Match Report: 2009/2010 Season

Reading: Sigurdsson (52 mins), Rasiak (82 mins).
Blackpool: Ormerod (58 mins).
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 15,945

Pos Team P Pts GD
19 Derby 17 17 -9
20 READING 17 17 -9
21 Scunthorpe 17 17 -15
Reading: Federici, Ingimarsson, Bertrand, Pearce, McAnuff, Tabb, Howard, Kebe (Robson-Kanu 45), Matejovsky, Sigurdsson (Karacan 71), Church (Rasiak 68) Subs not used: Mills, Hamer, Cisse, Gunnarsson.
Blackpool: Gilks, Seip, Baptiste, Crainey (Martin 46), Evatt, Southern (Clarke 66), Adam, Vaughan, Euell, Ormerod (Taylor-Fletcher 84), Burgess Subs not used: Edwards, Bangura, Eardley, Rachubka.
Reading: Matejovsky.
Blackpool: Adam, Crainey, Seip.
Ref: G D Scott (England)
Reading's recent improved form was finally rewarded with a long awaited home victory against a Blackpool side also showing recent good form and occupying a play-off spot. For the long suffering home fans the climax was almost unbearable as Reading clung on to a slender lead and the fourth official decided on five minutes of additional time. The rain lashed down as Blackpool bombarded the Reading defence with a succession of long balls, the majority of which were won by their physically superior opponents. Panic in defence and over anxious finishing kept everyone on the edge of their seats until the final whistle brought relief and jubilation to Royals fans. It was far from a comfortable win as Blackpool put Reading under considerable pressure in the second half, but it was thoroughly deserved on the balance of play over the ninety minutes.

Brendan Rodgers confounded everyone yet again with his team selection by playing with only Simon Church up front. Kebe's return and McAnuff switching to the left gave Reading the width lacking at times recently, and the tactical change clearly paid off. Reading open brightly yet a again with McAnuff beating his man and drawing a good save from Gilks in the first minute. Blackpool initially looked understandably confident but Reading dominated the first half with the quality of their passing and movement. Matejovsky, Howard and Sigurdsson linked up well creating opportunities for McAnuff and Kebe to get behind the defence. Church came close as he met Sigurdsson's corner. I'm not sure whether it hit the post or Gilks, either way it was a good effort which the 'keeper knew very little about. A couple of minutes later Kebe struck a volley cleanly at the far post and again Gilks blocked with little knowledge of where the ball was going. Howard slipped a superb pass inside the full back which Kebe read equally well and his ball into the box was driven narrowly wide by Sigurdsson. Reading had Blackpool rattled and we were only fifteen minutes into the game. Inevitably the pace slackened as Blackpool came to terms with the onslaught. Some momentum was lost due to Church getting caught offside on several occasions and Reading were nearly caught by a rare Blackpool attack. Fortunately Burgess's strike came back off the inside of the post but it was deserved slice of luck for the Royals. Just before the interval Church, who is looking better with every game flicked a long ball into the path of Sigurdsson who forced yet another save from Gilks. Reading were applauded off at half time by an appreciative crowd. Blackpool had created little and seemed too dependent on longs balls to get at Reading's defence. Euell left the field pestering the referee as he had almost throughout the half. I saw no grounds for complaint over the bookings received by Adam for a series of clumsy challenges and Crainey for a cynical body check on Kebe as he was about to race past him.

The weather deteriorated Blackpool had a much better second half and picked their way through midfield with some neat passing. Reading took full advantage of their enterprise by scoring on the break when McAnuff found Sigurdsson steaming through midfield to finish with typically good technique with a perfect first touch before finding the corner of the net to beat Gilks. The home fans, now in good voice and humour, sang of the joys winning at home. It didn't last long as a slick move ended with Blackpool equalising through Ormerod five minutes later. Both teams were now looking for a win and the Royals seemed to lack bite in midfield and neede someone to win the ball. Karacan was correctly identified for the job by I was mystified to see Sigurdsson taken off having looked throughout the most likely midfielder to get into the box and score. Howard, apart from the early part of the game had contributed little defensively and given the ball away far too often. I think Rodgers favours him and is blind to his shortcomings. Kebe having had one of this better games had been replaced by Kanu-Robson at half time, and Rasiak had to replace the injured Church for the last twenty minutes. Reading battled on and scored the crucial second goal with only seven minutes of normal time left. Matejovsky curled in a cross and Rasiak met it with a diving header. Blackpool's reply was predictably desperate with so little time remaining. The intensity of their onslaught was matched by the torrential rain and the tension in the crowd. Blackpool had a couple of clear chances which were wasted and the final whistle was greeted by relieved applause and celebration. Brendan Rodgers clearly did not mind the rain as he walked out to applaud the fans and enjoy his first taste of victory at home in the league.

John Wells


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Reading boss Brendan Rodgers: "That was thoroughly deserved. We had a terrific start and hopefully people can see the growth and development in the squad. That's seven points from the last nine. "I am a slow starter, but the last three games have shown that the performance and results are improving. "It's a big credit to the players who have been carrying the burden of the home run but still kept playing with confidence. "I got drenched going in to the middle of the pitch to applaud the supporters at the end but I would have slid there on my knees if I could have done."
BBC Sport