Hob Nob Match Report

15 August 1998
Bristol Rovers 4 Reading 1


Van der Kwaak, Booty, Parkinson, Kromheer, Legg, Bowen (Houghton), Brebner, Caskey, Gray, Williams (Asaba), McIntyre

Martin Williams

Match Audio
GOAL 1: Rovers 0 Reading 1
GOAL 2: Rovers 1 Reading 1
GOAL 3: Rovers 2 Reading 1
  GOAL 4: Rovers 3 Reading 1
GOAL 5: Rovers 4 Reading 1
All samples are Real Audio format - you'll need Real Player. Thanks to Ben at CG.

Well I couldn't get to the match after leaving it too late to apply for one of Reading's rather small allocation of 870 tickets for the away end. Luckily Gary Deards was there for this report:

Twas a luverley day in the South West until that fateful time when we a) saw that Mr Rejer was the referee and b) we scored first!!

The day started well - left Reading at 11.45 and arrived at junction 19 of the M4 at about 1pm. Turned onto the M32 and passed Junction 1 got caught in a traffic jam (I wondered why TVFM's traffic news was telling Reading supporters to use the M5 - I had already got stuck on the M32 before that useful piece of info came in!). At 2pm I finally got to Junction 2 (1.4 miles per hour!!) and the police had closed the sliproad! Underneath the Motorway was a demonstartion which was fenced in by about 50 police horses and 50 police vans! I couldn't see any Royals shirts and so contented myself that Oxford away last season wasn't reoccuring. Finally arrived at J3 and was allowed off - by this tome the police had re-opened the motorway and so I was allowed back on the M32 back to J2! Arrived at ground at 2.30pm.

Parked car in official car park and was told that the wheelchair entrance was in the away end which meant walking/wheeling around the ground. Arrived at away end to be confronted by 10 steps! Stewards were very helpful but we had to walk back from where I had just come from! Car park bloke got a good telling off! Arrived in seat at 2.50! Kick off delayed to 3.15 because of demo.

On my travels, I asked what the demo was all about - apparently, it was a reclaim the streets road demonstration. The policemand thought it she be renamed"reclaim the soap" demonstration - who said they don't have a sense of humour!

Anyway, back to the game - the Royals started well and even managed to score through a Martin Williams header after good work by Jim Macintyre. After that things went from bad to worse. Mr Rejer suddenly remembered that Reading had made an official complaint about him a few years ago and decided to give Rovers a penalty for god knows what! Van de Kwaak saved and the away end went euphoric (Holland's No. 1 was heard!). However, for the rest of the first half it was constant Rovers pressure with our well known pacy defence going on an even slower go slow. de Kwaak made some excellent saves (and managed to catch a couple of crosses - still punched corners though). A long ball through the middle caught the Parky and Kromheer flat footed (where have I heard that before) and Hayles nipped in to lob the ball over the advancing out Kwaak.

A couple of minutes later, Rovers were through again and after a good save, Meaker did something he never did for us and followed up to score. Martin Booty continued his mare and for some inexplicable reason decided to shoulder the ball away from the next Rovers cross and Mr R gave another penalty. This time they scored in the same corner as the missed one. 3-1 down at half time and things could only improve!

Good news was that the f*$Ģing crap Bowen was finally taken off, only to be replaced by Houghton! At least Houghton tried to pass the ball and for the first 10 minutes we looked like we might getback into the game. Rovers threatened with their pace on the counter and Parky/Kromheer continued to struggle. Booty made some decent tackles but his 10 minute mare had probably cost us the game. Asabla came on with 30 minutes to go and gave the team a bit of pace. Still we never looked like scoring (again!). Rovers scored again near the end but by this time, we had all given up.

Player summaries:

de Kwaak - made some decent saves and looked a bit better on crosses. Maybe to blame for 1st goal?

Legg - OK. Nothing special. Went missing a few times. Should have been covering Meaker for their second.

Booty - Nightmare 10 minute spell when Rovers scored all 3 goals. Picked up in second half.

Parky - 100% effort. Made some good last minute saving tackles. Undone by Rovers pace. Lucky not to be sent off for almost wrestling one of their players down.

Kromheer - Lacked pace (I though he was quite quick against Wrexham!), but did OK.

Brebner - ineffectual. Played right wing in second half - still do nothing.

Caskey - playing FAR, FAR to deep. We need him behind the strikers not infront of the defence. Distribution poor.

Gray - Rubbish. As he was at Wrexham. We need Lambert or a left winger ASAP. Hodges may be a better bet.

McIntyre - Tried hard but never looked like scoring. Where is Brayson?

Williams - Man of match. Scored our only goal. Ran his socks off. Looked threatening even when playing wide right.

Houghton - OK. Can't have Him, Caskey and Brebner in the same team!
Asaba - OK. Showed some pace and had a few shots (unlike the others).
Reiley - Didn't get on.
We need two decent full backs!
Come back Linvoy ASAP
Murty might give us some pace on the right
Play Caskey behind the strikers (x2 NOT 1)
Stop Sarr playing for Liberia!
Play Asaba from the start and drop McIntyre

Oh what joy supporting the Royals has become!!!!


And here's a report from Stuart Brinicombe:

All started well - probably the best pasty ever at a football (sorry Rugby) ground. Then came the team sheet, as has been previously mentioned...PARKY IS NOT A CENTRE HALF. All looked a bit more promising two up front, Williams to give a bit more support to the constantly isolated McIntyre, and this seemed to pay dividends when Williams popped up to score with a lovely header across the keeper.

From there it all went down hill. Booty, Parky and Elroy constantly looked under pressure and unable to cope with it. If Parky is not a centre half then neither is Elroy, great on the ball, but lacking in pace and tackling ability he is surely best suited to a non-marking role within three central defenders. And what is wrong with Davies? Does Burns really not like Gingers (mind you does anyone) - he tackles well, has a decent turn of pace and put his body on the line. Commitment is one thing the fans want to see now Tommy. Booty once again looked outclassed, surely Burns has noticed that Swales is right footed and could do a far better job at right back. Their first Penalty was a joke, and Qwack made a good save, after that he kept the score below ten!!

Their three goals in the first half (other than the penalty which was down to either an alleged whistle in the crowd or Booty's volleyball training) were simple pass and move goals which split our back four with ease. Without complaining too much about officials (one offside - one handball) we were beaten too easily. Second half enter Houghton for the very poor Bowen to further clog the midfield with over ambitious creative midfielders. Always looking to knock the forty yard pass to feet (invariably finding head/chest/feet of defender) rather than playing simply and patiently. We created a couple of decent chances with Gray and Brebner almost getting in, but other than that the biggest threat came in the form of Asaba when he came on. I hope he doesn't go to Gillingham as he looked our most threatening forward proposition, more determined than last year - surely he's worth a start in the absence of Sar.

Just as with Wrexham, apart from 15 minutes we weren't at the races. Not winning the ball in midfield, and when we received it using it poorly. The defence was lacking pace and cohesion, not able to even hold a line. Up front McIntyre was his usual hard working self, but when is he going to score, we need goals more than hard work.

I now its only early days and I'm not going to get too depressed about our chances yet but Burns has got to take a long hard look at his squad and make some decisions. Did he make Caskey captain because he thought it would make him a better player or because it makes him harder to drop, justifying his wages. Does he really think Parky is a centre half? Does he think playing Caskey who will not make a tackle and Brebner who can't be bothered to make a tackle works? Play one not both of them with Parky (or Reilly), play Asaba up front - if nothing else pace frightens defenders and creates chances, and get Linvoy fit quickly. I think he can turn it around, but he better make it soon, before the gap to the top becomes to great.

Man of the Match: Stuart Gray - dodgy highlights, good player.

Dreaming about a win.

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