MATCH REPORT: 2003/2004 Season

20 December 2003: LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
Reading: -
Crystal Palace:
Johnson (40 mins, 90 mins), Routledge (43 mins).
Half Time: 0-2
Attendance: 12,743

DIVISION ONE 20 Dec 2003
Pos Team P Pts GD
8 Sunderland 24 38 +7
9 READING 24 37 0
10 Cardiff 24 35 +9
Reading: Hahnemann, Shorey, Brown, Mackie (Murray 63), Ingimarsson, Salako (Morgan 75), Sidwell, Hughes, Watson, Savage, Forster. Subs not used: Harper, Newman, Young.
Crystal Palace:
Myhre, Butterfield, Popovic, Edwards, Borrowdale, Hughes (Derry 88), Riihilahti, Gray, Routledge, Shipperley, Johnson. Subs not used: Fleming, Freedman, Berthelin, Black.
Reading: -
Crystal Palace:
Referee: B Curson (Leicester)

Reading were on the wrong end of another 0-3 score-line this afternoon - this time being well beaten at home by a side near the foot of the table. Crystal Palace were, on this afternoon's performance, a much better side than the Royals. Palace created by far the better chances throughout the whole game and always looked more likely to find the net. The 0-3 defeat fairly reflected Reading's contribution to the game. Reading never looked likely to score and had just one shot in the entire second half when Salako put in a tame effort straight at the keeper. The Royals looked static, slow and predictable with the visitors working the ball around far better to get into dangerous positions. Palace should have gone ahead earlier after putting a shot against the foot of the post but went ahead five minutes before the break when a good move saw the impressive Johnson do well in the area to control the ball and put it under Hahnemann. Shortly afterwards it was 0-2 when Savage lost the ball in the Palace half and a quick break saw the ball crossed behind the Reading defence and stuck home from close range. The same pattern continued after the break with the visitors always looking more likely to extend their lead - Hahnemann made a couple of saves and they put a few wide of the target. Dean Morgan made his Reading debut coming off the bench and looked lively getting in a rare Reading shot. It was the slightest glimmer of hope though and Palace sealed an impressive win in the dying seconds - making it 0-3 after the ball was played forward on another quick attack. Reading were very much second best.


What a great day it promised, last game before Christmas, lads piss up all day, live on Sky, sort of local derby, chance to get over last weeks blip at Stoke and what happens! That game and performance was surely right up there with the biggest load of crap ever to grace the Madejski. What an embarrassment. How many who were there freezing their wotsits off, thought what the bloody hell am I doing here watching this load bollocks when I could be somewhere nice and warm with a beverage in my hand watching it on telly. Highlight of the game was Vinny our mate managing to eat three pies in the first half! They even shut the supporters bar at half time so we couldn't warm up and had the pleasure of inhaling a thick fog of disgusting smoke under the east stand concourse.
Anyhow, back to the performance, this was truly woeful, where have all the strikers gone? One up front at home is pathetic, I do feel sorry for Forster toiling away on his own. The midfield was a joke, poor Bas Savage took most of the home fans wrath and I thought that was unfair.True he may look like a Giraffe on roller skates but it wasn't his fault we were thrashed, it was the whole team. The defence was shambolic, the passing non existent , and the running off the ball pathetic. No doubt the players we out on the town pissing it up last night after the game (like we saw them last year) if I'd have been Coppell I'd have them in training this morning at 9am. They were a joke and should all watch the game back on video and see what we have to suffer. Having promised so much at the start of the season, we are aimlessly falling into mid table mediocrity.The games are soulless, the noise at home is absent, the mood one of sad resignation. Last night there was an atmosphere like a morgue, quite depressing. I think Coppell is taking stock and will make changes, he has to, and will use the rest of the season to try things.
We just have to be patient like we have for the last 125 years or so and hope that next season brings better things. The fact we are still in top ten in the league is testament to what a shite league this is. The thought of our team or many others teams we play each week performing in the Premiership is truly frightening and laughable. Happy Christmas everybody , roll on Boxing day! URZ.
Nick Newbury

I question Coppell's passion for the Reading job. Before the game he spend more time talking about his love for Palace than about how he was approaching the game from a Reading point of view. I have supported Reading for over 25 years and although have lived in Brighton since the early 80's, l have a season ticket and hardly miss a game at home. I know lots of Brighton season ticket supporters and heard from a numbers of sources that Coppell was not interested in Reading and wanted to stay at Brighton. The only reason he left was that Brighton's Chairman Dick Night was desperate for the compensation money to ease their financial crisis. We often talk about football players getting huge sums of money and not putting the effort in. Well why do we think it should be any different for managers? We had a fantastic start to the season, we have some great players (they were working for Pardew), and there is no reason why we should not at least get to the pay-offs. We the fans and our fantastic Chairman care deeply for our club, but what about our Manager - is he a Reading man?

Dear God, what has happened to the encouraging form of the Wigan & Chelsea games?? Two matches in a row Reading have been outplayed by teams struggling near the foot of the table. This was extremely poor stuff indeed & I can't be bothered to say much else because I'd only be banging on about the same things that are concerns. I just hope the management will actually do a bit more than tinker with personnel & make some major changes to formation, system & the attitude of some of the so-called-professionals who ponsed around out there today to no avail before we slide too far.
Caversham Royal

Bas Savage was Reading's man of the match - not that that means he had a good game - he just had less of a nightmare than everyone else. It's games like this that underline my reasoning for thinking Kevin Watson should be on the transfer list - he had a truly awful game. He is slow and predictable. Bring in someone like Ricardo Fuller up front, Marc Bircham from QPR and a fast capable centre back. What was Brown doing at right back?! We must be able to play two up front at home (I know injuries aren't helping us) because the 4-5-1 has been sussed by visiting managers - we don't have good enough defenders at the moment to cope with visiting sides putting pressure on us - last year the 4-5-1 was most effective at home when Upson was in the side. Coppell WILL get it right, let's just hope it's soon.
David, Ascot Royal

I'm sure yesterday was sunday. At least I assume it was going by the fact that there was a pub side playing at the Mad Stad against Palace. Most pubs would probably have been embarassed to be represented by that lot though. For once I wouldn't have got annoyed if someone leaving early had blocked my view, I only wish someone had stood in front of me for the 90 mins. I don't understand why we are sticking to the same predictable 4-5-1 punt it up to Forster tactics when it is clearly not working. Playing that style we won a lot last year but we also lost a lot and now teams know what to expect we are just getting more of the losses. If we are going to play Savage then he must start up front not on the wing in a 4-4-2 with Forster so that oppositions actually have to think about what's going on for a change. Wingers should have pace and be able to cross and Savage has neither of those. When he's in the middle though he does cause problems. With a midfield like the one yesterday we create so few chances and if Forster has an off day like he did against Palace we are as likely to score as the US are to find WMD in Iraq. We need to Mr Mad to dig deep again to add some real quality to the squad cos we won't go up with this lot.

I wasn't at the Mad Stad on Saturday but watched the whole horror show on TV. One thing struck me, how immature some of the players appear. For those of us who went to Crewe a while back we were entertained at half time by some youngsters playing a match in which there was no real passing, each of them seemed to want to beat everybody and score and they all followed the ball round the pitch like iron filings follow a magnet. It seemed to me that some of our players were doing the same, in the build-up to the second goal how many defenders formed up to oppose the player with the ball instead of marking the eventual scorer? Is it that they don't trust each other to do a good job or do they just not know who's supposed to do what? Surely the game does not just revolve around getting the ball but also ivolves marking the opposition (they are trying to score as well!) and, when we do have the ball it's moving to give the man in posession more options. These fundamentals seemed to be sadly lacking on Saturday together with an obvious lack of passion and agression when compared to the opposition players. Just like at Stoke we cannot handle a team that harrasses us. Come on SC shake 'em up let's have some commitment and passion and make this team one we can be proud of again!
Eddie, Salop Royal

Got an opinion? E-Mail us at
Appropriate submissions will appear on match report pages

Quick Links:
  [Match Reports Index]   [Match Previews Index]   [Current League Table]

Link to Hob Nob Anyone? Home Page
Copyright Hob Nob Anyone? © 1994-2003

The Original Reading Football Club Internet Site