As if we needed any more evidence it was out there today - the fun in watching Reading Football Club is back. Last weeks set-back up at Chesterfield was well and truly forgotten as Reading continued their impressive form of the last few months, to easily dispose of a Bournemouth side who were clearly second best on the day. The fans are doing their bit and the players are responding by putting together the results the fans deserve. The Beach Party was a fantastic success creating a great atmosphere across the ground. The forcast of possible snow showers didn't put many off and hundreds of people could be seen cheering on the Royals in their Hawaiian shirts and shorts. As the team came out balloons, beach balls, inflatable sharks and rubber rings bounced all around the crowd. Speaking after the game Alan Pardew sung the praises of the crowd saying it was like having a twelth player out there on the pitch. If the progress at Reading Football Club both on and off the pitch continues at this rate, then next season we'll be right at the top of the table playing to regular crowds of over 15,000 cheering the Royals to victory.
The crowd may have been a little disappointing - almost half of the target - but it was still a huge gate for a game such as this when our average this season is 3,000 less. Everyone that was there was determined to create a good atmosphere - and that must have rubbed off on the players. With everyone well in party mood, and the beard band banging out footie tunes we were given the icing on the cake as early as the third minute when Darren Caskey gave Reading an early lead. We won a free kick on the edge of the box, just left of centre. Caskey stepped up and fired the ball towards the left side of the net, the keeper must have been unsighted and failed to move, and the ball was in the back of the net. 1-0 to Reading, and a dream start.
Despite going a goal down so quickly Bournemouth failed to take the game to Reading to try and get level - in fact the away side had still failed to get a single shot on target when Reading made it 2-0 with about half an hour gone. Reading won a corner on the right which was played high into the box by Caskey. Williams just inside the box on the right headed it on into the six yard box where Forster was waiting with a crowd of players. Forster got the touch and sent the ball past the keeper from close range to make it 2-0. Cue mass celebration across the whole ground - apart from silence within the 1,500 travelling fans in the South Stand.
Bournemouth continued to have most of the ball - but do nothing with it. Reading were more than happy to let Bournemouth play it around before making the tackle when needed - or just pick up the ball following a poor Bournemouth ball. Howie had very little to do during the first half with a solid defence keeping the ball out. It was a real team performance from Reading with the midfield, despite being without the injured Phil Parkinson, tackling hard, marking hard, and giving Bournemouth little options when trying to move forward. Before the half time whistle it was Reading who could have had another goal - an on-target Butler shot from inside the area was right next to the keeper allowing him to save from close range.
The second half followed the same pattern with Bournemouth getting a fair bit of possession but rarely being able to create any chances to trouble Howie. When Bournemouth did break into the Reading box we had Howie, Robinson and Williams to thank - Howie made some great saves and the defence some last ditch tackles in the area timed to perfection. Bournemouth came closest with two shots in a row which brought a double save from Scott Howie.
Down the other end Forster really should have added to his first half goal by completing a hat-trick. Once he was clean through after running onto a ball just inside the Bournemouth half. He took it right to the edge of the area where he found the keeper charging off his line to meet him. Instead of taking it round him, Forster shot - and the keeper was close enough to make the save right on the edge of his area. In another incident the ball was crossed from the right, across the face of goal, finding Forster just a few yards out. Unfortunately he didn't connect properly and the ball went sailing high over the crossbar to safety. Forster will be annoyed that he hadn't made it 3-0 or even 4-0 to Reading - but he deserves the credit for working the chances even though they weren't finished off.
At the final whistle it was great to see the whole team come over to salute the home fans - a rare sight at the Madejski Stadium. The supporters are feeding the team, the team are feeding the supporters. It's a winning forumla without a doubt.
Reading move further clear of the relegation positions...
Inflatable sharks, rubber rings, Hawiian shirts...
The whole ground in party mood...
Gurney is given plenty of options...not...
The beard band...
Fans getting in the mood...
And Kingsley in beach wear...
Appreciation is shown for Caskey's opener!
Post Match Opinions
win for ages.They were so poor, that their own fans were abusing them.
I can't criticise any of our players. Howie played well again,we were
in control at the back. Williams was much better,Peter Grant was superb
he tackled very strongly. Caskey was the playmaker as usual and scored
a brilliant freekick (Beckham watch and learn) the front two were much
too good for them. I'd like to see Butler score at home he seemed to be
getting a bit frustrated but his link up play with Forster was excellent.
A big noisy crowd as well (considering the opposition and league positions).
knew things could only get better when the bus at the Rose & Thistle was
late & we could down a few more pints. The band were superb & really added
to the atmosphere - I'm still humming the theme tune from the Great Escape
even now, 24hrs later! My highlight had to be Caskey's goal in the first
3 mins - that's it - we showed those beach bums where to shove their candy
floss & red flags! Bring on Oxford. P.S. Nice to see myself smack bang
in the middle of the crowd photo - the one next to that orange bloke.
have been a regular subscriber to the opinions pages since they were introduced,
this is an excellent way to have a say outside of the MAD House, booing
players never really achieved anything positive. What is making a difference
is the themed matches, the atmosphere created by the beach party on Saturday,
in conjunction with the band, was really great, the drummers especially
should become a fixture. The 'MAD House' is becoming a great venue to
spend a Saturday afternoon, the football isn't too bad now either!
done URZ! You've done a brilliant job in changing the atmosphere. Madejski
Stadium is at last beginning to feel like home.
were poor....no, Bournemouth were very poor. They were perhaps the worst
team to have played the Mad Stad this season. A 2-0 win flatters the match.
It was a good show from the Royals in that they did just enough to ensure
the victory. Bournemouth had a lot of posession, and the ball got stuck
in the middle of the park too much. Bournemouth seemed unable to create
any telling passes, or show any finesse in front of goal. Had they been
on top of their game, the story may well have been different. As it was
we were able to let Bournemouth fiddle around in the middle and then nick
the ball of them when it began to get dangerous.
the hell is happening to us? A third 2-0 home victory in a row, and in
each of the games is could and should have been more. it was good to see
Ade Williams back at the heart of the royals defense and he had a good
solid home re-debut. it would be a good bit of business if we could get
him on a free at the end of the season, and if linvoy signs a new contract
him and Ade in the centre of defense will be a formidable partnership.
All round the team played well and with confidense, though that was help
by being 1-0 up within 3 mins, after a sublime beckham-esque 25 yarder
from super darren caskey, who had a good game dispite him having a dodgy
foot. Nickey and Butler up front are looking better and better with every
game that they play,a dn don't ask me how nivkey didn't get a hit-trick,
maybe it just wasn't his day. Howie again is looking good, and it was
good to see whitehead back on the bench so that there is now some competition
for that position. Peter Grant filled Parky's boots well and it was sad
to see him stretchered off toward the end of the game, as both him and
parky in the center of midfield have been looking solid. i can't help
thinking though that Ade would have been a better captian choice, rather
than caskey, but hey, who's complaining. Lets jsut hope we can get oxford
back for the defeat earlier on in the season, by kicking their ass tomorrow
night at The Manor. Come on URZ !!!!
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