7 November 1998
Reading 3 Bournemouth 3
Bernal, McPherson, Primus, Casper, Brebner, Parkinson, Caskey, Sarr, Williams(Brayson),
It was, without a doubt, one of the best games that the Madejski Stadium, where Reading remain undefeated, has seen. Six goals, mostly of pretty high quality and some fast flowing football at times more than entertained the above average 13,000 crowd. But Reading still managed to send the home crowd home frustrated after taking the lead three times and letting Bournemouth grab a share of the points in injury time at the end of the second half. This should have been 3 more points, but once again a careless last minute cost Reading another two vital home points. Add to this the very dodgy penalty that let Bournemouth pull level earlier and it's enough to make any Royals fan grumble.
This game, once again, showed that Reading adopt to the oppositions game. Thankfully Bournemouth were a half decent team who'd came to the Mad House to get as much as they could. Reading seem determined to win every game by the single goal - once ahead we sit back and hope they don't equalize. If they do equalize we go at them again. What this means is that we're shafted whenever we let in the late goal - which is coming all too regular at home for my liking.
The biggest question before kick-off was what Tommy Burns was going to do with his three centre backs. With Casper suspended against York CIty midweek Kromheer had come straight back into the team from injury and had a blinding game. With Primus and Macca becoming a natural first choice it seemed unfair to drop anyone to bring Casper back in. But at the same time Casper had to play his first game since his 100,000 quid signing. In the end it was Kromheer who was relegated to the bench.
Reading once again got off to a dream start, taking an early lead through Caskey. It was a true Tommy Burns style goal. I can imagine them playing this one out time and time again on the training pitch. Tommy stresses how he likes it being built from the back and that was exactly what happened as Reading took it forward on the break. Glasgow played a great ball from the centre of the park to Sarr legging it down the left side. Sarr waited for the exact moment and played a fantastic pass inbetween two defenders into the path of Caskey on the edge of the box in the centre. Caskey needed one touch to send the ball flying into the back of the net with a low drive.
Reading then sat back a bit enjoying a bit of posession until slowly but surely Bournemouth got into the game and equalised. Yet again Reading had been punished for sitting on their lead. Reading regained their lead at the perfect time - just before half time. Parkinson played a ball to Caskey on the left and Caskey legged it towards goal. Before he'd even got close he let out a screaming shot heading towards the top right corner. An obsolute beauty. The keeper got to it well to push it against the crossbar, but as the ball came back out there was Williams racing in, to volley the ball home under the body of the diving Bournemouth keeper. 2-1 to the Royals.
As the second half got underway it looked like Reading had it well under control. For a bit we took the piss taping the ball around all over the park and both Glasgow (with a long range shot), and Williams could have increased our lead. Williams was unlucky after his first effort was blocked by the keeper, and his second failed to find the target.
This game would be another perfect example for those wanting to complain about the standard of refereeing in the lower divisions. It all added to the entertainment in the second half when the referee completely lost it for a bit, as the game heated up with tackles flying in all over the place and bodies being axed to the ground - without anything being given. Parkie was loving it. Parkie managed to win a throw when the ball came off him just by sticking his arm in the air for the hell of it. The referee also didn't become wise to Skittles' falling over tactics. He managed to back into people, fall over, and win a few kick a fair few times. Not that we were complaining about those. But no way were all the decision's going Reading's way. The worst decision was saved until Bournemouth's Stein took a dive inside the Reading box. I've never seen Macca complain so much to the referee - he knew it wasn't a penalty - and he out of everyone should have known.. I couldn't see what contact, if any was made, but the dive itself was a clear enough attempt to con the ref. And it worked. Up he stepped (Stein, not the referee) to slam the ball home as Howie jiggled around helplessly between the posts.
2-2. And time again for Reading to fight back to look for the full three points. It was our determination that got us it. We continued to push forward and were playing some decent on the ground passing to get there. Reading's third goal came from a Caskey corner on the right. Parkie stuck it in just inside the near post to put Reading deservedly 3-2 up with 10 minutes remaining. And all of a sudden it looked like we'd pull it off and grab the full three points. Reading actually looked settled for a bit calmly playing out the time waiting for the final whistle as the game slipped into injury time.
And then the inevitable happened. A complete lapse in concentration as the ball was hoofed long into the Reading box on the left. Bournemouth were first to react as Reading's defence stood still waiting for an offside or something, and with almost the last kick of the game the cheating bastard Stein made it 3-3. Bollocks. This would have been a fantastic victory but instead all I could think was two points wasted.
Unfortunately the God-like-at-the-start-of-the-season, Mass Sarr, is still suffering from a lack of form. At least this game saw a slight improvement - but he was still a shadow of the player we know he can be. Thankfully other players are showing more rapid signs of improvement. Namely, Darren Caskey, who had a blinding game with an involvement in all three goals. Plenty of good signs though against Bournemouth and that's now eight games without defeat. A win against Wigan on Wednesday and we'll all be talking about promotion all of a sudden.