MATCH REPORT: 2007/2008 Season

7 October 2007: FA PREMIER LEAGUE
READING 1 DERBY COUNTY 0
goals
Reading: Doyle (63 mins).
Derby: -
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 23, 901

PREMIERSHIP 7 Oct 2007
Pos Team P Pts GD
11 West Ham 8 10 +1
12 READING 9 10 -8
13 Birmingham 9 8 -4
teams
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Duberry, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Rosenior (Oster 60), Harper, Gunnarsson, Hunt, Doyle, Kitson. Subs Not Used: Federici, Lita, Fae, Bikey.
Derby: Bywater, Mears, Davis, Leacock, Griffin (Earnshaw 75), Feilhaber (Lewis 65), Pearson, Oakley, McEveley, Howard (Barnes 65), Miller. Subs Not Used: Price, Todd.
bookings
Reading: Ingimarsson.
Derby: Davis.
Ref: Lee Mason (Lancashire).
report
Reading secured a vital win over bottom of the table Derby County with Kevin Doyle scoring his first goal of the season for Reading - and the game's only goal. This was a nervous victory for Reading, and the game was by no means a classic, however the win lifted Reading away from the bottom three, for now, and into twelfth spot. Reading were good for their win after creating most of the chances but struggled to dominate against a poor visiting side. The Royals probably should have been ahead by half time after Hunt had two good chances. One he sent sailing over the crossbar and another saw his header just wide of the post. Doyle got in a header that needed a save with Reading clearly on top. However both sides were guilty of mis-placed passes and some pointless ball hoofing during the second half as the game looked to be drifting towards a goalless draw. Reading's lifeline came as Murty swung over a cross that missed a couple of players before finding Doyle wide on the left. Doyle headed back across goal and into the far side to give Reading the three points.

Following their disastrous result at Portsmouth last week, the Royals desperately needed a win today. Thankfully they were up against surely the poorest side in the Premier League. Derby never really looked as if they believed they could win and Reading, even when they took the lead, looked edgy and low on confidence. The narrow margin of victory will be of no consequence to Reading players or fans. If you had asked anyone before the game they would have happily accepted three points and a clean sheet regardless of the quality of the performance.

Without playing particularly well Reading managed to dominate the first half. Hunt spurned a good chance in the opening minutes when some slick passing ended with the ball on his left foot. He never looked convinced he could put it away and the ball ended up in the crowd. Hunt, Doyle and Gunnison all went close with headers and there were a couple of reasonable appeals for penalties. It was beginning look as if the game might not produce any goals. Reading's passing was generally poor. Duberry had a particularly clumsy afternoon but I suppose after last week, nobody in the back four would have been particularly keen to bring the ball down and try to thread passes through midfield. Derby conceded several free kicks but Reading's delivery was poor.

Derby came out in the second half looking more positive probably encouraged by Reading's lack of conviction. Rosenior had again had little impact apart from one determined run and cross and was replaced by Oster who also had a poor game. With just over an hour gone Murty pushed forward and sent over a decent cross which eventually arrived at the far post where Doyle calmly executed a firm header back across gaol and inside the far post. If anyone needed and deserved a goal it was him. Oster wasted a good chance by delaying his shot and Doyle forced a save from Bywater near the end but there did look to be any more goals coming. Reading did their utmost to encourage one from Derby by needlessly conceding possession with stray passes and aimless clearances. Hahnemann had little to do but he managed to find touch with alarming ease and regularity to help keep the pressure on his defence.

Derby look a very good bet for the drop, but Reading can, and will need to play better than this to keep out of the relegation zone this season.
FANS' POST MATCH OPINION

Agree with the report on the game its 3 points, much needed and thats about all one can say performance dire, opposition dire but at least it was a sunny day! Im not sure if there werent any viable options but Id expected some changes to the team for this one. However, they got the result so you cant argue too much. Defence should be better with Sonko back and possibly Bikey - both provide a lot of iron so Im feeling that part of the team should improve if it doesnt were in trouble. Up front also should be ok. So that leaves midfield and here Im not feeling too good. Gunnarson is not doing well and seems off the pace. For all the criticism, at least Oster gets the ball down and makes a pass to feet (but please shoot on sight!). Harpers best work should be done further forward hes tricky and can beat a man, so playing in the hole could be a good place for him. The problem is he is the only outlet ball at present, the full backs are either closed down or dont want it and we seem a bit clueless in terms of building an attack is this confidence or the opposition getting to know us? Our loss with Sidwell, seems to me to be someone getting forward and adding numbers to the attack. In this arrangement last season, Harper would sit deep. Gunnarson also seems to be sitting deep so were not offering any support gong forward. The question is have we bought the players in that can make this better and when will we see them on the pitch?
Good to hear talk of buying players in during January but I go back to a point Ive made before at the prices and wages were prepared to pay and the fact that its Reading, I wonder who realistically were going to attract.
But two weeks off, three points in the bag, feels a lot better than the alternative.
Nick,Tilehurst

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QUOTES FROM THE PRESS

If there was a team Reading would have chosen to play after conceding seven in their previous match, Derby at home would surely have been top of the list. Not so much rams as lambs to the slaughter away from Pride Park, the Premier League's bottom side once again failed to trouble the scorers. However, their manager, Billy Davies, was entitled to take a certain consolation from conceding only once and an improved second-half showing which, with a little more confidence in the penalty area, might have resulted in them picking up a first point on their travels... ...if moments of genuine creativity were desperately few and far between, the home team were responsible for them all, and Doyle's winner, a well-placed header back across the goalkeeper after Graeme Murty's cross skimmed off the head of Steve Howard, was deserved. But then, under the circumstances, no one should have expected a classic...
Richard Rae, The Guardian

...it was no more then Reading deserved for their enterprise in attack, while boss Steve Coppell will have been buoyed by the clean sheet after the same starting XI shipped seven goals in last Saturday's 11-goal thriller against Portsmouth.
BBC Sport