READING 2 BOURNEMOUTH 2 (Half Time: 1-0)
Cureton (5 mins), Hughes (80 mins).
Bournemouth Scorers: Hayter (48 mins), Holmes (71 mins).
5 March 2002
Reading: Whitehead, Murty, Viveash (Rougier 81), Mackie, Shorey, Igoe, Parkinson (Harper 69), Hughes, Salako, Cureton, Forster (Henderson 45). Subs not used: Ashdown, Williams.
Bournemouth: Stewart, Young (McAnespie 84), Howe, Maher, Purches, Elliott, Tindall, O'Connor, Hayter, Holmes, Feeney. Subs not used: Menetrier, Thomas, Ford.
I'm sure everyone would have expected a win from tonight's game against an out-of-form Bournemouth side deep in relegation trouble. We'd had a minor slip up against Cambridge United on Saturday - after only managing a draw at their place. Tonight was the night to make up for it and pull off a win to set us up for the massive promotion showdown at the Madejski against Brighton and Hove Albion. During the first half it looked like we'd thrash Bournemouth, but that quickly slipped away, and we nearly managed to get nothing from this game which seemed like such a straight forward victory on paper. We needed Bournemouth to miss a penalty in the dying moments to take the point, and we needed a Reading goal ten minutes from time to pull level after going 1-2 down with less than twenty minutes to play.
Reading started brightly. And continued that way for at least the opening thirty to forty minutes. We were playing some good football and creating chance after chance. It seemed to be a matter of how many we'd win by rather that if we would win. Jamie Cureton gave Reading the lead after just five minutes after the Royals won a free-kick on the edge of the area, just on the left. The free-kick hit the top of the wall and was deflected into the top of the Bournemouth net. A fortunate goal, but they all count, and Reading were 1-0 up. Nicky Shorey could have twice added to the score. Twice he hit excellent long range shots - once the keeper pulled off an excellent save, and the second attempt found the top of the crossbar rather than the roof of the net.
Jamie Cureton could have made it two after being put clean through on the right. Cureton broke into the area and probably should have taken it closer, but shot early and put it wide. Reading looked dangerous and put in some decent crosses that caused plenty of problems in the Bournemouth defence. However, we failed to take the chances when it only needed someone to put a foot on it to steer it into the net. We were doing everything right with some fast attacking football and a real willingness to shoot, until it all dried up just before the break as Bournemouth got their defence sorted out. We stopped breaking through and Bournemouth seemed to be able to cope all of a sudden - successfully defending in numbers.
The away side then turned strong defending into attack and could have pulled level before the break when they broke and Whitehead needed to save well to his left from a strong shot just inside the area. Bournemouth's recovery continued into the second half when they did equalise with the Reading defence looking more than a bit uncomfortable. Reading's pattern had gone. Bournemouth started to enjoy the vast majority of possession, as Reading played some poor balls forward in the air rather than play the good on-the-floor football that had served us so well earlier in the game. The introduction of Henderson at half time probably had a lot to do with this as we continually pumped the ball high into the box - rather hopefully - rather than play it along the wings.
The Bournemouth defence easily cut out our balls forward in the middle and gratefully picked up the ball to play it forward. With Parkinson replaced by Harper we lost our ability to win the ball back, and Bournemouth took full advantage to start playing the ball around on the floor themselves and press forward. It was no suprise when they took the lead with twenty minutes left, when a corner from the left was headed on at the near post and into the net.
Bournemouth taking the lead brought Reading back to life a bit, and hope was restored with ten minutes left to play when Henderson at last managed to win a ball with his head and Salako took the ball deep inside the Bournemouth area on the left. Salako kept it in play and pulled it back for Hughes to head home at the far post. A well taken, well worked goal, and 2-2.
Reading clearly wanted to win the game still after pulling level. The clearest sign you could ask for was Rougier coming on for Viveash. Time to stop defending and pile forward looking for the goal. It looked like it might happen until Bournemouth took advantage of Reading's weakened defence and broke forward. Mackie lost his man and seemed to bring him down from behind as he charged into the box. It was always going to be a penalty. We didn't expect Whitehead to save his second penalty in two games - but luckily he didn't have to. The resulting penalty was blasted well over the crossbar, and the score remained 2-2.
Deep in injury time Reading could have sneaked the win. Cureton broke down
the left, beat a couple of players and fired a superb dipping shot towards the
goal. The shot beat the keeper and looked to be dipping in, but came out off
the crossbar, and it was Bournemouth that were allowed to hang on for the point.
Reading had more corners, more shots, and probably more of the ball over the
ninety minutes, but the second half display made you grateful that we'd managed
to take the point. One thing's for certain - we need a better performance across
the ninety minutes against Brighton.
Following report from John Wells:
For the second time in four days Reading fought back to salvage a point from a team struggling at the bottom of the table. It is very heartening to see the determination and resilience in the side, but at the same time very worrying that we are finding it so hard to take maximum points from poorer sides. As I said on Saturday, I would rather see three points and less excitement in the current situation.
This evening the Royals started in fine form. Bournemouth couldn't get out of their own half as Reading forced them to play the ball square and back. When in possession they were carving out chance after chance. Cureton opened the scoring after four minutes when his free kick was deflected past Stewart off the Bournemouth defensive wall. Igoe had a shot blocked after an excellent passing move had opened up the Bournemouth defence. Cureton had a fine header well saved. Hughes wasted a good chance after Salako had found him unmarked on the edge of the area. Shorey struck a superb shot from twenty yards which was again well saved by Stewart. A minute later Shorey thumped another shot against the bar from a similar distance. It was all Reading but I was beginning to feel the second goal should have been scored in that spell. The Royals then seemed to run out of steam as Bournemouth enjoyed a ten minute period of possession just before half time during which they produced their first serious strike, a volley by O'Connor, which flew just over the bar.
At half time Forster was replaced by Henderson which was probably due to the injury Forster had picked up on Saturday. Bournemouth came out a different team after the interval and Viveash was left struggling for pace against Feeney who cut the ball back for Holmes. Fortunately his finish was poor and the ball struck Whitehead's legs and then Hayter blazed the ball over. Reading were lucky to still be ahead. Their luck ran out two minutes later when Viveash failed to control a ball which Hayter struck sweetly into the corner of the net from twenty yards. Reading were looking very ragged and the crowd had gone quiet.
Reading rallied briefly but were Bournemouth were looking very dangerous on the break. Salako hit a good shot after cutting inside, but Stewart saved well, and Igoe failed to get his shot away quickly enough when put clean through by Hughes. Viveash looked very vulnerable when Feeney (or anyone else for that matter) was running at him. A second goal for Bournemouth was looking likely. Harper came on for Parkinson which was probably a good idea as Parky was looking jaded and had started passing the ball consistently to Bournemouth players! Reading were very lucky not to have a penalty awarded against them when there appeared to be a deliberate hand ball. The reprieve was only brief as Bournemouth took the lead a minute later when Holmes headed home from a corner.
The ground erupted with a relieved roar when Hughes headed an equaliser with
about ten minutes left to play. The whole team were clearly desperate to win
this game. Pardew then made an admirably bold move by taking off Viveash and
sending on Rougier leaving only three at the back. It was as clear a statement
of intent to try and win the game as he could have made and
Rougier certainly livened up proceedings even further taking players on and creating an even greater sense of urgency. Then as time was running out Shorey stumbled leaving Feeney in the clear. His progress was halted by Mackie who bundled him over in the area realising he was not going to catch him. He was lucky not to be booked or sent off. I buried my head in my hands
in despair only to look up and see Elliot blaze the ball over the bar. Luck was really on our side - or was it. In stoppage (and Bournemouth's time-wasting) time Cureton worked his way into the area and curled in a superb shot which struck the bar. It would have been great goal and a great injustice to Bournemouth.
I don't know why or how Bournemouth got back into this game but they should have been buried by half time. Great goalkeeping and poor finishing had a lot to do with it. There were some good performances tonight but I was particularly impressed with Cureton. Although he missed good chance when left with just Stewart to beat in the first half, he still looked the most likely player to score, but tonight he was also prepared to work hard and be much more aggressive in competing for possession. On this form there no question about his inclusion in the starting line up.
Today's performance raises a number of questions. Will Adie Williams be back
against Brighton? Will we go up as champions? Will we drop in to the play-off
positions now that Stoke are hard on our heels? Who was the phantom pie thrower?
I must say I share the concerns of the officials about the pies, although the
referee's assistant should be grateful that he didn't have to eat the thing!
( I trust no serious injury was inflicted by the savoury missile.) Personally
I think custard pies are more in keeping with
the decisions that have been made by some of the officials I've seen this season.
Post Match Opinions
This is all about opinions, so here goes... this was a dreadful performance
from Reading tonight against a team who are rock bottom of the current
form table and have won just once in the last 18 games. When the early
goal went in and for the next twenty minutes we bombarded the Bournemouth
goal we were all thinking here we go.
Well so much for the doom and gloom merchants who thought we'd lose
to the mighty Bournemouth! A solid draw against the odds (after all, every
team that comes to the Madejski has the advantage of being guaranteed
to play above itself because it's such a wonderful venue) sees us right
on course for a play off place against Huddersfield.
It is about this time of year that we all have to remember that we
are Reading fans. Our ability to screw up at the final hurdle is what
binds us all together.
This was a major disappointment, make no mistake.
Ok I'm sure everyone agreed that we totally tore them apart in the
first 30 mins... then I bet when BFC went in half time only a goal down
they knew they could come back... and that exactly what happened. It must
be nerves coming into play. If it bad enough for the players, what's it
like for us fans! Does anyone think that since Salako officially signed
for us he hasn't been the same player since? Take tonight game for example...
his crossing was appalling albeit one decent cross to Hughes' goal...
plus if Forster wasn't 100% fit why risk him? Wouldn't it have been better
that he been rested for Saturday's vital crunch game? Let hope that the
last 2 games serves up as a wake up call to the players and realized they
got to work at it till the very end until promotion assured. Ok at least
it a point we got tonight and Brighton did draw with them last week so
it not a disaster. Another 8 games to go. Let get behind them starting
with Brighton who? It ain't over till the fat lady sings......URZ!
I often read the opinons here with interest, but do not very often
submit my own. But tonight was in my view so disappointing that I have
to give my thoughts.
HNA, Oh dear.. So many things worry me about the game last night.
I have hardly slept & I just can't bear to see us throw it away again
What entertainment, what a thriller, but what we really needed was
It all started so well, and almost ended a disaster.
We Reading fans have had decades of training in pessimism and are
expert moaners so it's no surprise to see the comments this morning. Shame
because it was a tremendous game of football - as has become a tradition
for this fixture (Bournemouth, we'll miss you next season). After such
a start it is a mystery why we didn't stuff them. We have quality players
throughout the squad but it is not just skill that wins games and last
night's problem seemed to be a psychological one. The team kept trying
the quick one-touch stuff and then got despondent when it didn't come
off. After their first goal, we needed someone out there to calm things
down but the touchline exhortations seemed to be the opposite. When we
did keep possession and moved the ball around we always made Bournemouth
look poor, even in the second half. I agree with the argument that bringing
Henderson on encouraged his use as a target man. Lobbing the ball hopefully
up to him wasted a lot of possession- although it did lead to the equaliser.
However, we wouldn't have needed an equaliser if only we had kept possession.
The message for fans, team and particularly the team management is DON'T
PANIC! I sometimes think it doesn't help to talk up a game ('massive';
'six pointer' and so on). Sometimes it may be better to take the pressure
off a bit.
It's good to see other correspondents on here acknowledging the fact
that, at times last night, Bournemouth played us off the park - and credit
where credit is due most especially to their number five who was outstanding.
Perhaps the moron sat next to my son and I in the North Stand last night
who unleashed more invective on both teams than was necesary or warranted
should note that. Is it impossible to give praise when praise is due?
Or is raining down continuous criticsm the way the world is moving forward
- oh, how I hope not. Was last night a point gained or two dropped? On
balance, most probably the latter since we should have won comfortably.
That we didn't was (in my view) down to one factor - they were hungrier
and, having gone a goal down inside five minutes didn't allow their heads
I am having an interesting football week. Tuesday, Royals v Bournemouth,
Wednesday, Man Utd V Spurs. Others have said everything I thought about
Reading's performance but I wanted to share something I saw at Old Trafford.
Man U stuffed Spurs 4 - 0. Spurs were down to 10 men after about 30 minutes.
All through this, the Spurs Fans were magnificent. They sang and clapped
for the full 90 minutes, refusing to be down beat as the inevitable stuffing
became more obvious. Man U were 4 - 0 up with 10 minutes to go and the
Reds faithful were starting to leave in droves but still, Tottenham sang
and none of them left early. None of this helped Spurs perhaps because
there were about 3000 of them and 65000 MU fans but my point is these
were true supporters.
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