MATCH REPORT: 2004/2005 Season

Reading: Owusu (45 mins)
Leeds United:
Walton (1 mins)
Half Time: 1-1
Attendance: 22,230

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 Wigan 14 30 +18
2 READING 14 27 +7
3 Ipswich 14 26 +8
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Hughes, Harper, Sidwell, Little, Kitson, Goater. Subs: Young, Owusu, Convey, Morgan, Newman.
Leeds United: Sullivan, Kelly, Carlisle, Butler, Kilgallon, Richardson, Gregan, Walton, Pugh, Ormerod, Ricketts. Subs: Carson, Joachim, Spring, Lennon, Deane.
Reading: -.
Leeds United:
Referee: R Olivier (W Midlands).

Reading were unlucky not to take the full three points at home against Leeds United tonight - but might also be grateful to pick up the draw after the visitors nearly grabbed a late winner. The Royals made it seven home league games without defeat and clung on to second place in the table but were much the better side throughout tonight's fixture. A sell out Madejski Stadium, excluding the away end, saw Leeds United take the lead within the opening two minutes. Sonko, who had a good game otherwise, allowed Leeds to cross from the right and Hahnemann failed to come for the ball allowing a simple headed goal on the edge of the six yard box to put Leeds a goal up. After another brief Leeds attack the game switched round and Reading took firm control with an excellent display of attacking passing football for the rest of the first half. Shaun Goater looked set to put Reading ahead but shot at the keeper after finding himself clean through, and he had a second chance after a Kitson cross saw him narrowly miss a header. Reading's pressure and dominance off the game paid off just before the break when Little was taken down outside the area. Shorey swung in a free kick from the right, Kitson got in a header that appeared to come off the post, before substitute Owusu stuck it home to make it 1-1. The second half saw Reading continue to have the better of the game until we eventually ran out of steam after a frantic hour of football. Little nearly put Reading ahead when his low shot was pushed past the post by the keeper - and the linesman bizzarely awarded a goal kick. Kitson might have done better with another effort after Reading worked another good opportunity. With time running out Leeds made a late claim for the win forcing their first corner of the game and their first real save from Hahnemann in the dying minutes. However, it was Reading that had been much the better side and deserved probably more than just a point.

Following report from John Wells
What impressed me most about this Reading performance is the way they took the game by the scruff of the neck after going a goal down and dominated the play throughout the first half. The richly deserved equaliser came right at the end of the half. Kitson headed against the post and Owusu pounced to force the ball over the line. With some sharper finishing Leeds would have been dead and buried long before the end. The failure to kill the game off nearly allowed Leeds to steal all three points, but Hahnemann pulled off a good save from Deane's last minute header. Had he scored it would have been grossly unfair to Reading who, in my opinion, looked like a side with the ability and self belief to achieve promotion.

Leeds were given the lift of a goal in the first minute when a deflected cross looped into the six yard area where Walton rose unchallenged to nod the ball past Hahnemnann. I think everyone switched off momentarily, but I would expect a 'keeper to come and claim a ball that was that close to goal, given that it was in the air for some time. Apart from a fairly tame strike from Ormerod, and a shot from Ricketts which flashed wide of the post, Leeds created nothing of note in a first half which saw Reading constantly open up the Leeds defence with some excellent passing and movement throughout the team. The long ball was used sparingly as Reading controlled the play by remaining calm in possession and confident with their distribution.

Reading's best chance of the first half fell to Goater who tried to place the ball into the corner leaving Sullivan to make a comfortable save. Little, who posed problems throughout the game with his direct running with the ball, also had a chance. His left foot volley was sweetly struck but virtually straight at Sullivan. He did well to hook the volley on target from a cross which was slightly behind him. Reading also had efforts from Goater, Sidwell and Owusu blocked. Goater limped off seven minutes before half time to be replaced by a very lively and aggressive Owusu who contributed a great deal more than the very sharp finish for the equaliser.

Shortly after half time the Royals spurned two golden opportunities to take the lead. First Kitson, of all people, side-footed tamely at Sullivan when a powerful blast would probably produced a goal. Little was also guilty of wastage when he kept his head to manoeuvre into a scoring position ten yards from goal and scuffed his shot wide when he seemed certain to score. Understandably, given the effort they had put into their game, Reading's challenge began to flag, and when Little was replaced by Convey, I felt the attack looked less potent. Kitson looked a bit weary at times tonight although he has clearly been singled out for a battering in recent games following his good run of form.

I heard a Leeds fan say that he was happy with the point, which a fair indication of the level of respect our club commands at the moment. The current team have earned that respect and their high position in the league.
When we take on Crewe at the weekend we should be thinking more about catching Wigan than worrying about the teams below us. The team are clearly thinking positively so should the fans!


Who thought the day would come when Reading would batter Leeds in a league game and start strong favourites to win the game. Great start with Leeds going in front after one minute with Saturdays hero Hahnemann rooted to his line like a statue as Leeds scored the softest of goals . Marcus was to make amends in the dying seconds when he pulled off a wonder save to deny Deane and Leeds a smash and grab winner. Yet again we saw a poor side visit the Madstad in Leeds, how they have fallen from recent highs and were truly a poor side. We tried hard but it looked like one of those nights when we weren't going to score and the goal we got just before half time was a right bonus . We pushed on in the second half but with Little taking a knock and Harper and Sidwell looking knackered in midfield we simply run out of ideas and never really looked like getting the winner. It shows how far we've come that most of us were disappointed with a draw against Leeds but we're still in second place and in a great position to kick on . However , I feel this team has given it's best and has gone as far as it can, don't get me wrong this set of players have achieved wonders to be where we are in the league . I do feel though if we are serious and the club wants to achieve the dream of the Premiership then now is the time for JM to dig deep and invest in new players. We clearly need another striker with Forster sadly injury prone. Could do no worse than David Healy at Preston who's up for grabs. Alternatively there must be loads of premiership players at the London clubs who we could get on loan to add that quality we need . Somehow we never seem to be linked with new players, if not now then when? I bet Crewe on Saturday give us a much harder game than poor Leeds tonight , after two home draws , nothing less than three points will do.
Nick Newbury

To play against Leeds and to come off the pitch easily the better team shows the progress made by this club. Listening to some of the moaners on the local radio last night you wonder just where they have come from! This was a terrific game and arguably our best home performance of the season. We looked good at the back, full of running in midfield, it was just in front of goal that we let ourselves down. The game statred badly when a deflection meant that Marcus stayed on his line, Sidwell lost his man and the result was an easy header. The response was terrific, but the chances were just not taken and it took a scramble from Owusu to take the point. In truth Goater, Little (one very good effort) and Kitson could and should have put the game beyond Leeds. The opposition were spurred on by the early goal but relied on the long ball as their main attacking ploy. Up fron their front two may be big names but they offered little and if Sonko keeps on improving the way that he is, then he is going to be a very good player. Two points dropped but a good performance, can we repeat it on Saturday?
Ken C

Disappointing really as we had enough chances to win this one, with Goater, Kitson and Little being guilty of wasting the best of them. Ironic though that Goater was doing much better than vs. Stoke only to get injured! But Owusu did very well in his place. Leeds looked a very capable side, but the manner we conceded was pretty poor to say the least and then for an encore the defence nearly did exactly the same thing again at the death, only a blinding save by Hahneman kept Leeds from snatching it. The team still need to be more clinical in front of goal so they can kill the opposition off when they have the chance and we do need someone else capable of scoring regularly when Kitson has an off game (as he seemed to last night). Perhaps a run in the side might be just what Owusu needs to prove he can offer that. If not maybe the club need to look at getting somone in on loan at least. We shall see.
Caversham Royal

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