BRISTOL CITY 3 READING 1 Attendance: 8,946
Scorers: Caskey Date: 4 December 1999
Team: Howie, Bernal, Primus, Polston, Grant (Lisbie), Murty, Gurney, Evers (Smith), Caskey, McIntyre, Williams.

Audio: Supplied By Classic Gold
1-0 : City take the lead
2-0: City make it 2-0
2-1: Caskey scores from a free-kick
3-1: City restore their two goal lead

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Report from the Reading Evening Post:

ALAN PARDEW described his side as “a little boys team” after watching Reading slump to a 3-1 defeat at fellow strugglers Bristol City on Saturday.

The frustrated manager also bemoaned his lack of firepower as Royals again squandered a string of chances with some poor finishing. Bristol City grabbed the lead on the stroke of half time when Steve Torpey crashed home a superb opener from the edge of the box. And that was doubled five minutes after the restart when sloppy defending allowed Shaun Taylor to fire home after Royals failed to clear a corner.

Reading looked dead and buried until midfield ace Darren Caskey cracked home a superb 30-yard free-kick six minutes later. But Royals’ powder puff attack failed to capitalise on a good spell and Peter Beadle wrapped it up with City’s third goal on the break.

A disappointed Pardew said: “I’ve got to be honest and say I thought Bristol City deserved to win. “It is clear to everyone there are big problems and we need some sort of injection. “We’re just not scoring and I couldn’t see us scoring from open play. “We were creating chances but we never looked like we were going to get on the end of them. “When Caskey scored I thought we could get something from the game and I introduced Kevin Lisbie, who looked sharp and we went to a 4-4-2 and looked a bit better. “Then Caskey made a wrong decision, giving away the ball, they catch us on the break and get a third.” “I’ve been frank with my players and I told them they lost the battle. Bristol City looked bigger and stronger than us and I need strong players. “We made basic errors and then when we have a good spell we don’t look like scoring and that’s a real worry. “We never got the ball down and when we did manage to it was disappointing.”

Pardew also felt that Royals missed midfield battler Phil Parkinson. “Although he hasn’t been playing well, if you take him out we look like a little boys’ team and it’s just not acceptable.” The league table doesn’t lie and Reading’s lowly position of 20th reflects the way the tea m have been playing.

It is clear that a new striker at the very least is needed before it is too late. Graham Potter and Andy Gurney among others delivered plenty of crosses for the strikers and Royals had a staggering 15 efforts on goal but only five were on target. Pardew added: “I haven’t really said too much about what I need because I made that request privately to the board. “But we have real problems here and if something isn’t done we’ll be in real trouble. “We’re not even halfway through the season and we’re talking about relegation and that can’t be right. “I’m under no illusions as to how hard this job is going to be, everybody in the game knew how hard it would be. “I’ll take my share of the blame but I still believe I can get it right.”

Booked: Caskey, Gurney, McIntyre.

Post Match Opinions

As I am presently living in Bristol I am well aware of the similarities between City and Reading. I also went to the game with a Milwall supporter and a Rovers supporter who show the other side of the second division; smaller teams with less money doing well. When it came down to it Reading, despite the money we have spent were out battled in every department. This was shown by the Reading midfield who were replaced to no avail. Millwall use youngsters who care and they thashed us, Rovers have a great team spirit and they thrashed us. Pardew has to realise that players like Grant will get us nowhere. On the positive side, Potter has a great left foot (although he seems to be very weak in the tackle), and Lisbie could be very dangerous given the right oppertunities. Roll on Pants day! -- Peter Griffiths

The difference after Caskey had scored was a revelation; it showed what we could do with a bit of confidence; for the first time we moved the ball fast and accurately across the pitch and opened up space. Its true we didnt score during this phase (up until we slowed up on the edge of their box passed it too many times,lost it and gave away the winner) but we made chances! We thought Potter was our best player and Howie produced a good display. Considering the overall display the support was very good; loud and positive. Oh to have Forster fit and back! -- Rupert and Patrick Cox

This season neither of the teams have been able to score. Reading have constantly changed strikers, using five different ones, and used differing formations, resulting in a lack of consistency and confidence. City, however, have stuck on the whole to 442, with occasional use of 352, and as a result their team, despite being full of second rate players - Torpey, Beadle, Jones amongst others, has become awre of their respective roles. This is the result od determined, hard-handed management, and grit from existing players. as a result they are above us in the league and clear of the relegatio battle. Pardew ought to learm from Pulis. -- Charlie Gidney

Total crap,no passion no desire no bloody points.We left after 50 minutes it was so poor.
Where do we go from here ?
-- Russ Chinn

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