Match Report: 2010/2011 Season

22 April 2011: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: -
Leeds: -
Half Time: 0-0.

Attendance: 24,564

Pos Team P Pts GD
3 Cardiff 43 75 +24
4 READING 43 73 +26
5 Swansea 42 70 +18
Reading: A. McCarthy, M. Mills, I. Harte, A. Griffin, Z. Khizanishvili, J. McAnuff, M. Leigertwood, J. Karacan, H. Robson-Kanu (M. Manset, 81), N. Hunt (S. Church, 70), S. Long. Subs not used: A. Federici, J. Tabb, B. Howard, M. Antonio, A. Pearce.
Leeds: K. Schmeichel, P. Connolly, R. Naylor, A. O'Brien, E. Lichaj, B. Johnson, J. Howson (D. Somma, 81), J. Livermore (N. Kilkenny, 46), M. Gradel, B. Paynter (S. Watt, 81), R. Snodgrass. Subs not used: L. Bromby, B. Bannan, R. McCormack, S. Higgs.
Reading: -.
Leeds: Naylor, Livermore.
Ref: Eddie Ilderton.

Haven't got to many games this season due to university 'commitments' but have followed at a distance and decided to make the trip, unsurprisingly this coincided with the end of the amazing winning run. Leeds obviously played a fairly effective pressing game which drove us in the direction of hoofball, which was a little frustrating as we were clearly capable of much more composed passing even in a game when we were seemingly far from our best; maybe someone like Howard who has the ability to keep the ball well could've played in place of Hunt who was peripheral. That said, we weren't exactly battered by Leeds. Thought the first half was fairly even although they had the better chances, the second half was more one-sided but it didn't need a string of wonder saves by McCarthy to keep Leeds at bay (though it was of course a very good performance by him). It was obviously a difficult game for some players to get into and Karacan in particular seemed a bit disappointing, especially compared with a solid performance by Leigertwood, but overall it was far from a disgraceful away performance against a good and physical team in a potentially intimidating atmosphere. Some of the criticism on here (and some of the frustration in the stands after misplaced passes etc) seems a bit extreme. Excellent atmosphere in the stands although I doubt it filtered through on Sky.
I guess the only worry from today is that a strong reliance on Kebe and Long seemed pretty obvious - Long was a constant threat up front and we looked for him all the time, and we lacked dangerous wide play in a game where Kebe's ability to beat his man could've made a huge difference. I imagine that losing those two in the summer might expose an over-reliance on them, but those of you who have seen more games would be better placed to judge. Hopefully we will smash Cardiff to pieces in the semis and then beat anyone else in the final, and not have to worry about that.

A draw at Leeds is a decent result but for our dreams of automatic promotion we probably needed a win. Although I would pay due credit to Leeds for their pressing game I thought for the first time for a while we played with a little bit of caution or, perhaps more accurately, a lot of respect to our opponents. Goalkeeper and defence were pretty sound apart from a few scares but going forward we couldn't get anything going or keep the ball and this created more pressure than we should have needed to withstand. Midfield were off colour and Ledge was uncharacteristically poor. Out wide I thought Jobi was disappointing as we rely on him in the absence of Kebe and HRK seemed to see little of the ball and was fairly anonymous. Up front Hunt looked off the pace for some reason and we couldn't get Long in the game. McCarthy deserved his MoM Award although he got lucky a couple of times too but also though Zurab had a good game and as you would expect the whole team worked their socks off.
Elmer Park

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Leeds just about edged the first half, having the two best chances, both of which were kept out by Reading's impressive keeper McCarthy. The first was a close-range header by Snodgrass, which McCarthy pushed wide, and the second was a swirling long-range shot by Gradel. The England Under-21 keeper got enough of his body behind the ball to block the goalbound effort but will have been relieved to see it spin wide of the far post. Neil Kilkenny came on for Jake Livermore at the break and his introduction seemed to lift the whole Leeds team. They took the game to their visitors, forcing them onto the back foot whenever possible, harassing them and denying them time to think when they tried to go forward.

Reading's Andy Griffin wasted a great chance when he cut in from the right and dummied Gradel, opening up space in the box, only to fire into the side netting when he would have been better off crossing. Johnson then came closer than anyone else to finding the target when he ran from the half-way line and saw his shot off the outside of his boot rebound off the bar with McCarthy well beaten. The longer the game wore on, the greater the tension emanating from the Leeds team became, and Reading responded by going on the attack with more confidence. Leigertwood should have done better when he was allowed to bear down on goal unchallenged, but his shot was off target and could only rattle the back stanchion. Reading have become known as the Championship's late goal specialists, but it was the home side who came closer to scoring. As in the first half, it was Gradel and Snodgrass who tried their luck, but again the impressive McCarthy was equal to the task. In stoppage time a rare McCarthy misjudgement allowed substitute Watt a great chance to snatch a winner, but the on-loan Arsenal player lost his footing and skewed the ball wide of the target.

BBC Sport