Match Report: 2011/2012 Season

23 August 2011: LEAGUE CUP ROUND 1
Reading: Sean Morrison (73 mins).
Charlton: Paul Benson (25 mins), Jason Euell (64 mins).
Half Time: 1-0.

Attendance: 6,668

Pos Team P Pts GD
12 Nottm F 4 5 -1
13 READING 4 4 +0
14 Leicester 4 4 -2
Reading: A McCarthy, I Harte (H Robson-Kanu, 62), S Morrison, S Cummings, B Khumalo, J McAnuff, J Tabb, B Howard, J Obita (J Mills, 62), S Church, M Manset.
Subs not used: N Hunt, A Pearce, B Gunnarsson, M Andersen, J Karacan.
Charlton: B Hamer, S Francis, G Doherty (M Morrison, 72), Y Mambo, C Evina, R Bover Izquierdo (C Solly, 88), A Hughes, D Green, B Pritchard, J Euell, P Benson (S Wagstaff, 50).
Subs not used: J Sullivan, B Davisson, T Popo, F Warren
Reading: Robson-Kanu, McAnuff.
Charlton: -
Ref: D Whitestone.
It was obvious from team selection that Reading were not committed to progressing further in this competition. With Leigertwood and Kebe not even on the bench, two inexperienced strikers, an untried pairing in the centre of defence and a defensively lightweight midfield, a Charlton victory looked very much on the cards.

From the kick-off Reading looked very wobbly at the back and McCarthy was left exposed on several occasions due to poor marking, players being caught out of position and some very sloppy passing. Fortunately for Reading, Charlton’s finishing was poor, and McCarthy, although rusty from lack of recent first team experience, responded well with good saves in one to one situations. Gradually the Royals settled down and began passing the ball around well but were unable to convert possession in to chances. As the half progressed Charlton began to gain control as Reading failed to win the ball in the air and came off second best in most of the tackles. Tabb the exception was overworked trying to compensate for Howard who seemed intent on conceding possession with the most elaborate pass selection. Charlton finally took advantage of Reading’s defensive weaknesses and took the lead through Benson. Reading almost equalised on the stroke of half time but ex–Royal Hamer produced a brilliant save to prevent Howard’s shot from curling into the top corner.

Reading came out determined to make a game of it and had Charlton on the back foot. McAnuff got past the full back in spite of an attempt to take him out with a clumsy lunge and produced an excellent cross which Church headed just over at the near post. Manset won a free kick on the edge of the box in a dangerous central position with a good diagonal run but Harte continued his miserable season floating the kick over the bar. Charlton extended the lead when veteran striker Euell beat Reading’s defence to a low cross and turned the ball past McCarthy.

Reading fought back and Manset and Morrison had headers cleared off the line in quick succession as they tried to restore some dignity. Reading pulled a goal back when Morrison scored after Charlton had failed to deal with a corner but the equaliser did not look on the .cards as Reading struggled to create good openings even with Robson- Kanu on to strengthen the attack. Church forced Hamer into a good save with a well struck free kick. As time ran out Robson-Kanu kept possession well on the edge of the box and was looking for a passing option out wide where he saw a lot of empty space in front of his captain who had given up the cause and was strolling over the half way line. I would expect better from a captain of a side in the dying seconds of a cup tie.

On a more positive note Manset continues to improve and does offer a bit of creativity and imagination to the attack. Church however continues to disappoint with his finishing but what is inexcusable is his apparent unwillingness to compete for the ball in the air or close defenders down. Although this result has nothing to do with the real business of the league it was the third consecutive defeat which is not good for morale.

John Wells

Very poor performance, we lacked hunger, desire and did not want the result as much as them. Cummings cleared off the line twice and they missed at least 2 one on ones. This was a Charlton team who made 11 changes from their League team. Andy Hughes ran the game, Gary Doherty had Church and Manset in his pocket, Benson looked like a world beater (he is their 3rd choice striker at best), think this tells you all you need to know. As for match ratings I can't be bothered to do everyone but our 3 first teamers (Harte, Khumalo and Captain MArvel) were our worst players. Khumalo no control whatsoever (was this one of Redknapp's dodgy buys???), McAnuff lacked any kind of leadership skills and Harte was awful as always.

Church has had far too many chances to prove himself and he failed to deliver anything except heading over from 2 yards. Says it all when our best player is our goalie who kept out a reserve league one team single handedly, with some help from Cummings. Tactically we're playing far too much hoofball which was inevitable with Tabb and Howard's passing being woeful. If Madjeski expects us to sell one player every year then we could at least try playing some attractive football to make up for the mediocrity of finishing mid table.

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League One side Charlton pulled off a Carling Cup upset with a second-round victory over last season's Championship play-off finalists Reading. Goals either side of the break from Paul Benson and Jason Euell put the home side in control at the Valley. It was a nervous last 15 minutes for the home side though after Sean Morrison pulled one back for Reading. Mathieu Manset also saw a shot cleared off the line for the visitors, but Charlton held on to progress. It could have been a different story had Manset converted Jobi McAnuff's cross for the visitors, but Yado Mambo's vital touch prevented this being the case. Not long after, Manset had another great chance to score but had his header scrambled off the line by Cedric Evina.

Reading were left to rue these misses when, in the 25th minute, Euell's flicked header was capitalised on by Benson, who beat Royals goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to the ball before firing home from close range. The home side should have been two up five minutes later after Bradley Pritchard's lob beat Royals goalkeeper Alex McCarthy and looked certain to hit the back of the net until Shaun Cummings somehow got back to clear off the line. However, in the 64th minute it was 2-0 when Euell was on hand to head home Simon Francis' cross. Reading gave themselves a lifeline nine minutes later courtesy of Morrison's low drive that found the net through a crowd of players. And they could have had an equaliser had Scott Wagstaff not been on hand to clear Manset's header off the line. But the home side were able to repel any further Reading attacks and came close to adding a third when Ruben Bover Izquierdo went on a great run before unleashing a shot which beat McCarthy but hit the crossbar.

BBC Sport