Match Report: 2011/2012 Season

13 March 2012: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Pearce (51 mins).
Doncaster: Bennett (27 mins).
Half Time: 1-0.

Attendance: 8,287

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 Southampton 36 69 +32
2 READING 36 67 +18
3 West Ham 35 66 +21
Reading: C Ikeme, P Chimbonda, T Spurr, S Hird, H Beye, S Gillett, J Coppinger, G Barnes, F Piquionne, E Diouf, K Bennett.
Subs not used: S Church, T Cywka, M Andersen.
Doncaster: A Federici, I Harte, K Gorkss, A Pearce, S Cummings, J McAnuff, M Leigertwood, J Karacan (J Tabb, 64), H Robson-Kanu (A Le Fondre, 64), N Hunt, J Roberts.
Subs not used: J Oster, J Hayter, H Ilunga, A Lockwood, F Robert
Reading: Gorkss, Karacan, Hunt.
Doncaster: Beye, Diouf.
Ref: Anthony Bates.

I consider this a great point and who knows how valuable it will be at the end of the season. Sometimes you need a small reality check to avoid complacency and this away draw against a good Doncaster side will hopefully do that. Yes we had so many good chances particularly from Ian Hartes fantastic corners with Gorkes and the colossus Alex Pearce all missing the target with point blank headers in the first ten minutes. Pearce was immense 10/10 and deserves all the plaudits capped by a bullet header goal to equalise , and for me should have the Captains armband. Many players looked tired last night and we miss Kebe as he's the only real player capable of beating defenders, McAnuff and Robinson Canoeso were poor and didn't really do much at all, not did Roberts and while at it Cummins had a mare and was at fault for their goal. But we march on and a point gained and into the automatic places is a good nights work . All the top three have tough away games Saturday, going to best a test of nerves as well as stamina as we enter the last ten games but judged on last night, we're still going well and truly in the right direction.

Should have taken all three points - we certainly had enough chances. In the first half our main threat was from Harte's precision corners. Unfortunately our centre backs were guilty of failing to hit the target. It was frantic pin ball play from both sides with the ball in the air for most of the time. The pitch had been both narrowed and shortened and this may have contributed to the lack of space.
Unfortunately it was Donny that got the ball down and their one serious attempt in the first half was slotted home. Cumming failed to intercept and cover his man and they were a goal up. Plenty of pressure from the start of the second half and it was a Harte set piece who set up the goal. Was this one of the best ever corners you will ever see? He arrowed the ball into the back post and Pearce headed in from a foot or so out. Cue mass celebrations from the Reading faithful who were in fine voice. Unfortunately we did not press our advantage and it was Donny who were mounting raids down our left flank. However their finishing was cr*p and Feds was never really tested.
More pressure at the end and you felt that the goal would come but their keeper made some fine saves at the end.
One of those nights - plenty of chances created but they were not destined to go in.

Funny game that. We were a way below our best - McAnuff poor, Leigertwood could hardly find a teammate, Robson-Kanu failing to make any headway. Rovers couldn't defend Harte's excellent corners, but it wasn't a great surprise when they took the lead after poor defending on our left flank. We nearly struck back before HT with a great Hunt header well saved and we failed to mKe anything of a goal-mouth scramble. The second half was better, with an equaliser inevitably from another corner. Then we missed a hatful of half chances, while Rovers still looked capable of snatching a win.
Not a bad point but all three were there for the taking. For all Rovers' neat football, they were awful at the back and you can see how they've gotten themselves in trouble.

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Reading saw their eight-game winning streak in the Championship come to an end as they were held to a draw by relegation-threatened Doncaster. The visitors missed three good chances to open the scoring before Kyle Bennett prodded home El-Hadji Diouf's cross to put the hosts ahead. Doncaster keeper Carl Ikeme saved well from Noel Hunt and Jem Karacan. Alex Pearce nodded Ian Harte's corner in to level but despite late pressure Reading could not force a winner. However, the point was enough for them to move into the automatic promotion places, while Rovers remain unbeaten in five and are now three points adrift of safety.

It might have turned out differently had Reading seized their chances to take an early lead, but Diouf cleared Pearce's powerful header from Harte's corner off the line. Harte's deliveries were causing chaos in Rovers' six-yard box in the opening 15 minutes and Pearce missed another chance from three yards before Mikele Leigertwood headed over with Ikeme stranded. Doncaster could easily have been 3-0 down, but with their first real opening they struck and it was a superb team goal. The hosts manoeuvred the ball to the right, where Diouf played a one-two with James Coppinger and whipped in a low cross which Bennett converted at the far post. They had Ikeme to thank for going into half-time ahead - he first scooped away Hunt's downward header and then kept out a low Karacan effort.

But Reading finally made one of Harte's deliveries count after the restart when a deep corner was met by Pearce, who made no mistake from five yards out. Rovers twice went close to restoring their lead through Frederic Piquionne's header and a Giles Barnes volley. Habib Beye glanced a header wide after good wing play by Coppinger before Reading flooded forward in the final 15 minutes. Pearce was denied again as Sam Hird cleared off the line before Jason Roberts, Hunt and Kaspar Gorkss all went close.
Reading manager Brian McDermott: "This was never going to be easy, you have to give credit to Doncaster, they have got players who can hurt you. They were throwing bodies in at the end to keep the ball out and that's how it is, you don't expect to come anywhere and get an easy game."

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