MATCH REPORT: 2004/2005 Season

Reading: Morgan (13 mins), Kitson (39 mins).
Cardiff City:
Jerome (87 mins).
Half Time: 2-0
Attendance: 16,107

Pos Team P Pts GD
2 Ipswich 19 39 +18
3 READING 19 37 +12
4 Sunderland 19 34 +11
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Morgan (Brooker 75), Harper, Sidwell, Hughes (Convey 80), Kitson (Newman 90), Owusu. Subs Not Used: Savage, Young.
Cardiff City: Warner, Gabbidon, Barker, Collins, Williams, Ledley, Boland, Kavanagh, McAnuff (Bullock 63), Lee (Fleetwood 74), Parry (Jerome 74). Subs Not Used: Vidmar, Alexander.
Reading: -.
Cardiff City:
Lee, Kavanagh (red card, 56 mins).
Referee: E Evans (Lancashire).

Reading made it ten league games unbeaten at home this season, as their eleventh win of the campaign closed the gap on league leaders Wigan to just two points. In a scrappy encounter Reading were probably the better side against Cardiff City who seldom looked like challenging for the points. The visitors were two goals down at the break and then saw Kavanagh dismissed with a straight red card after he appeared to kick Sidwell after also dishing out a bad foul. Reading took the lead just before the quarter hour when Morgan broke into the area on the left and fired the ball in, which deflected off the back of the keeper and into the net. Kitson then doubled Reading's lead with his fifth strike in five games with an excellent goal five minutes before the break. Nicky Shorey played a superb ball into Kitson's path from the left and Kitson steamed through to beat two players and the goalkeeper before sliding the ball home. The second half saw Cardiff briefly look like they might get into the game before Reading calmed the game down and looked comfortable. Hughes nearly increased the lead after a cross from the left but his effort was well saved. Cardiff pulled back a consolation towards the end with a headed goal past Hahnemann but Reading held on with ease to take the full three points.

Following report by John Wells:
Cardiff may be close to the foot of the table, but this was a hard fought victory. Cardiff passed the ball well and remained positive throughout - even when they were reduced to ten men early in the second half. The battle for midfield was intense at times and there were few scoring opportunities, but when they arrived Reading once again demonstrated they have a cutting edge that most teams in this division seem to lack.

The Royals survived an early scare when Morgan's poor header created an opening for Cardiff. Hahnemann saved well getting down smartly to his left to smother the ball. Morgan looked a bit of a liability defensively at times but he posed a real threat going forward. Cardiff were clearly aware of this and almost invariably had two men close him down when he received the ball. Somewhat against the run of play a direct run from Morgan down the left carried him into the penalty area. From a wide position a cross seemed the best option, and indeed it may have been his intention, but the outcome was a soft goal as the ball squirmed past Warner at the near post.

The goal didn't seem to throw Cardiff in the slightest as they continued to play neat football. The only flaw in their game was a tendency to throw tantrums every time a decision went against them. The referee was quick to react in most situations but was rather lenient when Sidwell was clattered midway through the first half. Kavanagh, clearly not the player he was a couple of years ago, was nevertheless doing a good holding job in midfield. It was an even contest, but six minutes before half time Reading made the crucial breakthrough. Shorey nipped in quickly to intercept a predictable pass and released Kitson with an early ball. With typical composure and flair he floated past the last defender before rounding Warner and rolling the ball into the empty net. It turned out to be the winner.

The second half was further evidence of how organised and focussed Reading are when they are defending. Sonko was dominant at the centre, but the back four were shielded once again by an energetic and disciplined midfield. I was impressed at the way Reading refused to be provoked when attempts were made to intimidate them. Justice was finally served when Kavanagh was dismissed for an assault on Sidwell. I doubt that even John Wayne could have matched the swagger with which Kavanagh made his exit. Reading then took control of the game and stretched Cardiff with some excellent long passes. Brooker, on for Morgan, produced the best pass of the match to provide Hughes with the easiest chance of the match. However the delightful forty yard diagonal ball into the box was wasted as Hughes blasted the ball at Warner.

Just to add a bit of excitement near the end, Kitson needlessly conceded a free-kick wide on the right. Hahnemann, having had a good game up that point, committed the cardinal sin for a 'keeper. He came for the cross and failed to gather it, and Jerome's touch sent the ball bouncing into the unguarded goal. There was slight flurry from Cardiff but the result was never really in doubt. Under Coppell we have a young side maturing rapidly into a quite a force to be reckoned with.


First thing to say is well done to the Cardiff fans for impeccably observing the one minutes silence before the game. There was a small noise at the start but that was quickly quelled by the Cardiff fans and the silence was a credit to both sets of fans. I was surprised to see we never had one corner during the game as I felt we had the majority of the game and in the main I thought we played ok. Little was missed and it's a big concern he keeps "tweaking his hamstring" he certainly gives us that extra bit when he plays, but yet again Hughies stepped into the breach and did nothing wrong . Shame he never took the glorious chance just before being substituted. We are looking solid at the back and all back four deserve great credit, especially Ingimasson who quietly gets on with it week in week out and is having a great season. Morgan continues to do well but maybe must learn when to pass earlier rather than running himself into trouble but that's a little unfair as he's still a youngster. Kitson's goal was a cracker and he really is turning into a good striker. There's a lot of talk about him moving up to the Premiership but I don't think he's ready yet, stay with us and keep learning his trade then we'll have to see. Forest next week looks a classic banana skin but a I'd happily settle for a draw. Keep it going lads with Wigan starting to wobble and them the next home game it's starting to get very exciting... URZ !
Nick Newbury

This game goes to show how one lapse can change the face of a whole afternoon's work. A poor piece of judgement from Hahnnamen in coming for a ball into the box and what should have been a comfortable 3 points became a 'backs-to-the-wall' job. Thankfully, Reading held on to claim the win the rest of their performance deserved. Yes, they probably should have claimed the 3rd goal that would've killed off Cardiff in the 2nd half but the team still did well overall with the midfield standing out in particular for me and were worthy winners in the end. COME ON.......
Caversham Royal

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