Match Report: 2009/2010 Season

13 April 2010: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Simpson (Own Goal, 72 mins).
Newcastle: Nolan (20 mins, 42 mins).
Half Time: 0-2
Attendance: 23,163

Pos Team P Pts GD
10 Sheff Utd 43 58 +2
11 READING 42 56 -1
12 Doncaster 43 55 0
Reading: Federici, Griffin, Bertrand, Pearce, McAnuff (Robson-Kanu, 65) , Tabb (Church, 59), Howard, Kebe, Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Long (Rasiak, 79). Subs not used: Hamer, Cisse, Henry, Karacan.
Newcastle: Harper, Williamson, Ryan Taylor, Simpson, Coloccini ( Enrique, 46) , Routledge ( Barton, 75) , Gutierrez, Guthrie ( Carroll, 75), Nolan, Smith, Ameobi. Subs not used: Pancrate, Best, Krul, Lovenkrands.
Reading: Griffin, Pearce.
Newcastle: Ameobi, Nolan, Ryan Taylor.
Ref: F Graham (Essex)
Reading's lingering hopes of a place in the play-offs were finally extinguished by the probable league champions. In a highly entertaining game the Royals could consider themselves a little unfortunate not to manage a draw against a physically superior United side. Having pulled a goal back with eighteen minutes left Reading looked set to press for an equaliser. It might not have come, but any momentum gained from scoring was lost when a head injury to Gunnarsson near the end reduced the Royals to ten men and delayed play by over five minutes. Many Reading fans stayed to the end and applauded their team off the pitch acknowledging not only the performance on the night, but the effort since January that had rescued the club from the threat of relegation and taken it within touching distance of the play-offs.

Reading took the game to United and pressed for an early goal. As you would expect from a team already promoted and sitting on top of the league, they were not intimidated and defended with composure and authority with perhaps the exception of goalkeeper Harper who looked surprisingly edgy given he was playing behind the league's strongest defence. As always Kebe and McAnuff, supported by Griffin and Bertrand respectively, posed a real threat from wide positions but on the whole the United defence looked strong in their challenges and assured in possession. It was very much against the run of play however that Nolan scored in the twentieth minute.Pearce overall had a decent game but he Nolan allowed to turn in the box and beat Federici. United then enjoyed their best spell and looked capable of carving Reading open especially on the break. Long had Reading's two best efforts, one an overhead kick which Harper gathered comfortably and a second when he went past everyone but was unable to find the empty net from an incredibly difficult angle, Had he scored from either situation they would have bee quite remarkable goals. Then United delivered the killer blow just before half time when Nolan scored from a Routledge cross after Reading had been caught out on the break.

Although a win seemed unlikely, recent form suggest a draw might be salvaged if Reading could pull a goal back soon after half time. As it turned out it almost happened and the home fans certainly did not stop believing until the final whistle. The play became stretched in the second half as both teams went looking for goals. It was a very open and entertaining game but with the onus mainly on Reading to make the running. Sigurdsson shot over following a loud appeal for a penalty was denied. Tabb was covering a lot of ground in midfield and was not my choice to be replaced when Brian McDermott decided to bring on Church. Ameobi was lucky not to be sent off when he lashed out at a Reading defender (Pearce I believe) off the ball. Referee Graham must have seen it because he had strong words with him but did not see fit to even produce a yellow card. It only rubs salt into the wound of the suspension of Mills for a strong but fair challenge. Reading's persistence finally paid off when a mix up in the United defence resulted in a Simpson own goal. The opportunity to rescue a point was there although only some timely interceptions prevented United from extending their lead as gaps appeared at the back. Even with seven minutes of additional time it was a tall order for Reading to score with only ten men - not that Federici believed that! He decide he needed to make up for the missing outfield player and nearly paid the price when Reading lost possession after a free kick.

Considering the reading were fielding what is now their fourth and fifth choice centre backs against the league leaders it was good performance. Having watched the first away game of the season at St James' Park I am delighted with the progress the Royals have made since that comprehensive three nil defeat. The play-offs may be out of sight but Reading fans I am sure will enjoy the last few games of the season and look forward to next season with much greater hope than they might have expected back in the gloomy days of December.
John Wells

Well, that was actually quite an enjoyable load of old mince really. Plenty to keep you entertained tonight; standard soft-goal conceded at near post for Federici, Shola Aameobi getting rinsed by the AWESOME Gunnarsson and resorting to kicking Bryn up the bum in temper and then of course Kebe's laughably shanked cross when well placed in the dying seconds. Apart from a spawny goal, Reading had no real luck insomuch as we only had one recognised centre half to start with and then we ended with 10 men thanks to Bryn's injury. I think it is fair to say that with Zurab and Mills playing we may not have lost that game tonight; I really want to like Pearce as a youth product but fact is he is as mobile as an arthritic sloth and was outperfomed tonight by a 34 year old midfielder playing out of position. At the other end, Colocini must have laughed so hard playing against Shane Long in the first half that he had to be taken off at half time. Newcastle were not one of the better sides I have seen this season and they moaned and groaned and bumped and lumped their way to a win. Things are shaping up nicely though. Bring Griffin in full time, put Rasiak out to pasture - the recently deceased polish president was better in the air than Rasiak is, a desperate signing by ROFLodgers that was. We are looking good for a good five years or so of mid-table obscurity in the Championship, hurrah!
Floyd Streete

Well mixed emotions. Fairly good performance out there but we lacked any cutting edge and I'd be lying if I said we should have got 3 points tonight. Newcastle personified 'gamesmanship' tonight. They used all their experience to bully us without getting punished and whilst that annoyed the shit out of us, its no different to what we did in the closing stages of the West Brom game. At the end of the day Newcastle showed why they have walked the league and with that much talent in their team we were always going to be up against it. Not really much else to say, I thought Tabb was a bit poor with his passing today and they marked Kebe out of the game. Still plenty to look forward too next season.

We were good and controlled it without creating too many chances. They had 4 chances and took 2. That's why they're top. And that's where the niceties end. Nolan kicking the ball away then refusing to go to the ref to receive his yellow card. 5 bookings for dissent. Ameobi's kick on Pearce (the worst refereeing decision in a very long time). Even Hughton got in on the gamesmanship, holding the ball out for Gunnar then dropping it. The arrogant strides around the pitch. Nolan going to the fans to celebrate his "3rd" before it even went in. Smacked of the "deserving to be in the Premier League" attitude. We played well but we didn't have the composure in the final 3rd. Siggy looked a class above today. Our game plan was fairly easy to work out - Long flick on for Kebe in behind. Problem being when Long did win the header (which tbf he did a fair bit more than I expected) Kebe was nearly always offside. Federici possibly at fault for the first. Bertrand had a good game, got forward a lot. Griffin had a good game too.

Got an opinion? E-Mail us at
Appropriate submissions will appear on match report pages

"We are very close now and we can sew it up on Monday now. Whichever way it happens we'll be delighted," said Chris Hughton, the Newcastle manager. "There are no celebrations tonight, it is business as normal but we have put ourselves in a great position. You saw what we are about. Reading were better than us for periods but we saw it out."

Reading boss Brian McDermott:
"Newcastle showed what it takes to win the league. They were under the cosh and scored twice and then at the end they threw bodies in the way. Chris Hughton has galvanised the club and I'm very pleased for him. We've got an outside chance of getting in the play-offs and all we can do is win our next four games."

BBC Sport

Maximum points from their remaining games will give Newcastle 104 points, eight more than the club’s current record, set in 1993, yet two still two points short of the 106-point all-time League record set, curiously, by Reading in 2005. And how the locals delighted in reminding 4,000 visiting fans. ... Prior to the game, Reading manager Brian McDermott had admitted that Newcastle had been the “boss team” of the Championship and this display confirmed that, though the home side continued to search for an opening. Before the end Reading got a goal they deserved, but from an unlikely source. With 20 minutes remaining an attempted clearance from Newcastle substitute Jose Enrique slammed against Simpson and ricocheted over the luckless Steve Harper. And Reading finished with 10 men when, having used their substitutes, Bryn Gunnarsson received a head wound and left on a stretcher, but his injury is not serious.