READING 1 BRENTFORD 0
|Scorers: Adrian Williams||Date: 11 March 2000|
|Team: Howie, Gurney, A.Williams, Hunter, Murty, Grant, Smith, Evers (Brayson), Hodges, Butler, Forster (McIntyre).|
Match Heroes: The whole Reading team, for another team performance
Well, you could say the statistics tell the story. This was Reading's sixth win from the last nine league games - with only one defeat. This was Reading's fourth consecutive home victory, and third consecutive victory. We have now been unbeaten in the last thirteen home games at fortress Madejski Stadium - a run stretching all the way back to November of 1999. We are now in 16th position in the table - our highest position all season long. To say we are in form is a massive understatement. Currently there is no doubting that Reading are the best side in the whole division, and fears of relegation are now distant memories of the first half of the season. We are definitely staying up, and this victory underlined that. It was by no means a classic game, or over impressive victory from Reading. But Adrian Williams winner ten minutes from time was well deserved for another team performance - in which our desire for the game more than made up for a bit of hoofing the ball and some misplaced passes. We are on the up.
With Caskey suspended and Robinson, player of the month and target of a tribute day, out injured following limping off in the mid-week victory over Oxford; the Royals were forced to make two changes to the starting eleven. Murty came in at full back for Robinson and Caskey was replaced by Evers. We definitely missed Caskey's creativity with Evers not a patch on him, and Murty had a fair bit of trouble passing the ball successfully. That's not to say they didn't put in plenty of effort - Murty in particular was throwing himself into every challenge determined to win the ball and was responsible for creating the winner by both winning the free-kick and then supplying the ball onto Adie Williams head.
The first half was very even, and for once the scoreboard gave a realistic impression of the first half action. Both teams had identical statistics: 2 shots, 1 corner, and 4 fouls each. Fair enough then that it was 0-0 at half time after nothing to get overly excited about. Reading probably felt they could have gone in ahead after Butler was clearly pushed over inside the box for an obvious penalty. The referee, who was developing a habit for letting a lot of things go, let this go too. Earlier on in the half Reading had worked well down the right to cross the ball for Smith (or was it Hodges?) to send the ball onto the crossbar with their head. Brentford though will also feel they could have had the lead at the break. Right after Reading had hit the crossbar they took it down the other end and shot from just inside the box on the left. It was a brilliant effort that curved over Howie and dipped as if it might sneak into the corner of the net before slamming against the crossbar and away to safety.
Brentford had had the greater possession by a long way, but Reading had looked the most dangerous going forward with plenty of balls driven into the area but no-one really connecting to send them into the back of the net - with a bit more room in the box we could have grabbed a couple. Reading were direct while Brentford were content to pass the ball around all over the park without actually working it forward and penetrating. Despite playing it around quite nicely, all the away side could do was pass it back rather than forwards as Reading marked up tightly not allowing any options to move it forward.
The Royals, under the current management team, certainly know how to play in Division Two. Gone are the pretty passing triangles that got us nowhere - we'll leave those for teams like Brentford. Now there's plenty more hoofing clearances up the pitch, and flying tackles to win the ball that make you wince. And that was the pattern of the second half as Reading gradually got more and more on top with Brentford rarely threatening.
Williams and Hunter were solid at the back and very efficient in clearing anything getting close to threatening Howie. Brentford's only real chance on target was a long range effort that Howie did well to tip over the bar for the corner. But for the last twenty minutes of the match there was only one team in it - and that was Reading. Hodges was cropping up in the right place at the right time again and almost scored after a cross confused the keeper and found Hodges storming in with a powerful header. We all thought it had gone in, but despite being a perfect height it was wide of the target. Brayson replaced Evers and gave a bit more down the right wing as we worked the ball forwards and into the box. The break through came with ten minutes to go. Murty went mad down the left wing flinging his whole body into a challenge to win the ball and then get free of his man. As he broke down the left side of the area he was brought down from behind. Up he stepped and delivered a superb free-kick right across the crowd of players in the box to the far post. And there was Adrian Williams, at the end of his loan spell from Wolves, to head the ball cleanly into the back of the net for the winner.
With quite a few minutes left Brentford could have got back into the match - but they didn't as Reading kept it down their end. The best form of defence is attack, and Reading did just that and created a couple more chances, and could have made it 2-0. McIntyre was impressive during his brief spell on pitch after replacing Forster. He chased and tackled for every ball as well as trying to get it into the box with every chance he got. But that summed up the whole team performance from Reading. Nice.
Post Match Opinions
are looking good for us to progress upwards and out of this division next
season. When Alan Pardew was appointed to the Manager's position permanently
(rather than the caretaker role) I read a chorus of 'Why him?' in the
local press. It did take a long time for Reading to return to winning
ways with Pardew in charge, but then he had an awful lot of someone else's
mess to sort out. Now, after what must have been much hard work behind
the scenes, we are beginning to see the fruits of that hard work. Credit,
too, to Martin Allen, because we definitely seem to have gone up a gear
since he arrived, the Chairman who as ever dips his hand in his pocket
to buy new players, and the supporters, especially those who have helped
to bring a better type of atmosphere to the Mad House. (That must be the
best place to keep a Mad Dog! Ha ha.)
joy continues! A true sign of an in-form side full of confidence when
we can still get results without playing our best football. The fact is
we always look like we are going to score at some point, and for all Brentford's
efforts thay never looked like breeching our defence, the complete opposite
of the bad old days before the Colchester home game. Everyone played their
part (including subs Brayson and Macca, special mention for his sublime
skill and pass in the centre circle) without anyone having an outstanding
game, no matter, this is a winning side and management team that has the
full backing of a jubilant, revitalised set of fans. It's now a real pleasure
to go and see the Royals - can't wait for Burnley and Bristol Rovers,
difficult games? Who wants to play us these days!...
a lot Reading F.C. for playing good football recently, especially beating
the scum:o))) I have got a season ticket for the East Stand and the atmosphere
at the Bournemouth match was just superb. The guy in the black suit and
hat was a great drummer. It was a pale comparison to today's first half
in which the atmosphere wasn't as good. The drummer and trumpet blower
just couldn't get the crowd going. We only started to get going in the
second half and especially after the goal. I reckon that we should have
a band for every home match and to have some good music players. Bring
back the guy in the black suit:o))))
Royals go from strength to strength and it's a joy to watch. After the
sublime victory in midweek, this encounter struggled to capture the same
entertainment but the old cliche is that ' a good team wins when not playing
well'! The one worrying thing was that we seemed to be playing long ball
throughout, hopefully this wont become a trend because it won't attract
the large crowds Alan and Mad Dog crave for. Still, you can't criticise
a winning side and its fantastic to be able to go to the Mad Stad expecting
very even game with the Royals just deserving to shade it. We clearly
missed Caskey's creativity and the balance that Robinson gives to the
whole side but our defence was solid, particularly Murty although his
distribution was generally woeful, our midfield battled hard, our forwards
ran themselves into the ground, and even Brayson looked a half decent
player when he came on. It's an old cliche but it's the sign of a good
side when you are missing key players and don't play particularly well
but still win. It was great to see Adie score again in a Royals shirt
and I hope its the first of many more.
3 points thankyou very much.
a sound performance that really iced the cake of a week! Yes a ground
out result, but a RESULT none the less. 9 points from 9, and 2 local rivals
stuffed, Adie back scoring for Reading, in a Reading shirt for a change,
why even Gurney did'nt look too bad!
the future for the mighty Royals is looking very bright. Adrian Williams
once again at his best at the Royals. Two super headers in as many years
have helped the Royals reach the promised land. (1) His header vs Charlton
to put us in the play-offs and our highest ever position in football (2)
This one which has saved us from relegation in division two. He is God!!!!
If Pardew has got a mind (and I'm sure he has.) He would sure sign back
Williams. Matthew Robinson had a tribute day but Adrian deserves one too.
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