MATCH REPORT: 2007/2008 Season

29 December 2007: FA PREMIER LEAGUE
Reading: Cisse (16 mins), Ingimarsson (53 mins), Kitson (69 mins, 74 mins).
Tottenham: Berbatov (7 mins, 63 mins, 73 mins, 83 mins), Malbranque (76 mins), Defoe (79 mins).
Half Time: 1-1
Attendance: 36,178

Pos Team P Pts GD
12 Tottenham 20 24 +5
13 READING 20 22 -13
14 Middlesbro 20 20 -15
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty (De la Cruz 71), Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Hunt, Cisse, Harper, Convey (Long 84), Doyle, Kitson. Subs Not Used: Federici, Lita, Bikey.
Tottenham: Robinson, Chimbonda, Kaboul, King (Defoe 61), Lee, Lennon (Boateng 67), Jenas, Huddlestone, Malbranque, Berbatov, Keane (Tainio 80). Subs Not Used: Cerny, Taarabt.
Reading: Cisse, Shorey, Long.
Tottenham: -
Ref: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).
Reading again scored four away from home and again came away with nothing in an amazing game of ten goals at White Hart Lane. This time Reading will feel disappointed at failing to come away with something after leading Spurs three times - including being 4-3 up with just fifteen minutes left to play. The Royals played some excellent attacking football in a pulsating game, but defensive errors against a striker in amazing form saw Berbatov hit four and ensure Reading left empty handed. It might have worked out differently after Reading went 2-1 up in the second half and had chances to extend their lead. Perhaps if we had added another to move further ahead we would have been looking at our first away victory of the season, but instead the game ended very differently indeed as the ball continued to hit the net with amazing regularity.

After Gunnarsson's red card on Boxing day Cisse found himself in the side for a rare start but otherwise the Royals were unchanged from our recent run that had seen us clock up five Premiership games unbeaten. Reading quickly found themselves behind when Berbatov scored after just seven minutes with a simple close range goal. The Royals pulled level with their first meaningful attack of the game. Nicky Shorey, who was to create plenty of chances througout the game, saw his free kick punched out by Robinson in the Spurs goal. The ball came out to Cisse who drove it in through a crowded area to make it 1-1.

After the break Reading moved ahead after earning a corner. Shorey's delivery found Ingimarsson whose header beat Robinson. At this point Reading perhaps should have put the game out of Spurs' reach. Kitson was twice played in and was twice narrowly thwarted by the Spurs keeper. Bobby Convey did well to provide a near perfect ball into the area for Kitson to run on goal, but Robinson dived at Kitson's feet as he was about to shoot. Reading's first half equaliser may have been against the run of play but Spurs' equaliser was perhaps even more so as they pulled level just as Reading looked like they would go on to win. Murty's clearance found Berbatov rather than space and the Spurs striker buried it into the roof of the net to make it 2-2. It set up a frantic period of play with both sides steaming forward and looking for goals.

Shorey provided his third assist of the afternoon from a corner with Kitson rising at the near post to direct a header into the far side of the net to make it 3-2. The lead was again short lived as Berbatov found plenty of room to complete his hat-trick. Hunt was the next to turn provider with a great ball through to Kitson. This time Kitson got the better of Robinson, cooly chipping the ball over him as the keeper came out to put Reading back ahead again at 4-3. Once again the lead was short lived as it became 4-4. There was still plenty of time for more drama and for Spurs to nick the three points. Sonko conceeded a penalty only for Spurs to see Hahnemann make a good save as he got down quickly. However Defoe, who was nearly level with the penalty taker when the ball was struck found himself illegally in the area with plenty of time to tuck home the rebound. It should have been retaken - but would Marcus have been able to make a second save? With time running short and Reading clearly knackered Spurs wrapped up the win with Berbatov's fourth goal which made the scoreline harsh on Reading.


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Whoever would have thought it? Hardly at half-time, anyway. After quite a lively beginning, the game had relapsed into what you might call a kind of no man’s land with little of consequence happening at either end, until stoppage time... The second half, however, was a different story. To the two goals scored in the first half, Reading and Tottenham added eight more with Spurs constantly rising from the canvas... Reading’s disappointed manager, Steve Coppell, lamented: “For 99 per cent of the game, we were terrific. We didn’t have a negative thought in our heads all afternoon. It was just individual defensive errors.” Just? That was putting it mildly... If Berbatov was a host in himself for Tottenham in the second half after a rather slow start, so was the towering, redheaded Dave Kitson for Reading. The big centre forward had the Reading fans chanting: “Kitson for England” in the second half. Both with foot and head, he was almost as great a threat to Tottenham as was Berbatov on the ground to Reading.
Brian Glanville, The Times

The statistics suggested there would be goals, but who could have predicted 10 of them? Reading began the second half gunning for the win. Shorey's corner kick set up Ivar Ingimarsson to head home and snatch the lead. Dave Kitson, a boyhood Tottenham fan, was determined to get a look-in and twice threatened the home goal. But Tottenham fought back, luck on their side... Still missing a victory away from home, a weary Steve Coppell could not believe the score. 'It's obvious we've got to score six or seven away from home to get a result,' he said, having lost 7-4 at Portsmouth in September. 'It feels like there's a hole in your life,' he continued. 'It shouldn't have ended with the score it did - the [Defoe] goal shouldn't even have been given. I'm angry.'
Anna Kessel, The Guardian