MATCH REPORT: 2005/2006 Season

28 September 2005: LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: -
Southampton: -
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 24,946

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 Sheff Utd 11 30 +14
2 READING 11 24 +13
3 Luton 11 21 +7
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty (Hunt 37), Ingimarsson, Sonko, Makin, Little, Harper, Gunnarsson, Convey, Lita (Obinna 82), Doyle. Subs Not Used: Oster, Baradji, Federici.
Southampton: Niemi, Hajto, Lundekvam, Powell, Higginbotham, Oakley, Wise, Quashie, Kosowski (Pahars 71), Jones (Ormerod 88), Fuller. Subs Not Used: Smith, Cranie, Delap.
Reading: Little, Doyle.
Southampton: Quashie
Referee: Graham Poll

A combination of resolute defending, brilliant goalkeeping, and wayward finishing enabled the Royals to continue their long unbeaten run. The Saints played throughout with pace and aggression. Reading struggled to retain possession against physically stronger opponents who closed them down rapidly all over the field. What they lacked, apart from a bit of luck, was composure in front of goal. When Reading did push forward the home side looked very dangerous on the counter attack getting players forward quickly.

Once again a great deal of credit went to Sonko and Ingamarsson at the back. This evening they had a real battle on their hands with Southampton's massive forwards but they rose to the occasion yet again.

Southampton almost opened the scoring in the first minute when Quashie missed a good chance form close range. After a brief bright spell Reading were on the back foot for most of the first half. Little provided some respite in the closing stages of the half with a series of mazy runs which posed a real threat. Hahnemann made a couple of outstanding saves, along range shot acrobatically tipped over and an amazing point blank save from a few yards.

The rain continued to swirl around making conditions very slippery and further increasing the pace of the game in the second half. Southampton's continued bombardment was intensified by several long throw ins into the box which Sonko usually managed to get his head to first. Hunt had to be drafted into left back when Murty went off injured in the first half and Makin switched to right back. He also came up with goods putting in a solid performance defensively. There was one superbly timed and crucial tackle on the edge of the box which any full back would have been proud of. Convey still looked sharp, but didn't really impose himself on the game. Little made a claim for a penalty when he looked to be tripped in the box, but Graham Poll, who was generous to the home team for most of the evening, was not interested

As the game drew to a close Obinna came on for the ineffective Lita and immediately made more impact. To be fair, Lita was given a lot of high balls to deal with against some very tall defenders. However, compared to Doyle he seemed to little appetite for the battle. In the last ten minutes Reading looked increasingly likely to steal all three points. Doyle forced a save out of Niemi and headed just over from a Little cross. As much as would have enjoyed it, a Reading victory would have been unjust. Not only are the Royals playing some good football at the moment, but they are tough to break down, and they keep at it for ninety minutes in every game. Four points from away games at Norwich and Southampton in five days is definitely promotion form.
Report by John Wells


Reading did very well to come away from St Mary's with a point. Southampton attacked relentlessly, but fatally were incapable of the final finish. A Saint's fan from work confirmed to me today that they have been the same all season. As well as being the defensive hero of the night ( he RZZ fans gave him a great send off) Sonko could have stolen it for the Royals with some headers from crosses and corners which narrowly went over the bar. Lita was definitely ineffectual, and if Obinna had had more time on the field he could well have made the difference.
Stuart Shurlock

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