MATCH REPORT: 2004/2005 Season

Reading: -
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 15,400

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 Wigan 12 24 +14
2 READING 12 23 +6
3 QPR 12 23 +4
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Brooker (Convey 72), Sidwell, Harper, Hughes (Little 69), Kitson, Forster (Goater 78). Subs Not Used: Young, Newman.
Burnley: Coyne, Duff, Camara, McGreal, Sinclair, Valois, Chaplow, Hyde, Branch, Blake, Moore. Subs Not Used: Jensen, O'Neill, Grant, Duffy, Sanokho.
Reading: Sidwell, Kitson.
Camara, Duff.
Referee: A Penn (W Midlands).

Burnley have now only conceded one goal in six away games, and after today's game it is easy to understand why. They get men behind the ball, they keep a tight formation, and they are neat and careful with their passing. I just feel sorry for the Burnley fans having to watch it every week! They have the perfect formula to stay exactly where they are - mid table. Not good enough to go up, but not bad enough to go down. For Reading, today was a missed opportunity to consolidate their position as league leaders. Hard as they tried they did not have the quality in their play throughout the team to break down their opponents defensive barrier.

The game was fairly subdued from the start with Kitson showing his usual composure and good use of the ball, but there was no real pressure on either defence. The first real chance fell to Kitson who beat the offside trap(possibly!)and seemed top have skilfully worked a clear scoring chance but was unable to apply the finish. Forster got behind the defence shortly after but his cross came to nothing. Sonko, looking powerful in the air, had a header on target from a corner. Reading's best opportunity to make the breakthrough was lost when Forster failed to slip an easy ball to Sidwell breaking from midfield having drawn the last defender. Instead of providing Sidders with a clear strike on goal he decided to take on the last man and failed to hit the target. I know it isn't Coppell's style to give players a bollocking but he deserved one for that!

Midway through the half we had torrential rain, and Burnley's first shot on target, which Hahnemann held well given the conditions. After the monsoon Sonko got flustered and almost gave Burnley the lead by losing possession outside his own area. This was followed by a long range pile driver from Kitson which must have been close judging by the oohs. I couldn't tell from where I was sitting.

The second half was similar to the first except Burnley looked more threatening on the break as Reading pressed forward. Coyne, who seemed to punt the ball into the crowd every time he touched it, saved with his legs from Forster from a good position wide on the left. Kitson was hauled down as he got round the back of the defence indicating Burnley,s intent to restrict openings by fair means or foul. The crowd tried to lift the Royals, and Coppell attempted to freshen up the attack by swapping Little for Hughes, Convey for Brooker, and Goater for Forster. None of the subs made a significant impact. Blake was being a nuisance for Burnley up front but never really looked like scoring. Hahnemann had another of his moments of indecision and retreated when he looked better placed to come and claim the ball creating a rare chance for the Clarets. Fortunately he compensated with a good save and was lucky to have Sonko close by to tidy up for him. Kitson, probably feeling frustrated, knocked the ball into the net with his hand earning himself a booking. With six minutes to go Kitson got behind the defence again, this time on the right, and cut the ball back for Harper who failed to strike the ball with sufficient power or accuracy and his shot was blocked. At that point I got the feeling it was not going to be our day.
Report by John Wells


Lots of effort but lacking that bit of subtlety and class. It was said before the game that Burnley had a very good defensive shape and that is what they showed. From a Reading point of view it was disappointing that we could not break them down, but that was how it was. Forster might have scored and should have hit the target on one occasion and Kitson had a few good efforts. He did get the ball in the net, but was deservedly booked for a clear handball which the ref. didn't see initially! It was a day when we needed the flair in the team to work and it didn't. Forster was quiet, Brooker ineffective and the man most likely to create was the much maligned Andy Hughes who had another good game. Not even the introduction of Convey, Goater and Little could change anything. At the back we looked solid. Sonko was outstanding in the air and made some good tackles - distribution comes later! The other four all had solid games. In fact all over the park we were solid but today that just was not quite good enough, but what an outstanding start to the season because we should get better and better as the Kitson Forster partnership progresses and as Little begins to create a bit more. Come on you Royals.
Ken C

There was an air of inevitability that this game was going to be a fairly boring 0-0 early on with us having the chance to stay top for a couple of weeks being no games next week. Burnley came for a 0-0 and duly left after Reading failed to break them down and generally huffed and puffed without really producing many decent chances.Considering we were top of the league the atmosphere was very subdued and the game felt more like a mid table game . Nobody really stood out for Reading though how ironic that poor ol Hughsie was having his best game for a while only to be substituted, but it may have been worth it for the ovation he got has he left the pitch, that'll do him no harm at all . Little who replaced him did ok but squandered a glorious chance with some sort of weird high tiller girl kick when he had loads of time to score. Nicky Forster ! Now I like most think he's a great player and scores some wonderful goals , but Coppell has to sit him down and tell him he can't score every time, he has team mates and it's about the team not him and stop being a greedy pig ! There was a classic in the first half with Sidwell screaming for the ball square and in loads of space with a golden chance but greedy Fossie blasted it over , not good at all. Finally Bobby Convey, 800,000! Ok I know it's early days but he looks like a toddler lost in a busy Tesco! There's a story that Coppell bought him having seen a video of him playing, must have been in the Teletubbies Football special. The lad looks like he needs lot of time to get used to the pace of our game and is lacking the confidence to go past players but 800,000! Those who have a go at Hughsey should think who's they rather have in the team should it come to a blood and thunder of a game like many we have coming up. So a break for two weeks then back with a toughie at Stoke followed by Leeds at home, if that don't get the Mad Stad packed and all of us excited nothing will... URRZ.
Nick Newbury

This was the kind of game we've seen too many times at home; a well organised and physical side come to defend and grind out a draw and Reading are unable to create anything to find a way through. In the end, it would've taken our own version of the 'hand of God' (or Kitson to be more accurate), or the almighty himself to zap Forster into PASSING to his unmarked team mate (Sidwell in this particular instance) rather than trying the spectacular to get us all 3 points. Still, Reading remain unbeaten at home only 1 point off top spot. And that's something you can forgive the odd 'bore-draw' for. As long as it's not repeated too soon....
Caversham Royal

This was a clear demonstration of a very well organised side and able to grind out a result at a cost of uninventive football. It will achieve survival in this Division but not gain many friends despite our Managers persistence in once again this season patrionising the opposition management as if us stalwart supporters are suppose to take comfort from such deliberations! We must however remain very positve as we still look good going forward and our suad temperament is clearly very supportive as a team despite Fozzeys over zealous actions in front of goal when all he need do is look up and take the simple pass option to his attacking teamates who will surely repay the compliment. Now is the time to resist most strongly anything to disturb this postive squad and it will remain to be seen if the lure of a fat transfer fee receipt for inform Dave Kitson or stability for home grown Adie Williams will destroy all our dreams this season on the back of some cynical management retort that no one player makes a team. However we all know from past experience such distruption usually creates an unasaleble position and in our case goodbye to our playoff dreams.
Terry, Isle of Wight.

Apart from the driving rain which drenched all rows A-H this was a highly uneventful game. My highlights were the supremacy of Sonko at the back. What power in the air that defied Burnley's attack. An attack I feel has been reviewed rather harshly so far. They were certainly more threatening in the second half and we were lucky not to have conceded on two occasions. Yes teams come here and are defensive. For them it is an away game and we are a class side. They are going to defend. Deal with it! If we are to progress we must learn to be physically stronger and capitalise on our chances. The miss by Sidwell was a crime! The miss hit by Little was laughable! But there was good to build upon. We ran the majority of the game only fading away in the last 20 minutes. Bobby Convey - what can I say - we must buy better to be a Premiership side!
Pastor Andy Phillips

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