MATCH REPORT: 2004/2005 Season

Reading: Kitson (2 mins), Harper (41 mins), Forster (59 mins).
Molango (1 mins), Robinson (63 mins)
Half Time: 2-1
Attendance: 15,641

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 Coventry 1 3 +2
2 READING 1 3 +1
3 Ipswich 1 3 +1
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty (Newman 66), Williams, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Little, Sidwell, Hughes, Harper, Forster, Kitson. Subs Not Used: Goater, Convey, Brooker, Young.
Kuipers, Virgo (Robinson 57), Cullip, Butters, Harding, Nicolas, Oatway (Hinshelwood 36), Reid, Currie, Jarrett (Jones 68), Molango. Subs Not Used: Mayo, May.
Reading: Forster
Jarrett, Cullip
Referee: P Crossley (Kent).

Reading made a winning start to the 2004/2005 Championship season with an impressive 3-2 victory over Brighton at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon. The Royals were much the better side throughout and perhaps deserved a more favourable scoreline despite going 0-1 down within the opening 15 seconds of the season. The visitors lead was shortlived however with Dave Kitson pulling Reading level just two minutes later - a long kick from Hahnemann was knocked into the centre of the box from the left and Kitson drove the ball home into the roof of the net for an excellent goal. Reading were looking the more comfortable side and went ahead just before half time when Little put over a cross from the right which was played onto Harper who came storming through and volleyed home from the centre on the edge of the Brighton area. At 2-1 up Reading started stroking the ball around with ease with Brighton looking ready to go home with 45 minutes still to play. The second half saw Reading increase their lead on the hour mark when Forster broke free to fire past the keeper and it could have been more when Little again was the provider and Kitson put a header against the Brighton post. The visitors pulled one back a few minutes later from a rare attack but never really looked likely to pull level as Reading held on for a convincing victory.

Following report by John Wells:
Reading made the start to the season they needed in a highly entertaining home win against Mark McGee's newly promoted Brighton. We had barely settled into our seats when the visitors stunned the home fans by taking a lead with what was probably the first goal of the season. New signing Little's attempted clearance, which lacked sufficient urgency, was charged down by a Brighton forward and the ball broke kindly for Molango who slid the ball calmly past Hahnemann. The mood quickly changed when a huge punt upfield by Hahnemann was nodded back across the area by Sidwell and Kitson stroked the ball confidently high into the net.

The game then settled into a pattern which was expected. Reading dominating possession but denied scoring opportunities by a well organised and competitive Brighton side. Reading got the goal their play deserved shortly before half time when Forster controlled a Little cross and rolled the ball to Harper who timed his run well from midfield and drove the ball with power and accuracy into the bottom left corner giving the 'keeper no chance at all. Reading then kept possession while Brighton toiled in the heat for the remainder of the half.

The second half continued much in the same manner with Reading looking more likely to score. A delightful cross from Little was skilfully guided goalwards by Kitson's head but the ball came back off the post and was cleared. Forster then produced one of his stunning individual goals to put the Royals two goals ahead. Having charged down an attempted pass on the half way line he raced clear of the defence and from twenty yards unleashed a shot which beat the 'keeper with sheer power. That should have been enough to ensure a comfortable three points. Brighton however having been made to chase the game produced some of their better attacking play. The goal they pulled back would usually have been prevented by Adie Williams but unaccountably he allowed Robinson to turn and finish right in front of goal without getting near him. The result should never have been in doubt but closing stages were slightly uncomfortable against a Brighton side who to their credit never gave up in spite of the oppressively hot conditions.

Reading looked good today, and Little, who started quietly, turned in an excellent performance and is clearly going to provide good service for Kitson with his crosses. The squad looks strong enough to sustain the inevitable injuries and suspensions, and we still have the prospect bringing in Convey to add another attacking option. The first big test comes on Tuesday at West Ham. We have nothing to fear there!


Another season of hope and dreams and blow me if you had blinked you'd have missed the first two goals. To be a Reading fan as we all know, we are used to ups and downs to put it mildly, but to have a "oh no here we go again" after 12 seconds when Brighton took the lead really was pushing our sanity to the limit! All in all I thought a good performance against a team who I'm sure will be lucky to stay up this year. Sloppy defending by Ade Williams let Brighton in on two occasions and ensured Reading never wrapped the game up in blistering conditions. Though a great servant Ade is going to have to up his game this year to ensure a place and stop thinking he's Ade Beckenbauer. Great to see Fossie back capping a good game with a tremendous finish, Harper and Sidwell worked their socks off and Little had a great game, and maybe convinced a few sceptics including myself, that he may prove a good signing. With the exception of Little it was the same team that played most of last season which I think is a concern, we do need new blood but it's early days and the squad though lacking in quality is quite big. Two points out of the next two very difficult away games would be great, and in a league where nobody stands out, a good start is vital. Bet Pardwho is not looking forward to Tuesday, I've a funny feeling we may get something, must be the sun.......URZ!!
Nick Newbury

So if this is what is to come, we are in for more entertainment this year. We looked better going forward and worse defensively, but there are signs that this will improve. Murty and Shorey will offer more than they did today, Williams will do better against the standard centre forwards in this division, i.e. big traditional players, and we will be better balance when Convey starts. I am not sure though whether he will put in Hughes's work and covering which were tremendous if the constructive part of his game were not quite as good. Kitson was sharp and took his goal well and should have scored another with a header that hit the post. Forster got better as the game wore on and could have played Kitson in but how often have we said that about him? Little was outstanding and Harper and Sidwell both had good games. We gave a newly promoted team a goal start and still beat them, that is great credit to the team. Yes there were weaknesses, but we looked more potent. We perhaps need more self belief and should have gone on to win this game comfortably, but then this is Reading!!!
Ken C

Really pleased with Glen Little's effort throughout the game, he gave Brighton trouble on the right side all afternoon. Sidwell and Harps had good solid games too. Fozzie and Kitson were brill - looks like a budding relationship is building (although if only Foz had passed to an unmarked Kitson...). We've still got problems in defence - OK we all love Ade but lets face it, he's too slow now and couldn't make a successful pass in a brothel. Still a good game to watch. The best part however was the banter we had in the car in the traffic jam on the M25 with the Brighton fans!
Simon (Brighton Royal)

Great to get 3 points. As has been said by others I thought we looked good going forward but yet again we looked suspect at the back. For the last couple of years weíve lost far too many games to realistically be looking for promotion and itís at the back where we need the most improvement if this it to happen. The midfield looked strong in particular Little who looks a different player from the one on loan and Sidwell and Harper looked good in the centre. (I was particularly happy to see Harper score as it followed a comment from someone sat near me that he never does anthing) The only weakness was on the left. Hughes has proved his usefulness with his versatility and in all fairness was ok but with two specialists in that position coming in over the summer why did he start? Kitson seems to be carrying on where he left off at the end of last season and Forster scored a goal only he could. I can see Kitson getting 20+ this year but I think we will need a good contribution from the Goat again too as evidence (of past seasons) suggests that Forsterís finishing is too erratic to get him 20. It should be a stern test for the defence against Rebrov and co on Tuesday. We have a lot of strength up front and in midfield so if we can sort it out at the back I think we could do well.
Emmer Green Royal

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