming down the right. Little's powerful cross was met with an equally powerful header in the middle as Owusu rose to make it 1-1. Reading's strong finish to the half covered up what otherwise had been a disappointing half. The second half belonged to Reading with Wigan seemingly happy to take the point - Reading played some superb passing football, steming from Sidwell, and looked much the better side. Morgan seemed to be awake after a poor start to the game and twice came close to putting Reading ahead. He did very well to cut in from the left past two defenders and into the area before shooting low and forcing the keeper to make a good save, and followed that up with a snapshot from the centre of the area moments later. Morgan appeared to dive at the end to win the Royals a free kick on the edge of the area, to the right, and Shorey's effort beat the keeper but not the crossbar.

Following report by John Wells:
Recent results have cast doubt on Wigan's ability to secure an automatic promotion spot, but today Reading faced the team at the top of the league without their first choice strike force and produced a performance which must boost their confidence going into two tough away games. Before the game I would have settled for a draw but by the end I was slightly disappointed not to win. Had Nicky Shorey's last minute free kick been hit with slightly less power it would certainly have given the Royals all three points. Unfortunately his effort crashed against the bar with Filan well beaten.

Credit must be given to Steve Coppell for getting his team into the right frame of mind for this game. Owusu and Morgan were strutting around before kick off clearly eager to get at their opponents. Both sides enjoyed periods of pressure in the first half but it was Wigan who had slightly more of the play and took the lead with a huge slice of good fortune. Sonko, who otherwise had a superb game, lunged and conceded a free kick on the edge of the area. Mahon's harmless looking strike was deflected past Hahnemnann. The prolific pairing of Roberts and Ellington always posed a threat (when they were not rolling around on the ground that is!) but the Royals defence coped well. In fact neither side was finding it easy to create chances. Reading got the crucial opening just before half time when Little was played in behind the defence and hit a beautiful cross which Owusu thumped into the net with his head.

When the game restarted I felt the points would go to the team with greatest confidence and desire. As the game unfolded it was clear the Royals were the most likely winners. Wigan won a succession of corners early in the second half but Hahmnemann was not called upon to make a save. The crowd got behind the Royals and by the end Wigan were content to waste time and hang on for a point. Morgan grew in confidence in the second half and looked the most likely player on either side to score. He created the best chance of the game for himself with a twisting run into the box only to see his shot well saved by Filan. Not long after Filan again spread himself well to block a shot from the young striker. Reading took control of the game and were full of running. It was only the occasional heavy touch or mis-hit pass that ruined some promising moves. Kitson's presence might have made all the difference.

There was a lot of talk about Sidwell's performance after the game and I would agree he played well, but in my view Harper just had the edge if I was picking a man of the match. He was everywhere today and was looking very strong and confident on the ball. It looks like it could be Ipswich that everyone will be chasing for while now. Reports seem to indicate they are the team which Reading found it hardest to contain and they have rattled in a few goals this season, but I still have not seen anything to convince me that Reading are not good enough to go up this year.


As in most things in life you need a bit of luck to have success, and Reading had no luck at all against a tidy but not great side in Wigan. It was a classic game of two halves as we were concerned, with Reading having tremendous second half, and Wigan continually being on the backfoot. Their goal in the first half was heading about ten yards wide of goal before a Reading foot got on the way and caused a wicked reflection into our goal, jammy gits. Just as we thought how we going to get anything out of this game Reading scored a goal to grace any ground in the world, quick break down flank, tremendous cross from Little and a bullet of a header from Owusu that nearly burst the net, get in there!
What a change in the second half, from being unable to string two passes together and playing the long ball to no effect Reading started playing football on the deck and immediately we created chances. Morgan was unlucky and we started to surge forward. Sidwell and Harper were outstanding, they simply ran them selves into the ground and never gave up. Us fans love that and though we may not always win, we always recognise pure graft and effort and those two played their guts out, well played lads. As I said with a bit of luck we'd have won the game and the final icing on the cake came with Nicky Shoreys free kick at the end which look dipping and destined for the top corner of the net with the Wigan keeper floundering before it just clipped the crossbar to safety.
We must be pleased not to have dropped points to Wigan and did very well with our first choice strikers out. Wigan like us are going to be in the shake up come the end of the season but so are other teams as we all know.
Two very tough away games coming up with a QPR at home before Xmas. If we can go into the new year within four or so points of the top two and get back to full strength up front that would be a great position to be in and one we'd all be happy with. I now believe on our day we are as good as any team in this league having seen the opposition. If we are all fully fit and at full strength we can beat any team . We'd all like a few players for Christmas so maybe we should all send a letter the Father Madejski asking him to grant our wish. We will never have a better opportunity to escape this league and enter the promised land. Well played Reading, well played all the players, lady luck is due our way soon! UURRZZ
Nick Newbury

Have to agree with John Wells...Harper really did make the difference in that second half. It was a great team performance during that period, and overall I think Reading deserved all the points. Marcus and his distribution was a disappointment, and some of Murty's passing was poor to say the least. Having said that Sonks and Ivar did a sound job on Ellington and Roberts... come on URZ!
Nigel, Chippenham Royal

Once we got going I thought we played pretty well. Can somebody explain to me why Hahnemann hoofs it so much? Obviously he has to sometimes but we are so much better when the ball is on the floor. I think he threw or rolled it out three times on Saturday. Mr Mad shouldn’t allow Coppell to bring in new players to encourage him to try some youngsters.
Alan P

Games against Wigan are usually tight and this was no exception. Considering the team's striker problems, many of us might have been happy to get a draw before this one, but in the end thanks to a pretty good 2nd half display, Reading were unlucky not to get all 3 points. Although Kitson was clearly missed, Owusu did a job on the day & scored an excellent goal. Morgan too did well in the 2nd half in particular & was unlucky not to score on a couple of occasions. There were too many mis-placed passes in the midfield, but they got more of a grip on things in the 2nd half as Reading looked to go for the win. And the defence performed very well against Wigan's prolific strike force & were only beaten by a very unfortunate deflection for their goal. Hopefully, this kind of performance against the one of the stronger sides in the division is something that can be built on & the team can start to cut out the slip ups against the lower teams that have crept in during the last few games. The Coventry & Forest results could still be costly considering the tough games that now lie ahead in the Christmas period. COME ON.....
Caversham Royal

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