Match Report: 2010/2011 Season

25 September 2010: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Kebe (78 mins), Harte (90 mins), Robson-Kanu (90 mins).
Barnsley: -
Half Time: 0-0.

Attendance: 14,830

Pos Team P Pts GD
6 Norwich 8 13 0
7 READING 8 12 +4
8 Burnley 8 12 +3
Reading: Federici, Mills, Harte, Cummings, Armstrong (Pearce, 68), Khizanishvili (sent off 61), McAnuff, Kebe, Karacan, Long (Hunt, 85), Church (Robson-Kanu, 73). Subs not used: Williams, Antonio, McCarthy, Taylor.
Barnsley: Steele, Foster, McEveley (Potter, 23), Shackell, Hassell, O'Brien, Hammill, Colace (Lovre, 73), Arismendi, Wood, O'Connor (Doyle, 46). Subs not used: Preece, Gray, Butterfield, Morales.
Reading: Armstrong, Karacan, Khizanishvili (2 bookings), McAnuff.
Barnsley: Arismendi, Foster, Hammill.
Ref: P Miller (Bedfordshire)
There may be doubts about the strength of the current squad but there can be no doubt that Brian McDermott is a very capable manager. Forced to make changes the Royals played with a passion and determination which ultimately was rewarded with a deserved three points. It took a really poor decision by referee Miller, aided by his incompetent assistant, to change a game which Reading had dominated from the kick off. Khizanishvilli was dismissed for a questionable second yellow card offence with just under half an hour left on the clock. For the first time in the match Barnsley looked interested in making an attempt to win the game, but in coming out of their defensive shell simply allowed ten man Reading to destroy them with their superior pace. In the final twelve minutes Reading rattled in three very good goals in a memorable climax to a highly entertaining game.

Chris Armstrong, returning after an absence of nearly two years, was given a warm welcome by the home fans. Harte retained his place at left back leaving Armstrong to play alongside Karacan in the centre of a very competitive midfield that is probably a little short on creativity. Khizanishvilli came in at centre back giving the team greater stability, not only for his authority in defence, but also with his composure in possession. McDermott indicated his attacking intent pairing Long and Church in a 4-4-2 formation. Barnsley, sitting just above Reading in the table before the game, and with some good results behind them so far, were expected to provide a tough test for the home side but were compressed in their own half by a buoyant Royals side looking to make amends for a recent poor away performance. In the opening twenty minutes Mills headed over, McAnuff had a shot blocked, Long headed over after combining well with Church, and Church had a glancing header saved as Reading forced a stream of corners. Kebe and Cummings were tormenting Barnsley down the right and McAnuff was causing problems down the left but Barnsley's central defenders were pulling out all the stops out to keep Reading out. There was an optimistic appeal for hand ball from Reading as half time approached and then right on half time Church beat Steele to the ball and tried to find Long in front of goal but he was outnumbered by determined Barnsley defenders and was unable to force the ball over the line for the goal Reading deserved. Barnsley's best chance of the half came on the half hour when Reading were exposed on the break. Fortunately for the Royals the visitors squandered a three on one situation with a poor pass.

It seemed only a matter of time before Reading took the lead as they carried on where they left off in the second half. Khizanishvilli and Cummings had to defend well but Federici was mainly untroubled. Church was provided with a good chance by a lovely pass from MaAnuff but opted to take it on with his right foot when an early left foot strike might have been a better decision. On sixty-two minutes Khizanishvilli was sent off and the game really opened up. Armstrong went off after a brief spell in his old spot at left back and Pearce came on to fill the gap in central defence. Either a full game was going to be too much for his come back or McDermott preferred Pearce to Harte at the centre of defence when down to ten men. Robson-Kanu came on for Church for the last eighteen minutes, which proved to be a crucial change. At first he seemed slow to adjust to the pace of the game but then on seventy-eight minutes produced a blistering cross which Kebe met running in at full speed to bury emphatically in the net. Still seething from the injustice of the sending off, the crowd went understandably wild. There was more to come. Federici made a good save from Hammill in the last minute of normal time and then the referee made himself even more unpopular by finding an additional five minutes (I'm sure they do it wind everyone up!). The home fans were now on the edge of their seats. They need not have worried. Not only were Reading defending well but were still prepared to ease the pressure by looking to score on the break. Kebe was outstanding and he was halted by a foul on the edge of the box. Harte stepped up and curled the ball in off the far post. It was a superb strike. By now the home fans were deliriously celebrating victory. Readiing however were rampant and Robson-Kanu outpaced the Barnsley defence with brilliant run and slid the ball past Steele for the third.

There are injuries and suspensions to cope with, but today's starting line-up could well be our best eleven at present. The emergence of Cummings has been particularly pleasing. He has always has good touch but he is now looking stronger defensively and good going forward. On current form he deserves his place in the team. Karacan again worked phenomenally in midfield and was also able to show how disciplined he can be in the way he conducted himself after a rash challenge which resulted in a yellow card. McAnuff looked sharper today and he revelled in the freer role required when Reading were reduced to ten men. To succeed in the Championship it is crucial to work hard and this team certainly did that today. The afternoon was rounded off perfectly with a 'Coppell-like' understated post-match interview response from Brian McDermott. When asked at what point in the season does the table have relevance for him he replied 'May'.
John Wells

Well what a cracking finish to a game we totally dominated but really failed to get any clear chances until the last 10 minutes. First half we were totally in control and Barnsley were pretty dire, however despite a series of half chances we never really had a clear cut chance. Second half Barnsley changed shape to 4-5-1 and they were better but we still looked comfortable. The sending off was a joke, but the ref had no choice as the poxy lino was flagging and called him over. I though it was a pathetic dive Woods after losing control with little or no contact from Kish. Anyway that spurred us on a bit and even with 10 men we were still on top. We seemed incapable of getting anything from set pieces, I lost count of the number of corners and free kicks we had and they all never resulted in a clear chance that troubled the keeper. HRK came on and did make a difference, it was his delivery to Kebe and what a cracking header that was. From then on Barnsley were keeping 3 up front from our corners and throwing men forward for an equaliser, so it was no surprise when we caught them on the break and Jimmy won another free kick. Harte for once delivered (he'd had a LOT of practice) and game over. The third was a cracking run from HRK from their free kick and he kept ahead of the defenders and slotted it under the keeper. Overall it was no more than we deserved, we were totally dominant and only the joke of a red card gave Barnsley any hope of getting something from the game. MOTM match was Kebe, he had 3 defenders marking him and he just made them look stupid. Awesome stuff.

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