MATCH REPORT: 2002/2003 Season

Reading: Hughes (13 mins), Forster (32 mins), Pouton own goal (90 mins).
Grimsby Town:
Half Time: 0-2
Attendance: 5,582

DIVISION ONE  5 Oct 2002
Pos Team P Pts GD
8 Rotherham 12 18 +5
9 READING 12 17 +2
10 Derby 12 16 -2
Reading: Ashdown, Murty, Williams, Upson, Shorey, Newman, Hughes, Watson (Harper 77), Salako, Forster, Rougier (Henderson 79).
Subs not used: Butler, Cureton, Young.
Grimsby Town:
Coyne, McDermott, Raven, Ford, Barnard, Campbell, Coldicott, Pouton, Cooke (Santos 66), Kabba, Mansaram (Robinson 75).
Subs not used: Rowan, Allaway, Ward.
Reading: Newman, Watson. Grimsby Town: McDermott , Santos.
Referee: H Webb (Rotherham)

Reading went ninth in the table this afternoon by notching up yet another excellent away victory - our third of the season. Following up the 1-0 win grabbed at Wolves, this result was nearly as good. The opposition may have been substantially weaker today, but Reading won by three goals, away from home, against First Division football. Now, if we can just start matching these away days with equal performances at home then we should be in for an interesting season. However, wins like this just go that step further to cementing Reading's position in this Division. No relegation for us this season.

With Mackie out suspended, the excellent Nicky Shorey was recalled to the starting eleven as Pardew ditched the three man back four and went back to the traditional four at the back. The back four of Murty, Williams, Upson and Shorey worked a treat as all four players put in very professional performances. Rather than play with two up front we appeared to start with Nicky Forster up front as the only striker. It was an interesting choice of formation, playing 4-5-1 with Cureton and Butler both left on the bench. Neither of those two strikers were to get a look in, as Pardew's choice of Forster up front by himself paid dividends. It was another diversion from recent tactics by Alan Pardew - and it worked.

Right from the start there were signs of things to come as Forster got the ball into the back of the net within the opening minute - although it was rightly ruled offside and disallowed. Forster was to cause problems throughout the opening half for Grimsby with some excellent runs that simply confused the Grimsby defence. It was nice for Reading to look that bit better than their opposition, with a touch of class in the shape of Forster. Forster was supported up front by the increasingly superb Andy Hughes. Hughes is getting running through the middle like a machine down to an art - and it was no exception today when he steamed through to put Reading ahead on 13 minutes, finishing well and putting the ball under the goalkeeper.

Nicky Forster made it 2-0 with 32 of the half played when he took the ball round a defender and past the keeper before putting it into the back of the net. It was an excellently taken goal that he nearly repeated moments later until the ball was cleared off the line. Down the other end Grimsby struggled to break through - but when they did Ashdown, who started in place of the injured Marcus Hahnemann, was in excellent form. He saved one long range effort and did well to push another effort past the post. It may be a brief taste of action for Ashdown but it's good to know we have a quality keeper who can step into the team and perform. These chances were rare for Grimsby though as Reading enjoyed the best of the half and looked far more dangerous despite playing a defensive formation.

After the half time break Grimsby seemed to step up a gear - but despite this they were just chasing the game with Reading having already done all the hard work in the first half. Grimsby enjoyed plenty of the ball and seemed determined to work themselves back into the game but continually failed to trouble the Reading defence. Reading sealed the win with a bizarre goal with the final piece of action of the game. Henderson was tackled just inside the Grimsby half and the ball flew off the defender and looped all the way into the back of the net flying over a confused Grimsby keeper. It was an amazing freak goal that gave Reading a superb away victory.

worthing royal
A really good day out. Stayed in London Friday night, and caught the 10 o'clock train out of Kings Cross. Arrived in Cleethorpes at one o'clock in time for a few pints, and the compulsory fish and chips. Settled down at the away end, and almost immediately went into raptures as Fozzie put us one nil up. Or so we thought. The away end could not believe how the linesman could possibly have given it offside. I suppose he was in line with play, and we were up the other end of the pitch. Still, it didn't take too long to put things right, as Hughsy left the very pedestrian Grimsby back line for dead, and put the ball under their keeper. After that, we never really looked back for the whole of the first half. Fozzy did get on the score sheet, when he too showed up their defence, before cooly taking on the keeper, and finishing well.
Bit disappointed by the second half. We seemed to invite them on to us again, although this time, we did not concede. I have to wonder whether that was down to adept defending, or more likely, a totally inept display by Grimsby. Still had a brilliant day whichever it was. Shame we have no game next week. What are we going to do?
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