MATCH REPORT: 2005/2006 Season

Reading: Gunnarsson (63 mins).
Leeds Utd: Healy (75 mins).
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 22,012

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 Sheff Utd 16 38 +18
2 READING 16 35 +17
3 Luton 16 28 +7
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Little, Gunnarsson (Sidwell 84), Harper, Convey (Hunt 87), Kitson, Doyle. Subs Not Used: Stack, Oster, Obinna.
Leeds Utd: Sullivan, Kelly, Harding, Butler, Kilgallon, Richardson (Moore 68), Douglas, Derry, Lewis (Pugh 90), Hulse, Blake (Healy 66). Subs Not Used: Bennett, Gregan.
Reading: Gunnarsson.
Leeds Utd: Butler.

It is a measure of how far Reading have improved this season that everyone felt disappointed with only gaining a point from this game. Leeds, considered to be one of the clubs likely to win promotion, and in good form in recent weeks, can count themselves very lucky to get anything out of this game. It took an unbelievable lapse by the usually reliable Ingimarssson to provide United with a way back into a game they never looked capable of winning. Two points may have been thrown away but the performance underlined Reading's status as leading contenders for automatic promotion.

After a cagey opening, the game burst into life on four minutes when Little volleyed narrowly wide from a deep Shorey cross. Doyle missed great chance to open the scoring a minute later when he failed to connect with a superb low cross from Murty. Leeds hit back with a well struck free kick which Hahnemann held well. A minute later Gunnarsson leant back and ballooned a decent chance over the bar from just inside the box. Reading were quicker to the ball and passing the ball around impressively. The game settled down, as a well organised Leeds defence went about heir business efficiently, if not always fairly. Reading also had to defend but did so with equal determination and energy.

The game simmered for nearly half an hour until reading raised their game again and gave Leeds some anxious moments before half time. Leeds were increasingly resorting illegal challenges and long balls to relieve the pressure, which Sonko was dealing comfortably. Having heard so much about the threat of Hulse, I was pleased to see his performance did not match his publicity.

Reading continued to dominate in the second half and the deserved goal came from Gunnarsson who turned and stroked the ball inside the post following a corner. Reading looked set to add to their lead. Kitson and Convey had good opportunities with headers which narrowly missed the target. Healy came on for Blake and almost immediately created a great chance for Douglas to waste. Ingimarsson's lunge was ill-timed and helped to create the situation. That should have been a warning. Leeds still did not look likely to get back into the game until Ingimarsson decided to set up Healey with a bizarre pass across his own area to Healy. He compounded his error by running across Hahnemann's line of vision and deflecting a fairly feeble shot past his own 'keeper.

The injustice of the incident stunned the crowd and stung Reading back into action. Sidwell, on for Gunnarsson, almost scored with a downward header which Kelly managed to sit on before Sullival scrambled over to gather. Then with additional time running out, Doyle persistent to the end, robbed the lumbering Butler and whipped in a low cross which Kitson met with a well timed run only to be denied by the alert Sullivan.

I can understand why everyone felt downhearted at the end, but the result should not detract from what was fine team performance. This team oozes confidence at the moment and eighteen games unbeaten says it all. I sincerely hope Ingimarsson doesn't receive too much stick - he's probably feeling bad enough as it is at the moment.
John Wells


It shows how far we've come when a draw against Leeds is considered a poor result. We are not going to win every game but the manner of defeat, Ingirmarsson's balls up in gifting Leeds their goal with a moment of madness, left a sour taste especially and as always on these occasions Sheff Utd dropping points at home. However no way am I nor should anybody have a go at Inngy has his performances this season have been quite outstanding and he's saved far far more goals than make the odd mistake, I'm sure he'll learn from it. We played well again and if there is a criticism, which does seem churlish, it's we should be far more clinical in front of goal and finish games off comfortably. Our build up play in commendable especially from Blakey Little and Lofty Convey creating lots of crosses but I'd like to see a more shots few shots on goal rather than always trying to score the perfect goal from a cross . Though only a draw it was another point gained on third spot and only a few days before we have a great chance to get three more points with Wednesday on Tuesday! We have to accept all teams are now going to come to the Mad Stad and defend like hell to get a point and we will have to be patient and it maybe away games that give us the best chance to nick points . If Leeds are one of the top teams in this league then we've really nothing to fear, I thought they were quite poor and we really should not fear anybody in this league, not that we do. Interesting seeing Sidwell come on for Gunny who rightly got a rapturous ovation when he left the field of play. Coppell has a real nice but tricky dilemma here who to play, Gunnarsson simply cannot be dropped on current form and Sidwell will have to be patient and wait his chance. Finally poor ol Kitson in all the papers condemning stick he gets about his ginger hair. Kits does sound an intelligent chap but he may as well take a full-page ad in the papers advertising he has ginger hair! He should say "I'm ginger and proud of it" !! At least he has hair poor sensitive lamb, just get on playing football and score goals that will shut the opposing fans who give him stick up. I can think of many players who've had far worse stick than he's had so he should belt up and eat his carrots!
Nick Newbury

Reading dominated against Leeds until Gunnarsson scored, but they looked vulnerable afterwards and Leeds looked like they might score. Reading seemed to stop playing like they were before the goal. I donít know if they had got tired or a little complacent, but in my view Reading threw the win away. Leeds could easily have scored a winner. In fact, if whoever it was hadnít missed an almost open goal, Leeds would have won. I was disappointed. Reading deserved to win, but they didnít keep up the pressure for 90 minutes. I also agree that Iíd like to see them being a bit more direct in front of goal.
Andrew Whiteman

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