MATCH REPORT: 2002/2003 Season

Reading: Kenton (own goal, 74 mins)
Norwich City: -
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 18,917

DIVISION ONE  5 Mar 2003
Pos Team P Pts GD
2 Leicester 35 70 +26
3 READING 35 61 +12
4 Nottm F 34 58 +26
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Mackie, Williams (Viveash 36), Shorey, Chadwick, Hughes, Harper, Sidwell, Tyson (Salako 78), Forster (Henderson 90). Subs not used: Ashdown, Watson.
Norwich City:
Green, Nedergaard, Mackay, Kenton, Drury, Rivers, Mulryne, Holt, Easton (Russell 83), McVeigh (Nielsen 76), Abbey (Roberts 76). Subs not used: Crichton, Bromby.
Reading: None.
Norwich City:
Nedergaard, Easton.
Referee: S Baines (Derbyshire)

With Steve Brown out injured John Mackie started alongside Adrian Williams in the centre of defence - other changes saw the introduction of Nathan Tyson into the starting eleven with John Salako back on the bench. Otherwise Reading lined up as expected with Forster playing up front. The rare defensive pairing of Mackie and Williams became even more unusual after just thirty six minutes when Williams limped off to be replaced with Viveash - adding to Reading's worries about the availability of players to pick for the centre of defence. Viveash's appearance from the bench made it his first game of the season for the Royals, with his only action of the season coming during his loan spell at Oxford United in the Third Division earlier this season. Despite the problems in defence on paper Mackie and Viveash did well throughout the remainder of the first half as they restricted Norwich to mostly long range efforts as Reading managed to keep the scores level at half time.

The home side perhaps enjoyed the best of the first half possession with the majority of the ball but the balance of play was quite even. Despite Norwich having plenty of the ball they failed to really test Hahnemann in the Reading goal despite getting in a few shots. Early attempts saw the ball just over the Reading crossbar and just wide of the target. The most dangerous attempts of the first half belong to the Royals as they attempted to get the goal on the break. James Harper took advantage of a mistake in the Norwich defence with a first time hit shot that hit the inside of the Norwich post. Moments after that, just before the half time whistle, Nicky Forster was delivered the ball on the right and put in a shot that was just wide of the far post when he might have done better to cross to the lively Tyson who was steaming into the area looking to get on the scoresheet. The first half ended with City getting in another shot that was well over the Reading crossbar as they continued to look unlikely to break through.

After a limited amount of real goalmouth action during the opening forty five minutes and a lack of any real excitement, the second half got off to a livelier start. The first shot of the half belonged to Nathan Tyson who got in an early effort that was well wide. Norwich responded with another effort that sailed harmlessly wide of Hahnemann's goal. Norwich finally managed to get a shot in on target but Reading continued to look capable up front with Tyson and Forster both getting in shots that required the Norwich keeper to make a stop.

Reading continued to have the slight edge up front despite the otherwise even balance of the action. When Reading did get on the scoresheet it was no suprise to see Nathan Tyson involved in the goal. Reading took the lead with less than twenty minutes left to play when Nathan Tyson put in a dangerous cross into the Norwich area. With the ball just needing a touch to put it into the back of the net it came from the Norwich defender, Kenton, who nudged it into the back of the net from close range as he attempted to get in the way of the cross. 1-0 to the Royals, and a vital goal to cement Reading's position above Norwich in the play-off positions. With Tyson's job done he was replaced by Salako to help keep hold of the ball and the win.

WIth time running out Norwich failed to step up the pace to hunt for the equaliser and Reading started playing it around to play out time and take the three points with limited pressure. The home side lacked any real urgency until the dying few minutes when they managed a weak header but not much more than that. It might have taken an own goal to win the game but Reading deserved the win for looking the better of the two sides and having a slight edge throughout all departments. It certainly wasn't a classic game but this was a classic 1-0 away victory in many ways that puts us a step closer confirming our place in the First Division play-offs this season.

thatcham royal
What a difference a year makes. This time last year we couldn't buy a win. Now we have 5 wins in 6 games and sitting proudly as the 3rd best team outside the premier league. 12 points clear of 7th with 11 games to go. We probably only need 2 or 3 wins to guarantee the play offs.
During the game I switched to Sky Sports News & listened to the opinions or Dave Basset, Harry Redknap and Neil Warnock. They couldn't have been more patronising. Reading are only 3rd because the BIG clubs have underperformed. Clearly we have been gifted our position. So be it. If they take that attitude to the play offs that will handicap any opposition. By default, we can't lose. By just being there we will be overachieving, while the others will all fail unless they get promotion.
The question on Sky Sports was "have we just seen the next Premiership side"?
I'm starting to wonder that myself...
nick newbury
Pinch me, am I dreaming, it's not drugs, had a few beers I admit, so it must be true. Clear in third again. For the first time in my life I've just watched my beloved Reading Football Club live on Sky and nervously watched a magnificent away victory in yet another six pointer against Delia's boys. Ok first half was poo, but the second half we tore them apart and although we never found the net apart from the own goal there was only one team that was going to win. Couldn't make the game due to work and had to dash back from Leeds to watch the game on Sky, and on way home, hoped not only for a result of some sort, but the chance to show the watching public how far we have come, and how well we can play. I thought we did that in the second half with a super performance led by the magnificent James Harper. When Ade went off, I thought shit, we're on for it now, but Ade Viveash though not troubled much admirably stepped into breach and in typical manner left the field blooded but victorious.
What a great team performance tonight, so proud of the lads and the travelling fans. This amazing season really is turning into the stuff of dreams, when is it going to end? Look what we have to look forward to, Wolves and Forest at home and night games at that. The play offs all barring a disaster await and who knows what will happen, I've this amazingly strong feeling we are fated to play Wolves in the final, oh lordy.
The future looks bright, look at the average age of our players tonight, Pardew, you are a close to achieving icon status... Pardew out!!... and bollox to the manager of the month jinx... nice break before the big one next Wednesday. Lets hope for a full house and another night to remember against the Wolves.
Just one final thing, Tim Sherwood, a bloody muppet could have made a better contribution as a so called football pundit, what a plonker... UURRZZZ!!
caversham royal
A deserved win on the evidence of the 2nd half performance in particular. The midfield was much more effective than at Wimbledon, with a lot of good quick passing, an industrious performance from Harper and also a fair bit of closing down and tackling on our part. Credit too to Mackie and especially Viveash for doing so well in place of Brown, and then when Williams went off. Just a shame we didn't take the chances we created up until the o.g. Still, another good away win has been had.... Wolves are next. COME ON......
paul harris
Did anyone catch the so called experts speaking about Reading at the end of the Talk Sport Football programme on Wed night? Unfortunately??, I did not catch the names of the commentators involved, but the gist was that Reading had come too far too soon, had no class players, and could not hope to compete against Sheff Utd, Wolves and Ipswich or Forest in the Play Offs. I have been a Reading supporter for over 35 years and I have heard it all before. For whatever reason, some sections of the media despise us. Well, annoying though it may be, that's OK by me. Let the opposition write us of in the same manner. We have already, trounced Ipswich, beaten Woves and upset Sheff Utd. AND we are no strangers to the Play Offs. If we can avoid Forest in the first round, I reckon we may just do it. What we need are some convincing performances against the massive sides who we will play in the next few games. With regard to automatic promotion, I remember Reading being several points clear, (was it 9?) at the top of Div 2 around this time, or slightly earlier, last year. 'Many a slip' etc Leicester City.
darren hall
1-0 at Carrow Road, at the start of the season I would say a definite 0 pointer, c'mon we never get anything at places like Norwich do we, more chance of Ken Livingston getting honorary membership of the RAC so people thought. Well yet again it is a case of not any more, we were always the better side, once we got the goal, I love OGs in our favour, we killed the game, stroked the ball with ease and overall were never really in danger.
Quality, a totally professional performance. Given that we lost 1/2 of our regular defence today then that is a real testimony all the guys, but especially Mackie and Viveash came in and were giants, Norwich are certainly no mugs but King Al has fashioned a squad with such character and self belief that even me, Mr. Darren "i'll be happy to settle for 4th from bottom this season 6 months ago" Hall, is thinking of investing in a new A-Z to look up the best route to Highbury, Stamford Bridge and Upton Park (well 2 out of 3 anyway !!).
The Milton Keynes result was a minor blip, after all they have a long history of turning over the big boys (Liverpool '88, Reading '03) and 'arry Redknapp will also testify to that. So to bounce back for that, in what was a real 6-pointer, shows how far we have come, and more importantly how far we can go. I was in Aberdeen yesterday on business and even my taxi driver back to the hotel was commenting on what a season we were having, Christ there was a time not that long ago when I suspect most taxi drivers in Reading wouldn't of known we even had a local professional team, let alone how they were doing! Now 600 miles away the locals there are taking notice of Europe's in form team.
The gospel according to Pards it seems, knows no bounds and in a season that surpasses all expectation, the boys keep raising the standards. Sleep well Micky Adams, we are chasing your arse! Urzzz....!!
michael mackay
We need not worry about what the other managers or what other people say about the quality of the victory. OK, it was an own goal that gave us the 3 points but if we won all the games left by the same result and circumstance I would still be pleased after all it is 3 points that count. Who cares about Redknapp Warnock or what ever any of the other managers say about us in the end of the day I hoped for mid table consolidation at the start of the season and the lads have tried their hearts out and we are more than safe. Get behind the boys and we know that we have the potential of being a Huge Club.
Come on you Royals!!!
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