Match Report: 2009/2010 Season

12 September 2009: LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: -
Doncaster: -
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 15,687

Pos Team P Pts GD
16 Nottm F 6 6 -2
17 READING 6 6 -3
18 Scunthorpe 6 6 -6
Reading: Federici, O'Dea, Bertrand, Pearce, Cummings, Howard, Kebe, Karacan (Rasiak, 59), Sigurdsson (Matejovsky, 58), Gunnarsson (Cisse, 69), Hunt. Subs not used: Tabb, Mills, Hamer, Church.
Doncaster: Sullivan, Chambers, Lockwood, Shackell, Roberts, Spicer (Hird, 64), Coppinger (Guy, 76), Martin Woods, Oster, Stock, Hayter (Sharp, 76) Subs not used: Fortune, Wilson, Shiels, Smith.
Reading: -
Doncaster: Chambers, Martin Woods, Stock.
Ref: P Gibbs (West Midlands).
All the talk of transition and building for the future meant little for most of the home fans today as they drifted away still waiting for the first home win since January. An away win and new signings had given cause for renewed optimism, but in the end Reading had only managed to grind out another goalless draw. There was little to excite the crowd and the subdued atmosphere contributed to a fairly dull game. Rovers are described as a passing side, which they were, but they are also a very defensive outfit organised to stifle opponents, particularly away from home. Frequently every player was behind the ball, and certainly every player was back in the box for corners. Reading may have improved their squad, but with McAnuff injured, and Howard, Cummings and O'Dea settling in it was never likely to be a truly cohesive performance.

Reading started brightly and exerted pressure on Rovers forcing a couple of nervous errors but they did not really have any impact in the crucial area in front of goal. Sigurdsson, displaced to a position wide on the left with the arrival of Howard sent in a couple of good crosses which might have been converted into goals if anyone had shown sufficient commitment, He also brought the only save of the first half out of Sullivan with a well struck shot from a deep Kebe cross. Bertrand and Cummings seemed reluctant to live up to their reputation as attacking full backs and did not get forward very often. Maybe that will come later as their confidence grows. Gunnarsson was working hard in midfield allowing Karacan to press forward occasionally. Howard was busy and even launched a speculative long range effort which landed on the bar. It had the look of an overhit cross but he might be given the benefit of the doubt. He was certainly intent on a strike on goal after thirty minutes before Kebe, running away from goal, nicked the ball off him as just as he was shaping to shoot. Rovers came closest to scoring when Cummings deflected a cross goalwards but Federici made a fine save to prevent an embarrassing debut own goal. The player suffering most from the new set up is Noel Hunt. He was continually expected to hold the ball up indefinitely and wait for support which simply did not arrive. 4 3 3 might work but not if it means your best striker, or should I say your only striker, is left isolated upfield. Under the circumstances he did a magnificent job.

The second half was following a similar pattern to the first and there allays the nagging doubt Rovers might break and score. The substations injected a bit of life into the game almost immediately as Matejovsky demonstrated his ability to keep the ball by playing his defence out of trouble and setting an attack in motion. Hunt finally finding himself with Rasiak to play off sent the polish striker through with a beautifully weighted pass inside the full back. Sullivan produced the best save of the game pushing Rasiak's shot way for a corner. O'Dea had a solid game at the back and also had a header from a corner saved towards the end but for most of the game a draw looked inevitable.

Rodgers may know how he wants to play but he certainly does not know who to play yet and it will be a few more games yet before he will. He will certainly be given the opportunity to test the qualities of his new squad on Wednesday when Cardiff come to down. They are serious about promotion and will looking for a win. Sparks will fly - I hope! Even if we don't win it would be good to see some passion and commitment to go with the neat passing.
John Wells


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Reading boss Brendan Rodgers: "I am pleased with the clean sheet but in the second half I thought we were more likely to win. They changed their formation three times during the game, starting 4-3-3, changing to a diamond formation and in the second-half going 2-3-3-2. Our players had to adapt because you can't just keep running around or else spaces open up. The international break was both good and bad for us. We had won 3-1 at Barnsley so wanted to keep that going, but on the other hand the break gave us a chance to bed our new signings in."
BBC Sport