MATCH REPORT: 2004/2005 Season

Reading: Sidwell (21 mins), Kitson (25 mins), Owusu (45 mins), Ingimarsson (47 mins)
Half Time: 3-0
Attendance: 13,630

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 Wigan 15 33 +21
2 READING 15 30 +11
3 Ipswich 15 27 +8
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Ingimarsson, Sonko, Shorey, Little (Convey 71), Harper, Sidwell, Hughes (Brooker 71), Kitson (Morgan 84), Owusu. Subs Not Used: Newman, Young. Booked: Harper.
Crewe: Williams, Billy Jones (Mark Roberts 68), Foster, Otsemobor, Tonkin, Lunt, Cochrane (White 77), Sorvel, Vaughan (Ashton 68), Steve Jones, Rivers. Subs Not Used: Ince, Walker. Booked: Lunt, Cochrane.
Reading: Harper.
Cochrane, Lunt.
Referee: J P Robinson (E Yorkshire).

Anyone claiming there are no easy games in this division were clearly proved wrong today. Crewe looked as if they were beaten from the start as they left huge gaps in their defence, surrendered in midfield, and looked toothless in attack. Having said that Reading turned in another promotion quality performance, and rattled in four goals. There could have been more, but there was a vast improvement in the quality of the finishing from Tuesday night.

The Royals dominated from the kick-off and with Crewe looking vulnerable, goals seemed inevitable. Sidwell provided the first when he was allowed the time and space outside the box to set himself up for a well placed strike low into the corner of the net. Four minutes later Kitson added a second. We have seen some very skilful play from him this season, but this finish was all about strength and determination. He ran onto a through ball, fought off a persistent challenge, tussled with the 'keeper and eventually, when the ball popped up, he deflected it into the empty net. There was hint of a reaction from Crewe but they could make very little impression on the Reading defence. Owusu had a chance to make it three when Kitson held the ball up superbly and rolled it to him in the area but his effort never looked like hitting the target. He made amends on the stroke of half time.This time the move was started by Hahmnemann's great ball up the left side into the path of Hughes, who took the ball on before curling a ball temptingly into the box. It seemed the entire Reading team were surging forward to get on the end of the cross, but it was Owusu who met it with a powerful and well-directed header which gave the Crewe 'keeper no chance.

Two minutes into the second half Owusu was fouled. Little caught Crewe napping with a carefully flighted free kick which Ingimarsson headed back across goal and into the net. Any feint chance of a Crewe comeback had completely disappeared. From that point on my only real excitement came from the fact that I had a 50-1 bet on a 5-1 victory for Reading!

Although there was no further scoring there was more entertainment to come. Kitson indulged in a bit of showboating on the half way line, dancing through a ruck of Crewe players, he was halted by a crude challenge from Cochrane, who had already been booked. It must have been sympathy (or was it incompetance?) that prevented the referee from sending him off. Dario Gradi sensibly immediately substituted the midfielder. Later Kitson was uncharacteristically let down by a heavy first touch which just gave the 'keeper the edge in a 1 v 1 encounter, Ingimarsson almost got on the scoresheet for Crewe when he deflected a cross onto his own post, and Morgan forced another save out of Williams near the end.

Coppell used the last quarter of the game to give Brooker, Convey and Morgan a run out in place of Little, Hughes and Kitson. They all looked hungry for the ball and eager to stake a claim for place in the side, but it was an easy game to come into because Crewe had already thrown the towel in. Success always generates greater competition for places which in turn keeps players on their toes. Adie Williams is going to find it hard to dislodge Sonko who was superb today, Owusu has now scored two in two games, and Brooker and Convey are going to be pressing for a starting place over the next few games at every opportunity. The team is looking strong and confident throughout at the moment. I am sure Coppell will keep his squad focused on the quality of their play and winning games, and not be talking too much about the league table and the performances of other teams.
Report by John Wells


This is now getting a bit serious! Third of the season gone and a solid second place plus we're averaging two points a game which is championship form. I'm starting to wonder if all the teams we play are actually not that bad but indeed we're actually quite good! That's what watching Reading for as long as I have does for you, deep inbred scepticism and a lack of belief . But you know what, I really am starting to think we may have a team and manager who can actually make a serious challenge for promotion, maybe lambs to the slaughter if we do get up, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. I think most of us realise we need to strengthen the squad to push on but that's out of our hands and down to our chairman .We can only pay our hard earned dosh and support the lads to the hilt. On that note where were the additional 5,000 odd who turned up against Leeds but couldn't be arsed to turn up today? I guess there will always be that sort of fans but if we can't attract them when we are riding high in second place when can we? Reading simply brushed Crewe aside today with a wonderful first half performance capped by a brilliant third goal following a good kick from yankee doodle a great cross from Hughsie and wonderful header from Owusu . It was a really good all round performance and you can see the confidence oozing out of every player including the likes of Andy Hughes who continues to win fans over with his hard graft and honesty and can only be admired . Wonder if the boo boys of just over a month ago giving him stick were on their feet like most of the crowd giving the lad a well earned ovation as he was substituted . Everybody played well and to be fair Crewe kept playing but were never at the races and were completely outclassed. Little has added a bit of class to the team and is not the player we had on loan last season, he's a revelation and the team is better when he's in it . Two away games now , Coventry and Plymouth , I'll be at both and go to both games full of hope and expectation. Have you all noticed how we never get mentioned in the national media or on TV , good I say , we'll let our results do the talking and leave the pressure to the so called big clubs and Wigan . Keep it up lads.......URRZ
Nick Newbury

A wonderful scoreline which owed much to the dominance of our four players in midfield who gave a superb performance. Harper has been getting better and better recently and today he was full of confidence. Little's ability both to keep the ball and to use it constructively were an example to all. Sidwell's showed his usual competitive streak and hit a good shot for his goal and Hughes was full of industry and put in some very telling crosses particularly for Owusu's goal. It must be said though, that Crewe defended poorly and we really should have worked their keeper more than we did. It might seem odd but I thought we were more creative against Leeds when we only scored one. This was probably our easiest victory that we have had since we came into this division and it could have been more. Convey is beginning to look better with each cameo that he plays. He made good runs and needed to be played in and Morgan also took his chance well. There will be much tougher games ahead, so let's enjoy this result while we can and keep this good run going!
Ken C

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