8 December 1998
Bournemouth 2 Reading 0
Crawford, Clement, Primus, Casper, Parkinson, Caskey, Brayson (Roach), McIntyre,
Glasgow, Wright (Sarr).
Wright (For effort)
Reading took the cliche of "concentrating on the league" one step further tonight with another first round cup exit - this time away at Bournemouth in the Auto Windscreens Shield. Reading's performance was probably as expected. We weren't very good but perhaps we weren't trying to be. Bournemouth on the other hand, after their trip to Wembley in this competition last season, were more up for it and got the result they deserved.
Despite rumours suggesting otherwise both teams fielded a first team line up, although Reading started with a couple of changes. With Williams out with his knee injury McIntrye and Brayson started up front. Unfortunately both failed to impress on their first chance to attempt to claim a regular starting eleven place. Sarr and Polston were both rested leaving room to Crawford and Wright to start. Wright, another Premiership youngster on-loan from Leeds United, showed some bright signs on his debut for the Royals.
Reading started brightly enough in front of their 40 travelling fans, so it was a bit of a bummer when we went behind after just eight minutes. Bournemouth put a cross over from the left, it was met perfectly, and the header found the corner of Howie's net to put the home side 0-1 up. The rest of the first half was all Bournemouth as they continued to play it forward, and Reading failed to show any signs of fighting back. Bournemouth should have made it two on a couple of occasions, a low cross right across the face of goal need a leg in the way to stick it in. Fortunately the leg didn't appear. Howie made a couple of saves as Bournemouth took control. Just before half time Reading had their first shot on target - a Jimmy McIntyre effort forcing the keeper to get down low to make the save as Reading showed signs of getting back into the game. But that was it. Half time.
Fortunately those signs shown just before half time were again to be seen as the second half got underway. And for the majority of the second half it looked like it might become a game of two halves with Reading turning it around to enjoy most of the possesion. But it was the kind of possesion we've seen plenty of other times this season - lots of time on the ball, lots of passing it around the pitch slow and low, but creating no chances at all. Up front Brayson might as well have not been there. Andy Wright made an impression looking lively down the left wing, going on a few runs, weaving around players, but despite the effort was well controlled by the full back and failed to provide McIntyre and Brayson with enough.
Bournemouth's defence was solid as anything, and a goal down away from home in this competition, I guess nothing was ever going to happen. After plenty of possesion through the second half and just the single real effort to show from it (another McIntyre shot that needed a save), Bournemouth went down the other end and stuck one in to enforce their superiority in this game. A free kick from just outside the area was played in and other decent header made it 0-2 to put Bournemouth through into round two and Reading firmly out. There was still time in the last ten minutes for Howie to pull off a decent save to tip a home shot past the post for the corner.
So no great loss. The Bournemouth fans went home signing about their future trip to Wembley - they obviously enjoyed the win and showed enthusiasm with a reasonable turn-out. Although Reading battled a bit in the second half I guess that Bournemouth could be arsed a bit more than we could....