MATCH REPORT: 2005/2006 Season

Reading: Sidwell (40 mins), Doyle (68 mins).
Millwall: -
Half Time: 0-1
Attendance: 12,920

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 READING 24 59 +36
2 Sheff Utd 24 53 +25
3 Watford 24 39 +8
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Little (Oster 82), Harper, Sidwell (Gunnarsson 80), Convey, Kitson, Doyle (Hunt 88). Subs Not Used: Stack, Brown.
Millwall: Doyle, Phillips, Paul Robinson, Whitbread, Craig, Dunne, Elliott, Livermore, Simpson, May, Dyer (Braniff 59). Subs Not Used: Cogan, Igoe, Morris, Williams.
Reading: Sidwell
Millwall: Dunne. Sent Off: Craig (47 mins).
Referee: A Hall (W Midlands).

Reading's seemingly unstoppable push towards the Premiership continued with an eighth straight league win at Millwall this weekend. The Royals twenty-third game without defeat became straight forward just after half time when the home side were reduced to ten men when Kevin Doyle was taken down in the area and Tony Craig received a straight red card. Dave Kitson's subsequent penalty was saved by the Millwall goalkeeper, but it was only a matter of time before Reading wrapped up the three points.

The early part of the game saw few chances for either side and Reading survived when a header hit Hanhnemann's crossbar with the keeper beaten. Reading took the lead five minutes before the break when Murty broke through down the right to cross to Doyle. Doyle played the ball in to Sidwell who buried it with an excellent volley into the roof of the net. Convey nearly made it two before half time after being released by Sidwell to run at goal, however the Millwall keeper made the save to keep it 1-0 at the break.

The second half saw Millwall down to ten men and Kitson will be disappointed with his penalty effort that was hit straight at the goalkeeper. Despite the advantage on numbers, Millwall kept battling hard and the second half was entertaining from both sides. Hahnemann made a couple of important saves, while Reading wingers Convey and Little both had efforts just miss the target at the other end. Reading wrapped up the points with over twenty minutes left to play when Shorey, after a long run, played the ball through to Doyle who ran on goal before firing home Reading's second. The Royals had other chances to further the lead, but the final whistle saw Reading move six points clear of second placed Sheffield United and a remarkable twenty points clear of third placed Watford.


Who could possibly wish for a better early Christmas present than our great win today and all the other results that went our way too. Twenty points clear of third, twenty bloody points!! How on earth is it possible to stop thinking about it, dreaming about it, pinching yourself as you stare at the league table in a happy sort of surreal hypnotic trance, expecting the table to change as you blink. No it is true we really are top at Christmas by six points and I'd love to predict we'll stay top the rest of the season but having developed an allergy to humble pie having eaten so much in the past plus a face that's tinted yellow from egg on it countless times as well. I'll keep stum and keep my feet on the ground and not mention the P word but I'll just say if we do blow this they may as well bulldoze the Mad Stad because I for one would never get over it till my dying day nor I think would literally thousands of other oh so patient Reading fans. But that is not going to happen, no way. I really am lost for words where do you start the praise, Steve Coppell of course, carry on being the voice of gloom Stevie, the team, the squad, every one of them, if really pushed I'd say it's Glenda Little and Bobby Convey who have been so instrumental in our success, they produce so many chances. Doyle, Harper, Superman Sonko, Icemen, Hahnemann have been awesome, quite brilliant. Sidwell is back to his best, Murty is an inspirational captain and on it goes. Happy happy days. This time last year I went to Oz for four weeks and while away we all know what happened, we won one out of seven while I was away, and that was that for the season effectively. This year I'm off again and will sadly miss five games while away. I'm totally confident it won't happen again, Wolves will be a massive test, we'd all take a draw but if we do lose, it really is no problem as long as we bounce back at home against Leicester. I hope to see the Derby game in some bar somewhere down under and cheer my beloved Royals on. I'll wear my shirt with pride. Let the party roll on, let's all enjoy the moment and let's keep going just the way we are. A very happy Christmas to loyal Royals where ever you may be and here's to an exciting, lucky, happy and celebratory New Year!
Nick Newbury

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