Match Report vs Huddersfield

15 November 1997 (League Division One)
Huddersfield 1 READING 0

Att: 12,600

Team: Hammond, Bernal, Swales, Caskey, McPherson, Primus, Parkinson, Lambert (Hodges 76 mins), Asaba, Morley, Williams.

Subs (not used): Glasgow, Booty.

Here's the report by Clive Baskerville from the Evening Post:

CARL ASABA was left cursing his luck after twice failing to hit the target as Reading slipped to their first away defeat in six games on Saturday at revitalised Huddersfield. The 24-year-old striker could have put Royals in the driving seat in a hard-fought match before Paul Dalton settled the issue in the 73rd minute the first goal Reading have conceded on their travels in 554 minutes. Watching Leeds boss George Graham and his assistant David O'Leary, who Royals play tomorrow in the Coca-Cola Cup, would have been impressed by the determination and organisation showed by Reading. And if Asaba and strike-partner Trevor Morley had shown as much ruthlessness in front of goal, they may have gone away with even more to think about.

The former Brentford forward, whose opportunities fell to him early in the second half, said: "With the first one I was aiming for the top corner, but put it just the wrong side of the post, while the second went inches wide. It was a great ball from Parky which gave their defender (Andy Morrison) no chance of catching me. I shanked it with my left but the ball still looked destined for the corner. However, the second bounce took it wide and, from then on, I thought it wasn't going to be our day. Asaba also volleyed a harder chance wide on the hour as Terriers lived dangerously. Both Morley's opportunities came three minutes apart in a largely uneventful first half. He said: "The first came from a cross by Darren Cas-key. I managed to get in front of my marker at the far post but put it just the wrong side of the post with the keeper beaten". The second came from a cross by Steve Swales that I just put over. Although Morley was disappointed he didn't hit the target with either, he was happy to get another game under his belt. He said: "I'm getting stronger with each game I play and my fitness is getting better. Reading boss Terry Bulli-vant made only one change to the starting line-up that beat Stockport 1-0 the previous week. Martin Williams replaced the injured Michael Meaker on the right wing. But it was all change on the bench where Byron Glasgow, Martyn Booty and fit-again Lee Hodges were called up. They replaced Williams, Dariusz Wdowczyk and Ray Houghton, who was on World Cup duty with the Republic of Ireland in Brussels.

Huddersfield came into the game boasting three new signings. Striker Wayne Allison, who joined them from Swindon in an 800,000 deal, gave an impressive display and was a real handful for the Reading defence. Welsh international midfielder David Phillips, signed from Nottingham Forest and substitute Grant Johnson, a new recruit from Dundee United, were late additions to a squad that is suddenly starting to look a much better proposition to the one that failed to win in 14 games a few weeks ago. It was Terriers who had the first chance of the match on six minutes when Morrison's near-post flick from Dalton's corner was well stopped on the line by Nicky Hammond. However, despite attracting a much bigger crowd than usual, Huddersfield failed to capitalise on some bright football in the early stages. Reading showed they were in no mood to give them any space and refused to be intimidated by the enthusiastic crowd. Although Royals created little of their own in the first 30 minutes, they suddenly broke out to create two good chances for Morley.

Both sides seemed more determined to put on a better spectacle after the break. Allison was just wide with a far-post header from a Rob Edwards cross, then Asaba lashed the first of his chances wide after being set up by a Caskey chip and a determined Williams run. Moments later, Williams sent a dipping 25-yard shot at goal that Vince Bartram saved well, while Asaba pulled his best chance wide after he used his blistering pace to outrun the defence. Dalton gave Royals a reminder of his skills when he bent a 25-yard free kick narrowly wide. A minute later he got round the back of the defence and handed a golden chance to Darren Edmondson on a plate. All the defender had to do was sidefoot home from six yards. But he got underneath the ball and scooped it over the bar. As play switched quickly from end to end, Asaba and Edwards both squandered good opportunities on the volley by snatching at the ball.

Huddersfield started to get a grip after the introduction of Johnson as both Dalton and Allison went close to breaking the deadlock. The goal finally arrived when Steve Jenkins played in Allison on the right. His low cross was almost forced in by Edwards, but Hammond made a brilliant save. However, DALTON was on hand to rifle the rebound into the roof of the net. Allison and Johnson, who broke clean through, missed further chances for Town, but Royals nearly equalised in the 89th minute. Hodges skipped into the box and curled a right-foot shot towards the top corner, but Bartram made a superb fingertip save. Phillips and Phil Parkinson received bookings for late challenges. In the case of Parky, it puts him back on four cautions only a few days after having one card knocked off for behaving himself. So the aggressive ball-winner, who has been in fine form since returning from injury, will have to watch his step again.

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN: Bartram, Jenkins, Edmondson (Johnson 64 mins), Dyson, Morrison, Gray, Dalton (Lawson 90 mins), Horne, Allison, Phillips, Edwards. Sub (not used): Burnett.

READING: Hammond, Bernal, Swales, Caskey, McPherson, Pri-mus, Parkinson, Lambert (Hodges 76 mins), Asaba, Morley, Williams. Subs (not used): Glasgow, Booty.

Referee: Bill Burns (Scarborough).

Attendance: 12,617.
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