Attendance: 9,741
Scorers: - Date: 26 December 1999
Team: Howie, Casper (Evers), Primus, Hunter, Potter, Smith, Parkinson, Caskey, Gurney, Scott, Williams.
Audio: Supplied by Classic Gold radio.
0-1: Cardiff Score...
Match Hero:

Reading could have grabbed a share of the points at Cardiff on Boxing Day, but were beaten after poor shooting let us down in the first half and Cardiff made their second half superiority count. This was a match that Reading may have had to win. Before kick-off Cardiff were just one point and one place above the Royals - in a safe position while Reading sat in the bottom four. Following yet another defeat we're staring relegation in the face. Time to face facts - the rest of the season is going to be spent fighting a relegation battle, and games like this we need to win. If the defeat wasn't bad enough, the first half departure of Casper with a suspected broken leg just made it worse.

The game was held up for almost ten minutes while both physios tried to make Casper comfortable before stretchering him off the pitch with an oxygen mask on, and his left leg all bound up. The Cardiff player got a yellow card for the potentially career threatening challenge - but it was fair enough after both players went in for a 50/50 challenge and Casper came off the worse. Evers came off the bench to replace Casper.

The first half was fairly balanced - but if anything Reading had most of the play - creating lots of chances but doing nothing with them. Wasting so many chances was always going to be fatal - we didn't even manage a shot on target during the whole game which is never going to be good enough. In the first half Gurney and could have put Reading ahead after beating the Cardiff keeper only to shoot well wide of the post. Scott too had a great opportunity after being set up inside the area only to shoot wide. Caskey also had an attempt that could have gone in if on target - but it flew over the bar. As it was, depite the greater chances, it was Cardiff who were most likely to go in ahead at the break as they had the best attempt of the half: Howie was beaten but the ball found the post, not the net, and bounced away to safety.

When Cardiff came out for the second half it was clear they knew they could win in and stepped up their game. Reading had a good opening five minutes of the second half but then faded off in almost expectance of defeat. On about the hour the home side took the lead. Firstly they broke into the box and fired a decent shot goalbound. Howie did well to make a fully outstretched save to push the ball away for a corner. Unfortunately Howie didn't do quite so well from the corner. The ball was played into the box and found the head of the Cardiff player, Howie was no where as it flew into the back of the net. 0-1. And that was it. As Reading failed to do anything to worry Cardiff, the three points were always now going to just one team.

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