Match Report: 2010/2011 Season

11 December 2010: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: -
Coventry: -
Half Time: 0-0.

Attendance: 14,029

Pos Team P Pts GD
13 Leicester 21 28 -4
14 READING 20 27 +6
15 Nottm F 19 27 +4
Reading: Federici, Mills, Harte, Griffin, Pearce, McAnuff, Leigertwood, Kebe (Tabb, 83), Karacan (Church, 70), Hunt (Robson-Kanu, 70), Long Subs not used: Howard, Cummings, McCarthy, Khizanishvili.
Coventry: Westwood, Keogh, McPake, Wood, Cameron, Doyle, Carsley, Gunnarsson (Clarke, 88), Platt, King, McSheffrey Subs not used: Eastwood, Bell, Cranie, Jutkiewicz, Ireland, Thomas.
Reading: -
Coventry: Carsley, McPake, McSheffrey, Wood.
Ref: Paul Tierney (Lancashire)
Reading continued to fire blanks at home as Shane Long squandered four chances to end the barren spell for the Royals. It was a familiar tale of poor finishing and it took a fine save at full stretch from Federici in added time to prevent City from stealing the points. City are a well organised and physically strong side but it was Reading who dominated possession especially in the first half. The visitors are intent a play-off spot, and under the guidance of the abrasive Aidy Boothroyd, who spent most of the game out of his technical area badgering the officials, they are credible contenders, but probably not quite good enough to go up. Reading have now drawn five in row against teams in and around the play-off positions and can count themselves unlucky not to have a few more points for their efforts.

Reading started brightly and both McAnuff and Kebe provided Long with scoring opportunities early in the game which he was unable to convert. Griffin was getting forward and showing some delightful touches. Liegertwood was assured in midfield and turned a vastly improved performance this week. City were under pressure and had no hesitation in hoofing the ball forward to gain some breathing space. King was booed incessantly and almost had his revenge when he struck the post with a shot from the edge of the box. Noel Hunt had a sniff of a chance near half time but he hesitated and was neither able to get in a shot or a telling cross.

City put Reading under pressure during the second half but the Royals defence has recently tightened up sufficiently to stop leaking goals. In spite of changes Reading were unable to unlock the City defence. Church came on for Hunt but made little impact. When he get on the ball in the box he turned into a defender and lost possession. Karacan's passing went to pot in the second half and was replaced by Robson-Kanu who did make a difference fleetingly when he clipped over a superb cross to the far post which Long, who was having a wretched afternoon, nodded wide from close range. Reading got away with losing some crucial 50 - 50 challenges and careless errors as City pressed for a winner. The visitors were rewarded for their efforts with a dubious free kick in a perfect position outside the box but Federici was equal to King's clean strike.

A draw was probably a fair result but there was very little to get excited about. A new striker might the provide the necessary spark for Reading to push into the play-off positions, but there is a lot more building to be done before they can consider themselves ready for the Premier League.
John Wells

It is so sad to see the Chairman's complete lack of interest in taking the club forward. Every time we play like this I just cannot help wondering how may Siggy would have scored if he was still here. Without him we have a workmanlike team of pros - who with a bit of luck "might" make mid table. Without luck we could get dragged towards the relegation zone. It is all very sad really and the falling crowd numbers - which will fall further if no significant investment is made in January (which just won't happen IMO) - are systematic as to the wasted opportunity that those in charge have let slip. I cannot really fault most of the players - although why on earth Mills was back today I have no idea. They hustled and bustled. Long gives 100% every week but neither he nor the crowd have any confidence that he will "ever" score from open play unless he miss hits one!

I thought Leigertwood actually did quite well today. As much as I like Tabb - he and Karacan together would have been too lightweight today. All very sad and frustrating and we can only really hope that JM has had enough now that he had got his knighthood and done his 20 years - as we really need new blood and new investment in the club. Unfortunately I doubt any multi billionaire is really interested in Reading and so sadly I fear the downward spiral is just at the beginning. As for Coventry I thought that they were devoid of football ability. They are a team of bullies and thugs who seemed to want to push, foul, wrestle and stop any vestige of football skill. A typical Boothroyd team in other words. Unfortunately that seems to be a successful strategy in this division where playing "football" is not encouraged. And we wonder why the crowds are falling!

From what was offered today it appears mid table beckons,we seem to have a squad 'on paper' that have the resume to compete for the prized top 6, but ultimately there seems to be a lack of understanding as a unit in many areas of the team which is clearly affecting any kind of consistency (well apart from drawing). For a start the lack of any creative input in midfield from the 'robust' pairing of Leigertwood and Karacan (he of the considerable tame variety) will in no way replace the 20 goals that Siggurdson plundered last season. I actually didnt think Mikele had a bad game but its clear that we have become redundant as an attacking force in this department. Questions will now be raised as to Tabb's role in the squad and Howard is clearly not viewed as a viable option to pull the strings in creating things to happen so perhaps come January it may be best to just get rid. I would also say that as much as Kebe can be viewed as a hot and cold player, McAnuff appears to be getting away with shirking from his responsibilties and is plainly going through the motions, how Antonio isnt getting a chance to shine above Hal Robson Kanu is beyond me so i wonder if Mcanuff is really worth persisting with now.

Defensively we are so so but there are increasing doubts whether our very own Captain can produce the kind of performaces that earned him rave reviews last season. I really dont know where to stand with Long, his effort and commitment cannot be faulted but his preditory instincts have become less and less impressive at a time when a 1-0 victory would do. As i mentioned earlier 'on paper' the squad looks competitive, the likes of Hunt, Church and Long as an attacking force should be enough in this division however it is clear that none of them seem to work well together and when Mcdermott does play two upfront he seems to have an obsession of playing at least one of the front two to forage on the wing (Long being the main target) which makes a mockery of two forwards playing in a central position and taints the performances of players like long no matter how hard he competes.
holsgrove breaks a leg

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Reading saw their winless run extended to six games after being frustrated by Coventry in a goalless draw at the Madejski Stadium. The home side began to take control after a quiet start and Shane Long fired wide before seeing another effort hit the post soon after. Coventry striker Marlon King, who was booed throughout, also hit the post in the first half but it was all Reading after the break. Sky Blues goalkeeper Kieren Westwood did well to deny Noel Hunt before Jem Karacan had a header cleared off the line as the visitors held firm. It was a frustrating afternoon for Reading, who made it five consecutive draws, while Coventry extended their unbeaten run to four matches without conceding. Neither side took a hold of the game early on and Coventry midfielder Lee Carsley volleyed over from long range, while at the other end Jobi McAnuff brought out a comfortable save from Westwood.

Reading began to pick up the pace and some excellent build-up play saw McAnuff lay the ball into the path of Long, who burst past one defender before firing wide. The Royals came agonisingly close to taking the lead with 18 minutes gone when Jimmy Kebe crossed for Long, who saw his effort cannon back off the post. Three minutes later the impressive McAnuff beat three players before crossing for Long, who headed over when he should have done better. Coventry had barely threatened but a good header from Clive Platt set up King, who smashed an effort from 18 yards against the post. The game continued to go from end to end but neither side were able to fashion any more meaningful goalscoring opportunities. Two minutes before half-time, Michael Doyle tried his luck from 25 yards but Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici was untroubled by the effort.

The home side made a bright start to the second half and Long burst to the byline and cut the ball back, but Westwood was alert and pounced on the ball. Moments later Westwood did well to parry away a shot from Hunt and the rebound fell to Karacan but his header was cleared off the line by Richard Wood. Reading continued to press and when Wood handled, it gave Ian Harte a chance from a free-kick, but his 25-yard shot was easily saved by the reliable Westwood. With time running out, Reading substitute Hal Robson-Kanu put a fine cross into the box and Long glanced a header just wide of the post. That was the closest Reading came to a winner as Coventry held on for a point.

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