MATCH REPORT: 2002/2003 Season

10 September 2002: LEAGUE CUP ROUND ONE
Reading: Upson (89 mins).
Cambridge United:
Duncan (24 mins), Kitson (39 mins), Tudor (71 mins).
Half Time: 2-0
Attendance: 2,696

Cambridge through to Round Two.
Reading exit League Cup.
Reading: Hahnemann, Parkinson, Mackie, Upson, Shorey (Rougier 45), Forster, Hughes, Newman (Williams 45), Salako, Butler, Cureton (Igoe 45). Subs not used: Whitehead, Harper.
Cambridge United:
Marshall, Warner, Duncan, Angus, Murray (Nacca 80), Riza, Fleming, Tudor, Youngs (Scully 80), Kitson, Bridges. Subs not used: Brennan, Wanless, Guttridge.
Reading: Hughes. Cambridge United: -.
Referee: -

You'd almost think that Reading deliberately went out of the League Cup at the first round tonight. The result might have been a disgrace in theory, with Reading being well beaten by a side two divisions below them - but surely it's a blessing in disguise with no more trips to lower league opposition on the horizon for a while. The usual concentrating on the league cliché applies. Reading fielded a strong side however, which may indicate we went out to win this game. If this was really the case, like Pardew claims, then this performance from Reading was a complete disaster. The result was entirely fair - and a true reflection of Cambridge United's superiority over Reading throughout the ninety minutes.

Reading made just a couple of changes with Watson being rested and Parkinson coming into the centre of midfield. Newman continued at full back with Murty not quite ready for action, and as expected Arsenal loan player Matthew Upson made his full debut for the Royals starting in the centre of defence in place of the slightly out of form Adrian Williams. It was a sensible line-up that should have easily disposed of Cambridge United - even if Reading were playing away from home. Cambridge hardly had to raise their game though with Reading sitting back right from the start and letting the home side make all the interesting play. United enjoyed far too much possession as Reading let them attack.

A series of free-kicks won deep in the Reading half were enough to help United win the game well before the end of the first half. The first was scored on 24 minutes when a free kick was played into the box and the header was directed firmly home from the centre of the Reading area. The Reading defence appeared to be no-where and it was disappointing that United's Duncan wasn't put under more pressure when he put the ball in the net. The second United goal came with just more than five minutes of the half remaining. After another free-kick the ball was crossed and headed home at the near post. Hahnemann perhaps should have done far better with this one - and seems to be playing himself into trouble with Phil Whitehead waiting on the bench for an opportunity to regain his place in goal. Down the other end Reading were disappointing with too many long balls that Butler couldn't do anything with. A couple of times the ball was played just in front of him but he couldn't hassle the defence enough as they dealt with a weak Reading attack. Reading mustered a couple of shots well wide, but otherwise managed a few crosses that no-one managed to connect with.

At half time Reading made a triple substitution to mix things up a bit. The formation all went a bit bizzare with players all over the place. Reading's lack of pattern probably just amused Cambridge more than anything else as they continued to look the more dangerous of the two sides. With Igoe playing in the middle and Hughes at full back, for example, we must have been confused as anything. Cambridge settled it with 20 minutes left on the clock with a close range header again beating Hahnemann in the Reading goal. It was left to Arsenal's Matthew Upson to pull back a consolation goal for the Royals in the dying minutes, after he scored from close range after a cross from the right. The goal meant nothing though - apart from adding a tiny amount of respectability to a very unrespectable result.

northampton royal
I really can't be bothered to go into the details of the game as it really was that bad.
This was probably the worst Reading performance I've seen in the last 2 years (Yes it really was worse then Swindon at home last season!) and any repeat of this on Saturday will see Wimbledon cruising to an easy victory. The lack of desire and commitment being shown by the Reading players reminded me of the bad old days under Burns. Hopefully this was just "one of those games" and normal service will be resumed on Saturday. We shall see.
As a final point I'd just like to know if the players are going to offer to refund the entrance money to the 200 or so Royals fans who made the effort to attend as we most certainly did not deserve that display!
neil sayer
I wasn't able to go tonight, but from what I've read & heard it sounds like we went there thinking we only had to turn up & the game was ours. When are we going to learn that whatever team you play, if you let them have enough of the ball you are going to get punished. We're by no stretch of the imagination a good enough team to think like this. I have to wonder, is this problem with the the players or at a higher level?
darren hall
Tuesday September 10 2002, 7.45PM.
Quote, "Yeah Reading's recent run of form makes them a good bet for a decent cup run......" Tuesday September 10 2002, 9.10 PM.
Quote, "I'll get my coat then.....!"
Still it would of only got in the way of our surge to the Premiership and I hate going to Cardiff for finals anyway.
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