MATCH REPORT: 2003/2004 Season

1 November 2003: LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
Reading: -
Steve Jones (15 mins).
Half Time: 1-0
Attendance: 7,091

Pos Team P Pts GD
10 Nottm F 16 24 +9
11 READING 16 24 +4
12 Crewe 16 24 -1
Reading: Hahnemann, Newman (Murty 55), Ingimarsson, Williams, Shorey, Murray (Savage 87), Hughes, Sidwell, Harper, Salako (Goater 78), Forster. Subs not used: Watson, Ashdown.
Ince, Wright, Walker, Foster, Tonkin, Lunt, Sorvel, Cochrane, Vaughan, Steve Jones, Ashton. Subs not used: Bankole, Smart, Barrowman, Rix, Billy Jones.
Reading: Forster, Williams, Sidwell.
Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear)

Steve Coppell suffered his second defeat as Reading manager as the Royals made it two defeats in three league fixtures at Crewe. Reading spent nearly the entire game chasing an equaliser after Crewe got off to a much stronger start that saw them go ahead after fifteen minutes. The single goal was enough to win it with Reading struggling to find their form in front of goal. Crewe's victory made it their fifth consecutive game undefeated as they moved up to just below Reading in the table. Coppell stuck to the 4-5-1 formation but despite packing the midfield Reading lost the midfield battle early on in the game. Up front Nicky Forster looked dangerous without making the break through but sufffered from a serious lack of support as chances came and went during the second half. Goater was introduced with just twelve minutes left on the clock and he was followed by Bas Savage with just three minutes left - it was too late for Reading to make the extra men up front count as they couldn't find the elusive equaliser. Murty also came off the bench during the second half, in place of Newman, to make a welcome return from injury.

The Reading defence had plenty to do early on in the game as Crewe got stuck straight in to attacking the Reading goal. They volleyed wide during the opening two minutes after taking the ball into the Reading half and kept the ball down that end nearly exclusively until they eventually took the lead. Early shots saw a couple of efforts just wide of the target and saw a goal bound effort blocked by Ingimarsson. As a sign of things to come Murray had a rare early shot for Reading, which was blasted high over the Crewe crossbar. The home side took the lead after playing the ball forward and keeping onside as the Reading defence pushed up, a cross was converted after the ball was put wide of Hahnemann and scored from a tight angle and close range.

After Crewe's impressive start Reading eventually started to get into the game. After a long period with Reading being continually caught offside when they looked to start an attack we created a series of chances that gave a glimmer of hope. With eight minutes of the first half remaining Reading had their first real shot of note when Forster put in a shot on target from the left side of the area, which was blocked. The resulting Shorey corner came to nothing. Forster put another shot wide and had a shot saved by the Crewe keeper on the stroke of half time.

Forster continued the second half where he left off as he forced another save from the keeper but Crewe went on the defensive to maintain their single goal lead. The Royals had the majority of the ball in the second half but failed to make it count in the final third as the Crewe defence continually tidied it up as Reading moves broke down. When we did get close we too often failed to even force a save from the keeper with Sidwell and Murty both sending shots wide. Scott Murray had two decent shots from just outside the area but saw one saved and another blocked by the defence. With time running out Coppell opted to change the balance of the side and replace midfielders with strikers as Savage and Goater replaced Murray and Salako. There was no time for Savage to have an impact but Goater saw a header go just wide of the post after connecting with a Shorey cross. Crewe, the more organised side on the day, held out with ease as time slipped away.


I have rarely seen a more inept display from the match officials than this. Not only did Crewe’s goal come from their handball where the ref gave our ‘advantage’ where we didn’t have possession, but the linesman on Crewe’s forwards seemed completely unaware of the rules. There was one point where he gave them a throw in after the ball had gone out for a corner some three yards inside the corner flag. They were not biased, just totally useless. We had a good day, having found a nice pub 9 miles from Crewe for lunch, but really expected a bit more from the team. If shooting practice is not top of the list at training today, I would like to know why. Also, I agree with the thread on the discussion board. Please do not put Harper in the starting line up again. He was awful! URRZZZ!
Kevin, Worthing Royal.

No mention is made in the report about Forster’s ‘goal’ scored after about ten minutes. In fact no mention is made of this disallowed goal in either the Sunday Express or the Sunday People. It is a complete mystery to me and Reading supporters round me as to why it was disallowed – it was a very well taken strike and not off-side – but it seems to have escaped everyone’s notice. Reading played better in the second half but they struggled to find an opening and against a Crewe side who packed all their players into the penalty area at corners.

I'd have to agree that was a pretty poor display by the match officials, but it would be a travesty to suggest they were a good excuse for Reading's poor display. Fozzy's disallowed early goal was almost certainly adjudged a shirt-pulling foul by Fozzy - judging by the linesman's actions, and although there was a confusing moment before the Crewe goal with a couple of strange decisions before awarding their attack, it was a well worked goalscoring move. In fact their Cochrane and Ashton were the two most effective players on the pitch. We seemed to run out of ideas and our touch and shooting continually let us down. Even Adie seemed to lose his composure after some poor early decisions, and was lucky not to be sent off. The rally in the final 15 minutes showed there was life in us after all, but it just had that inevitability that we were not going to score. It was a surprise when Murts came on that Ricky went off, and that even Watson did not get on to replace Harper, who was ineffective throughout. The problem however is goals. When Fozzy is either less than top form or kept out of the game by the opposition tactics, we just seem to have too few options.
Ian Glendinning

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