MATCH REPORT: 2006/2007 Season

2 December 2006: FA PREMIER LEAGUE
Reading: Doyle (33 mins).
Bolton: -
Half Time: 1-0
Attendance: 23,556

Pos Team P Pts GD
5 Liverpool 16 25 +4
6 READING 15 25 -1
7 A Villa 16 24 +4
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Oster (Gunnarsson 87), Sidwell, Harper, Hunt, Doyle, Ki-Hyeon (Lita 76). Subs Not Used: Federici, Bikey, Long.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Hunt, Faye, Meite, Ben Haim (Pedersen 85), Davies, Nolan, Giannakopoulos, Speed (Campo 60), Diouf (Vaz Te 60), Anelka. Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Tal.
Reading: -
Bolton: Nolan, Ben Haim, Jaaskelainen.
Ref: A Wiley (Staffordshire).
Reading made it four straight Premiership victories with another impressive performance - this time beating Bolton to move back up to sixth in the table - level on points with third placed Arsenal. The Royals played the better football throughout the afternoon, made the better chances, and played much fairer and were excellent value for their win. Bolton were given little space to play the ball and struggled to break through. Down the other end they struggled to contain Reading's forward line that was heavily assisted by a superb performance from Oster who started his first Premiership game for Reading. Reading could have won by more but the decisive goal once more came from the boot of Kevin Doyle. It was top drawer team combination that led to the goal - much like the performance across the ninety minutes. Nicky Shorey did well to beat his man and cross from the left to Oster on the right. Oster cut past his marker and into the area before playing a perfect cross between defenders to Doyle at the far post. Doyle's header matched the move as he powered it across the goal and into the back of the net.

Following report from John Wells:
Reading's confidence and status continues to grow with yet another fine home performance. The winning goal came from the prolific Kevin Doyle after thirty-four minutes following a move of true Premiership quality. It gave Reading a deserved three points against a team regarded as one of the stronger and more established clubs in the division. Reading played the more enterprising and controlled football throughout. Bolton's direct approach was nowhere near subtle enough to trouble Reading in their current run of good form.

From the outset Reading played with a fluidity and confidence that has grown with their recent success. Bolton gave the Reading defence a few problems in the air with Davies winning a fair share of long clearances from Jaaskelainen. Nolan threatened with some well timed runs from midfield but Hahnemann was rarely troubled. Harper shot narrowly wide from outside the area on four minutes as Reading put the visitors under pressure. Several promising situations ended with a loose final pass. With Little missing through injury Oster seized his opportunity to make his mark with an outstanding first half display on the right of midfield. He looked assured in possession, passed the ball superbly, and was full of energy. Ingamarsson had a good chance to open the scoring when he was first to meet an Oster corner at the near post but the ball was deflected over.

Reading's goal came about when Storey slipped past his marker and switched the play to the right with long ball to Oster. Oster's close control and shimmy gave him the space for a beautifully flighted cross to the far post where Doyle had pulled away to meet it with a carefully placed header back across the 'keeper just inside the post. The main source of entertainment in the remaining period up to half time cane from Kingsley as he imitated Diouf's pathetic dive which the referee correctly ignored.

The second half was fast and open. Bolton pressed forward more frequently and Reading absorbed their pressure and broke out with some intelligent and controlled football. It was good to watch. Hunt wriggled past his man to set up Oster with a good scoring opportunity but he lost composure and hoofed over by some distance. At the other end a scramble in the box gave Nolan a sight of goal but he dragged his shot wide. Shorey looking very assured, and getting forward frequently into good positions, hit an excellent shot just over from outside the box.

As time ticked away Bolton became more desperate and supplemented their main ploy, the long throw, with some over robust challenges which might have earned more yellow cards than they actually received. Davies and Nolan were the main culprits. Lita came on for a weary looking Seol and won headers with some amazingly high and well-timed leaps. He almost finished Bolton off when he beat the offside trap and hit a great low shot which was well saved. Bolton continued to bombard Reading with long throws and Jaaskelainen even joined the last desperate onslaught. The Bolton 'keeper capped his performance with a foul on Hahnemann as he attempted to throw the ball upfied towards the unguarded net. The booking was seen as lenient by many but probably fair.

There was some flattering talk of european football on the radio after the game, but thankfully not from Coppell, he's far too sensible for that. I am however beginning to wonder just how much this current squad can achieve this season.

For my money this was one of the most accomplished and solid Reading performances I have seen in a long while. It is truly difficult to find fault with any member of today's line-up, who totally controlled the game against a very good side. My only gripe was that Diouf was taken off: he was having such a poor game it was to our benefit that he was on the field, and at the same time he provided us with someone to shout at! Man-of-the-match was clearly John Oster who was superb throughout. Lest we forget, only a year ago he was hardly the most popular Reading player and often had us all wondering, and exasperated, at what we were doing playing him. His experience in the Premiership is now proving invaluable, however, and Coppell's foresight in bringing him into the squad (presumably on the basis that he would come good if we made the Premiership) cannot be applauded enough.
Kris, Muswell Hill

It's games like these which will determine whether we stay in this league at the end of the season. Even though Bolton are flying high, they'd already lost at Charlton and we had to be at our tenacious best to get the three points. Doyle again led the line well, the midfield purred as normal but Johnny Ostler shone like a beacon in Glen's absence. Not sure Seol is working in the middle but heh three more points and on we march

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