MATCH REPORT: 2005/2006 Season

Reading: Convey (7 mins), Doyle (69 mins), Little (70 mins).
Hull City: Barmby (55 mins).
Half Time: 1-0
Attendance: 17,864

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 Sheff Utd 19 45 +23
2 READING 19 44 +22
3 Watford 19 35 +11
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Little (Oster 76), Harper, Sidwell, Convey (Hunt 76), Doyle (Obinna 84), Lita. Subs Not Used: Stack, Makin.
Hull City: Myhill, Lynch, Cort, Collins, Delaney, Fagan, Green, Welsh, Elliott (Fry 73), Barmby (Ellison 77), Burgess (Paynter 77). Subs Not Used: Leite, France.
Reading: -
Hull City: Fagan.
Referee: C Penton (Sussex).

The Royals moved to within a point of Sheffield United at the top of the Championship with an entertaining 3-1 victory over Hull City at the Madejski. Reading's third straight league victory, and 21st game without defeat was another deserved victory, but not without a fighting performance from the visitors. The match started with Reading in excellent form after the international break, as we immediately imposed our authority on the game. Bobby Convey's amazing season was soon to get even better, after an early shot in the opening minutes that needed the first of several excellent saves from the Hull City keeper. Convey didn't have to wait long to put Reading ahead when Doyle fed through an excellent ball on the right with seven minutes on the clock. Convey went clear of the defence with a great run before a cool finish past the advancing keeper. City had appeared prepared to defend, with most players behind the ball, but Reading's goal saw them come forward and they could have pulled level with three chances during the opening forty five minutes. Hahnemann was certainly the quieter of the two keepers but was required to pull off two great saves, and rely on his left post to keep Reading ahead.

Despite chances for Hull, after moving a goal ahead Reading were playing some excellent football across the pitch. Another cross from Convey saw Doyle feed Lita who hit a decent shot from a tight angle that was pushed over the bar. The Hull keeper continued to perform more heroics, saving from Little and Ingimarsson as Reading looked to go further ahead. After failing to convert another of the many chances that came Reading's way, the first half faded out after a frantic first half an hour. The second half saw the game become even with Hull starting to look much more comfortable under Reading's attack. An equaliser was always a possibility and it came with 55 minutes on the clock when the ball was crossed from the right and headed past Hahnemann.

The goal stirred Reading back to life, and the game was wrapped up in the space of a minute with two quick goals with twenty minutes left to play. Little crossed for Doyle to volley home from the centre of the area, making it 2-1, and we'd barely finished celebrating when Convey steamed forward before supplying Little who ran through to finish with a low shot into the bottom of the net. The goals signaled the end of City's challenge and saw Reading clear winners with plenty of time to play out. We should have finished further ahead after Lita somehow managed to put the ball over the crossbar from a few yards out when it looked easier to score. He redeemed himself with a couple of good shots afterwards, but the Hull keeper was there again to save and make it a frustrating afternoon for Lita.

The Royals secured three richly deserved points in a blistering two minute spell mid way through the second half in which Doyle and Little both scored excellent goals. Hull had threatened to steal a point when Barmby nipped in to nod an equaliser after a defensive lapse had allowed City to find space down the right and hit deep cross which Burgess headed back across goal. Reading had threatened to overrun their opponents at times, and once again looked like a team destined for the Premiership. With the midfield firing on all cylinders, Reading were impossible to contain for a twenty minute period in the first half which Hull weathered well, and miraculously only conceded once.

Reading almost took the lead after five minutes when a superb deep cross from Sidwell found Convey. The American's sweetly struck volley was brilliantly tipped over by Myhill. From the corner Sonko had a strong header blocked. Hull pulled everyone back to defend against the onslaught and were pinned back in their own area. Convey provided the inevitable goal when he ran onto a good through ball from Doyle, and with great confidence and skill curled the ball into the net around the outstretched arm of Myhill. It was a goal which illustrated the fluidity of Reading's attack. Convey, Harper, Doyle and Little roamed the field finding space and exploiting it well trough out the game. Little had a good chance to increase the lead when a determined run by Doyle ended with a perfect pass into his path, but the big man hit his shot straight at the 'keeper. Lita had a screamer deflected away by Myhill from a tight angle, Ingamarssson and Murty also had efforts blocked,. It seemed Reading must score again, but somehow City hung on and in fact had good chances themselves. Hahnemann saved well from Burgess from close range. Cort forced the Reading 'keeper into a fine save low to his left, and Barmby hit a post with a header. It could easily have been tree all at half time. The pace of the game slowed towards half time following a long break in play to allow Murty to receive treatment.

The second half sprang to life with Barmby's equaliser. Little volleyed over in spectacular fashion after a one-two with Doyle. Hull, encouraged by their success began to pass the ball with greater confidence and began pressing with more conviction. It didn't last long. A Little cross found Doyle who spun to hook the ball into the net off the underside of the bar to release an ecstatic and relieved roar from the home fans. The crowd had barely settle d back into their seats when they were on their feet acclaiming an even more exhilarating strike from Little. Convey ran at the bemused City back line and slipped the ball to Little charging menacingly through the centre of midfield. Although the ball was slightly behind him he managed to scoop the ball into his path and place it elegantly into the corner of the net. At that point Hull knew the game was up and looked ready for their shower.

Reading could, and should, have added more goals in the closing stages. Lita missed an absolute sitter, Obinna got in the way of a goal bound header from Sidwell, and Myhill denied Lta with an absolutely brilliant save from a perfectly placed header. At that point Lita also knew it was not his day! Convey, Little and Doyle were all substituted near the end clearly to conserve energy for Tuesday night. The trio had given Reading a cutting edge that few teams can match in this division. It was a close thing, but in my opinion Convey just edged Man of the Match. Having said that, there are no weak links and was a good all round performance. Harper deserves a special mention for his phenomenal energy and effort. He covered every inch of the pitch. I can't recall such commitment to the cause since Parky patrolled midfield. What a pity Millwall couldn't hold on to their lead against Sheffield United. Watch out Mr Warnock we're closing in on you!
John Wells


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Hull didn't play too badly - only mistake they made was equalising !! which sprung Reading back to life.
Crowthorne Seb

A strange game in many ways. There was no doubt who were the better side, but we let Hull have the ball for long periods and they did force Marcus to earn his money this week. Reading started off at a terrific pace and pinned the visitors back for long periods. The Hull keeper was in magnificent form otherwise the game would have been sewn up in the first twenty minutes. When the goal came it was from two of the games better performers, Doyle released Convey who finished with a quiet authority - he was outstanding today. The one criticism of today was that we failed to finish them off and they were able to open our defence a bit too easily - not quite supermam today Sonks! Their equaliser was not surprising. What it did do was to stir Reading into action. Doyle with a terrific effort and then another Convey run lead to Little finishing well. The side looks very balanced, and again everyone contributed. It would have been good to have seen Lita scored. In truth he missed a sitter, but he did well with other chances which the goalie dealt with well. His goals will come. Sidwell needs to raise his game a bit and I am sure he is aware of this, but I expect that all the squad really want to play at the moment and that puts pressure on those with the shirts to deliver and that is what they are doing. Long may it continue!
Ken C

Looks like we're now safe from relegation! Onwards we march with another fairly comfortable victory and a precious three points. This is turning into the season of dreams and with a massive 44 points in the bag after 19 games and something around 88 points assuring promotion, this simply means another 44 points or so required from the remaining 27 games. Simple of course it won't be we really are in an unbelievably strong position to gain auto promotion but let's just keep our feet on the ground and carry on quietly getting on with the job and silencing the doubters and doom and gloom merchants. I'm personally more than happy to be tucked in behind Sheff Utd in second place, let them have the headlines and all the baggage that goes with top of the league as we trundle on. I'm sure I'm not alone but I still think we can play better, much better. Hull was typical where the game should have been over at half time and we should of been at least 3-0 up. We need to kill teams off with all the chances we are creating but again that's churlish criticism seeing how well we've done so far. It's great we're getting goals all over the park but think what would be if we had a 30 goal a season striker, let's hope Kitson or Lita get going soon. Poor Lita just needs a goal and was unlucky yesterday by being denied by a couple of world class saves. There was the one chance by my Mum could have scored but he just needs a break. Little, Convey, Harper and Doyle continue to shine and really are the engine room that are creating so many chances , long may it continue. Sidwell still looks rusty and should get better with time but I do feel we're a better balanced side with Iceman Gunnarsson in the side, hope he gets fit soon. Another tricky couple of away games coming up where if offered now I'd take two points but wouldn't it be lovely to stuff those Pasty eating Plymouth carrot crunchers on Saturday to avenge the first day of the season! Keep going lads, keep backing the lads and keep dreaming.... UURRRZZZZ
Nick Newbury

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