Match Report: 2011/2012 Season

1 October 2011: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: -
Middlesbrough: -
Half Time: 0-0.

Attendance: 17,418

Pos Team P Pts GD
14 Burnley 9 12 +1
15 READING 10 12 0
16 Barnsley 10 12 0
Reading: A Federici, K Gorkss, A Pearce, J Mills, S Cummings, J McAnuff, M Leigertwood, J Tabb, H Robson-Kanu (M Manset, 74), A Le Fondre, S Church (N Hunt, 82).
Subs not used: I Harte, A McCarthy, J Karacan.
Middlesbrough: C Ikeme, J Hoyte (J Arca, 65), M Bates, S McManus, T McMahon, R Williams, B Robson, N Bailey, F Haroun (K Thomson, 58), S McDonald (A Nimely, 80), M Emnes.
Subs not used: M Zemmama, M Martin.
Reading: -
Middlesbrough: McMahon.
Ref: A Taylor.
It was one of those rare days when both clubs were happy with the result and the performance of their teams. Middlesbrough will be happy to extend their unbeaten run (the only team remaining unbeaten in the Championship), and Reading have now picked up eight points from four games. Reading buoyed by the dramatic comeback at Bristol City in the week pushed the visitors back in the opening stages of the first half. The remarkably high temperature probably contributed a slow start the second half and both teams created promising openings, but as the game progressed Boro looked the most likely team to snatch a win.

Boro found it particularly hard settle early in the game and misplaced passes and hasty clearances gave the Royals plenty of encouragement. Reading however were equally guilty of some sloppy passing at crucial times. In spite of this Reading looked more likely to score in the early exchanges. Church and Le Fondre were lively and Robson-Kanu looked strong in possession. Robson-Kanu came inside and found space for a shot but it was easily gathered by Ikeme. Pearce hit a good long ball for Le Fondre who got behind the Boro back four to cross for Church but the ball was just touched out of his reach by a Boro covering defender. Church had a couple of half chances but his efforts were blocked or went wide. Tabb glanced a header wide. Le Fondre seems to be settling in well, and his all round game is looking very promising. The timing, weight and accuracy of his passing and crosses indicate he may well provide the quality of play Reading have been missing in attack. He makes good runs and takes up good positions in and around the box. He also came close with a header and an overhead attempt which drifted wide. Hopefully Church will learn from him. Boro gradually established a foothold in the game and played some good football around the edge of the Reading penalty area. Federici had to make two saves in quick succession from McDonald and Emnes after Boro had passed their way through the centre of the Royals defence. Church had a shot blocked near half time after linking up well with Tabb.

The players toiled in the sweltering heat at the beginning of the second half and although Boro were well organised at the back I had the feeling Reading missed their chance as the visitors sat back in a for a while. Church looked to have beaten the offside trap but the referee disagreed much to the annoyance of Brian Mc Dermott and everyone else who understood the laws of the game. Reading had a strong appeal for an unlikely looking penalty when Church's shot hit an arm on it's way for a corner. As the game wore on Boro moved the ball well through midfield and created several good chances. An Emnes header grazed the post and Robson hit the post. McDonald missed a sitter and it was becoming clear why Boro had not managed to score recently. Le Fondre chased a long ball and managed to get the better of his marker but could not quite find the finish

It was good to see Leigertwood beginning to show a bit more appetite for the ball and have an impact in midfield. Federici continued his run of good form but I am still not sure McAnuff is showing the commitment required of a captain. He was good in bursts and did a lot of waving and pointing but tended to coast for long periods of the game. Overall this was a good team effort against a club likely to be challenging for automatic promotion. Teams do not evolve overnight but the steady progress of the past few weeks is allowing the Royals to gather a bit of momentum and at least pull away from the wrong end of the table.
John Wells

I thought it was a pretty open game that either side could have won, but I was pretty under whelmed with Boro they weren't that special to be top of the league. Church was frustrating, making good runs but like an enthusiastic little puppy there was a lot of effort running around but very little else. I was left thinking that Long would have scored 2 or 3 today, and Church is never going to step up. Our defence looked fragile so the clean sheet is good news, but at the other end one shot on target is not good enough.
Pie Eater

I am very satisfied with a good point against a side who will be top 6 this season which moves us closer to our own target this of midtable safety. I actually though we controlled much of the first half and got the ball into some good areas. Sadly, we are utterly bereft of creativity in the middle of the park - Leigertwood I can forgive as his work rate is excellent, he is involved all the time.....but what does Tabb do, other than concede possession and look overweight? Karacan > Tabb.
Defensively, we were worrying again, particularly on the left hand side of the back four. Joseph Mills has even less composure and less of a footballing brain than this brother :| . I have heard a lot of praise for Gorkss, his reading of the game and supposed composure.....don't see it myself, desperate, last ditch stuff from him most of the time. Federici to the rescue with a quite superb first half double save. In the second half the left hand goalpost saved us twice. Good result in the end.

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Middlesbrough recorded their third successive goalless draw, but Tony Mowbray's side remain just two points behind leaders Southampton. Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici had a good game and produced a superb double save to deny Middlesbrough pair Scott McDonald and Marvin Emnes. Reading's best efforts came from Adam Le Fondre and Simon Church. Late on Boro piled on the pressure and both Emnes and Barry Robson hit the post but Reading held on for the draw. For the first quarter of an hour Reading camped themselves in Boro territory with Hal Robson-Kanu shooting straight at Carl Ikeme, while Simon Church headed just wide from Jobi McAnuff's cross. Just before the half-hour Federici produced a double save to deny first McDonald and then Emnes when both seemed certain to score. After the break McDonald should have given Boro the lead, but the Australian contrived to fire wide of Federici's goal. With 15 minutes left, referee Anthony Taylor waved away Le Fondre's claims for a penalty, turning down suggestions Julio Arca had handled in the box, before Emnes clipped the post with a header. And soon afterwards Robson also hit the woodwork as Boro came desperately close to securing all three points.
BBC Sport