MATCH REPORT: 2005/2006 Season

17 September 2005: LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading:Ingimarsson (81 mins).
Crewe: -
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 17,668

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 Sheff Utd 9 24 +11
2 READING 9 20 +12
3 Watford 9 17 +7
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Makin, Little (Oster 79), Harper, Gunnarsson, Convey (Hunt 83), Lita (Obinna 78), Doyle. Subs Not Used: Stack, Baradji.
Crewe: Turnbull, Moss, Foster, McCready, Tonkin, Billy Jones, Lunt, Vaughan (Rivers 80), Gary Roberts, Steve Jones (Ugarte 84), Higdon (Suhaj 84). Subs Not Used: Williams, Cochrane.
Reading: -
Crewe: -
Referee: A Woolmer (Northamptonshire).

Reading left it late before scrambling a 1-0 victory over Crewe at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon. This latest victory extended Reading's impressive run of form to nine games unbeaten - including eight league fixtures. Reading remain unbeaten since the opening day defeat against Plymouth, and that record is a fair reflection of Reading's performances since then. Although this game wasn't a patch compared to Tuesday's display against Crystal Place, the Royals got off to another exciting start. Reading continued where they'd left off, yet again, with some fast attacking football that saw Crewe unable to break out of their half. Little had an early shot that required a good save and then a few minutes later crossed to Doyle who should have scored but somehow put the ball wide from close in. The Royals kept the pressure on and Lita had a good chance but failed to connect properly with his shot. Convey and Little were both causing plenty of problems for the visitors down the wings and it looked like the result would be a formality.

Unfortunately, after failing to make the early pressure count, Reading went off the boil as Crewe worked themselves into the game. Crewe's first shot took nearly twenty minutes - a straight forward effort for Hahnemann to hold onto. From then they started to gain composure and were quick to close Reading down. After Reading started the second half brightly, Crewe enjoyed a good period of play that included a couple of decent efforts that hinted a Reading victory was far from a certainty after all. Crewe did manage to put the ball into the back of the net, but the linesman's flag had gone up well before the shot went in. Time was running out for Reading to claim another victory, but the introduction of Oster and Obinna gave Reading a little more life when they were starting to get short of ideas. A couple of minutes later, with less than ten minutes to play, the breakthrough came from an Oster cross. Ingimarsson met the cross on the right to head the ball through a packed Crewe area. The ball clearly crossed the line before being scrambled clear, but play appeared to continue. Doyle flew in to push the ball over the line again, as the net filled up with most of the Crewe defence. After a moment of hesitation, and a glance at the linesman, the referee awarded the goal and Reading were on their way to victory. Crewe had worked hard to defend for the point but Reading's overall superiority had eventually told.

Elsewhere in the Championship, Sheffield United defeated Watford to maintain their four point lead over the Royals at the top of the table.

Following report by John Wells:
Fielding the same side which served up a feast of entertainment on Tuesday against Crystal Palace, Reading disappointed their fans with a mediocre performance rescued by a late goal from Ivar Ingamarsson. Boosted by the 'Kid for a Quid' deal the attendance topped 17,000 again. Expectations were high at kick off, although the atmosphere was not a patch on Tuesday night. Only a loyal handful of Crewe fans made the trip.

From the kick off Lita and Doyle won possession with pace and strength, and it seemed initially we would be in for another storming performance from the Royals. Within two minutes Doyle missed an absolute sitter and Crewe found it hard to get out of their own half. As the game wore on Crewe maintained their composure, kept possession well at times and moved smoothly in attack. Their short passing game was giving Reading plenty to think about by half time. Doyle and Lita were not looking as sharp as they had in previous games as they failed to capitalise on good service from Little, Convey, Harper and Gunnarsson. Convey presented Lita with a decent chance but he produced an embarrassing air shot to the delight of the Crewe fans. Before half thime Crewe had a goal disallowed for offside after a smart one - two on the edge of the area. Moments later they almost scored again as the ball flashed invitingly across Reading's six yard box. It only needed a touch.

The second half was very frustrating as Reading looked take control of the game. Convey was given license to roam and created some promising situations with his incisive running. Unfortunately nothing came of them as passes were mistimed, players stopped when they should have run, and ran into the wrong areas of the field. Lita was not as effective as usual in holding the ball and bringing others into the game. With Convey and Little coming inside, Reading often lacked width. Makin is nowhere near as effective as Shorey going forward and Murty has lost his attacking edge recently. Reading were not crossing the ball well and Turnbull was finding it easy to come and claim everything in the air. Doyle missed a good chance dragging his shot wide with only the 'keeper to beat. It was one of those days.

Lita finally forced a good low save from Turnbull with a downward header but he was soon to be replaced by Obinna who didn't make much of an impression in his brief appearance. There was a flurry of substations around the Reading winner in the eighty-first minute. For Crewe Rivers replaced Vaughan, and Oster replaced a tired looking Little as Reading continued to press forward. Relief came fro Reading when Oster played a ball to the far post where Ingamarsson headed back across goal and the ball somehow crossed the line before Crewe cleared the ball with Doyle trying to force the ball into the net. In spite a two further Crewe substitutions and a spirited response from the visitors, Reading held on for win, but they looked very ragged for the last few minutes. Murty and Makin in particular were all over the place.

In the end the performance didn't really matter. What did matter was the three points and another clean sheet. Even good sides are entitled to have an off day, and lets face it, Tuesday night was tough act to follow!


This was a game that will produce all the clichés. After the Lord mayor's show, as long as we got the three points, it's a sign of a good team that can win one of these etc. The truth is we started like a house on fire (sorry about that one) and became a damp squib. What we showed was resolve and determination. The first fifteen minutes were brilliant as we cut them apart and played some brilliant football. We all know though that you must make them pay when you are on top and those misses will come back and haunt you later. Doyle and Lita both might have scored but didn't and as the half progressed Crewe came into the game more and more which was credit to them. What they lacked was someone to finish it all off - a good job they sold Ashton last season. The second half followed a similar pattern. Lita had a header well saved and Convey and Eric might have done better had they fed people around them. They hit the bar and in the ensuing melee Harper headed off the line. The goal we scored was a scrappy affair but who cares as long as they go in. The Iceman became the ninth different player to score for us this season and that is terrific. We still did not control the game, but we took the three points. It was an odd game and fans will say that it one we would not have won in the past. Nobody played badly but nobody shone. The best were probably Convey and Sonko but nothing new there! The start to the season has been terrific. We can now score goals. We can play well without Kitson, Sidwell and Shorey. We can entertain - perhaps Chelsea fans should come and watch. Above all we have started to build a platform from which we can go on and achieve. Credit for that goes to the players and the management staff. Long may it continue!
Ken C

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