Match Report: 2010/2011 Season

10 November 2010: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Hunt (5 mins).
Cardiff: Bothroyd (77 mins).
Half Time: 1-0.

Attendance: 17,960

Pos Team P Pts GD
9 Burnley 16 23 +6
10 READING 16 23 +6
11 Nottm F 16 23 +3
Reading: Federici, Mills, Harte, Griffin, Khizanishvili, McAnuff, Howard, Karacan, Hunt (Robson-Kanu, 74), Long, Church (Tabb, 69). Subs not used: Pearce, Cummings, Antonio, McCarthy, Armstrong.
Cardiff: Heaton, Naylor, Hudson, Burke, Whittingham, Olofinjana, Blake, Matthews, McPhail (Koumas, 58), Chopra (Drinkwater, 84), Bothroyd. Subs not used: Marshall, Rae, Etuhu, Wildig.
Reading: Khizanishvili.
Cardiff: -
Ref: A P D'Urso (Essex).
It took an extremely dubious decision by the referee's assistant to save second-placed Cardiff from defeat at the Madjeski Stadium last night. Having taken the lead in the fifth minute through Noel Hunt's deft finish, the Royals kept their noses in front until the seventy-ninth minute when Jay Bothroyd lashed a long range effort against the bar. The ball bounced down onto the line, against the post and away from goal. The referee's assistant flagged excitedly and to everyone's surprise the Andy D'Urso gave a goal without even bothering to question his assistant. Clearly we have to accept human error, frustrating though it may be, but the official not line with goal, and replays were inconclusive. I can also accept that sometimes things happen and they are not seen. This type of decision however is totally inexcusable because he surely did not see the ball cross the line and yet still gave a goal. Sadly Reading were robbed of a deserved victory, but in truth they should have been more than one goal ahead when the City goal finally arrived.

Swansea had already exposed City's vulnerability on Sunday. They are a physically strong side, but in terms of football quality they again looked nothing more than average in this game. Reading again changed their formation to a 4 - 2 - 3 - 1 which seemed to give them the edge over City. Church in the first half thrived on his central role running from deep positions and linking up well with Long who as usual battled on with little protection from the referee. It was fine run by Church which created the first goal when he crossed for Hunt to slide home from a very acute angle in front of over three thousands stunned City fans. The remainder of the half was remarkably open with both teams finding space to build attacks. Olufinjana was dominant in midfield swatting Howard away as if he were an irritating fly, but City's passing often let them down at crucial moments. McPhail headed just over shortly after Hunt's goal but Their best chance of the half came when Federici had a rush of blood and came a long way off his line to provide Chopra with a golden opportunity to lob the ball into the empty net. Fortunately for Reading he failed to hit the target. Church should have extended Reading's lead when set up by Long but his shot lacked conviction and was saved by Heaton. A superb tackle by Griffin snuffed out a chance fro Olufinjana just before the interval.

The second half was equally open as City pressed for the equaliser. Burke screwed a shot wide and Long missed an almost identical chance to the one Chopra missed in the first half, his lob drifting wide of the empty net with Heaton stranded. Hunt connected with a header which Heaton saved well then Chopra and Burke both came close as City began to look more threatening. Church began to fade and was replaced by Tabb, as did Hunt who was replaced by Robson-Kanu. A goal seemed likely at either end and it finally arrived for City courtesy of the referee's assistant. Cardiff looked happy with a point but it took a spectacular save by Federici to prevent them from taking all three with header from Burke. Mills had a couple of chances to head a deserved winner from successive corners but he failed to make clean contact on both occasions.

If City are expected to be serious contenders for automatic promotion on this showing Reading will not be far behind them. I suspect however there might be stronger candidates from the chasing pack. Derby and Pompey for example are beginning to show some form. It is going to be a very interesting season.
John Wells


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Jay Bothroyd's controversial equaliser rescued a point for Cardiff City to deny Reading all three points. The Cardiff striker's long-range strike appeared to come back off the underside of the bar but referee Andy D'Urso judged the ball had crossed the line. Noel Hunt timed his far-post run to perfection to give Reading a fifth-minute lead over second-placed Cardiff. Before Bothroyd's 77th-minute goal, Michael Chopra spurned a fine chance to get Cardiff back on level terms. Hunt and Simon Church combined to put the hosts in front as Reading started with real purpose. Church rode the challenges of several Cardiff defenders before whipping a cross to the far post which Hunt was able to poke home...

On the stroke of half-time, Cardiff launched a rapid counter-attack and when Chopra squared the ball across the six yard box Olofinjana looked certain to score with the goal at his mercy, but he was superbly tackled by Royals defender Andy Griffin. After the interval, the lively Long had a chance to put Reading further in front but his 20-yard lob went narrowly over the bar. At the other end, Chris Burke cut inside on the right and dribbled the ball into the area but he struck wide. Galvanised by this chance, Cardiff created a good spell of pressure and they were rewarded for their efforts in contentious circumstances 13 minutes from time. Chopra picked out strike partner Bothroyd and his 35-yard strike went in off the underside of the bar, though Reading were adamant that the ball had not crossed the line. Burke's 20-yard strike nearly won it for Cardiff at the death but Federici produced a fine save to ensure the spoils were shared.

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