Match Report vs HUDDERSFIELD

28 January 1997 (League)
READING 4 Huddersfield Town 1

Att: 5,710
Team: Bibbo, Booty, Bodin, Macca, Hunter, Bernal (Caskey), Gilkes, Gooding, Lambert (Williams), Archie, Morley.
Subs Used: Williams, Caskey
Sub Not Used: Quinn, Bodin.

This was a game quite unlike any other I've seen so far this season. It was a really convincing win for the Royals, an easy win, but we played so different to normal. I thought the defence still looked a bit dodgy on the rare occasions that Huddersfield came forward but at the same time the defence played brilliantly and won us the game. Excluding the first 10 minutes or so we looked like we *knew* we were going to win it. And up at the front were Bernal, Macca, Hunter, and even Bodin looking for the goals. I still left Elm Park winging, but only how we didn't manage to score a few more (never happy me!). We created an unbelievable number of chances and with a bit of luck would have won by several more. So, why the complete difference? Well, Reading started the game with three changes to the team that crashed out so miserably at Portsmouth on Saturday. Bodin returned, as did Macca to the defence, with Holsgrove and Caskey left out. Up front Archie Lovell made a start. The real difference of these three changes was the inclusion of Archie who seemed to create space, pace, and that lovely on the floor passing stuff to create chances. Wonderful.

But you'd have never guessed it was going to be like that. Half of Reading's usual fans deceided to miss out completely, and I arrived just before kick off in a dash from work to find the terraces empty. The game started and I was convinced it was going to be the usual complete crap. Particually after Huddersfield took an almost expected lead after just 8 minutes. A cross from the left was met in the middle with Bibbo not quite sure where he was supposed to be and a lack of any defence. The ball landed smack in the middle of the net. 0-1. However, I guess the signs were there before when Reading could have taken the lead, following an attempt by Archie which was charged down - the ball came out to Gooding on the right who blasted a long range shot off the top of the Huddersfield crossbar.

Reading pulled the game level five minutes later and from this point there was no turning back it was always going to be our game - it was just a matter of how many we were going to score. On 13 minutes Archie seemed to just fall over in the area over a leg after being tackled. Obviously the referee's view was better as, after slight hesitation he pointed to the spot. Well, I wasn't going to complain. Morley stepped up and fired the ball at the perfect goalkeeping height and position, Francis went to his left and pushed the penalty away - but only into Morley's path. Morley ducked down and headed the ball into the left of the net for his 14th of the season. 1-1.

Then we took the lead! A Gooding corner from the right was met with amazing force by Keith McPherson lurking on the edge of the area and moving into the box. The ball flew into the left of the net. 2-1. Reading's dominance created chance after chance with Gilkseys runs down the left and perfect crosses across the face of goal really scaring poor little Huddersfield. Then from another corner on the right came our third. The entire defence came forward again, with Gilksey hanging back to cover. The ball flew in from, I think, an Archie shot, after a quick bundle the ball came out to Barry Hunter on the 6 yard line on the right who volleyed the ball through the crowd into the back of the Huddersfield Town net. 3-1 to the Royals!

With 15 minutes left of the half Reading didn't sit back and almost put the game beyond doubt before the break. A sexy Skippy cross from the left found Morley in the area - his header went just wide to the left when it looked like it might sneak in. Archie tried his luck with a free kick about 10 yards out just left of centre, which flew over the bar, and Huddersfield picked up another yellow card to complete their collection of six (!) for the first half. Gooding got a caution to give a first half total of seven cards. To complete the first half action a defensive lapse could have let Huddersfield back in the game when a poor Hunter back pass made Bibbo panic. He was lucky to escape after fireing the ball into an oncoming striker. 3-1 at half time, and already a record scoring game for us in the league this season.

The second half couldn't have possibly matched the first - and it didn't. Reading controlled the half and played some brilliant on the floor first touch football, but overall the half was much calmer as we played out our win. Having said that we still managed to create a huge number of chances.

At the start of the half Bodin wanted to join the rest of the defence on the score sheet but lost out in a one-on-one with Steve Francis. Gilkes almost made it four with a low shot/cross from the left which was cleared off the line by a back pedalling defender. Morley could have got his second with a great header from another of those Andy Bernal crosses. Lovell, determined to score, tried a good long range effort needed a Francis save. Gilkes tried his luck again with a goal bound shot that found the head of a Huddersfield defender. Skippy tried another shot which was again charged down, before at last we made it four-one. And it was just reward for Archie when he fired in a great long distance shot as the ball came out with Francis a mile off his line.

Full time and an incredible 4-1 win for the Royals, just when I thought I was never going to see us score more than 2 league goals in a game ever again. And it could have been so many more too. Wonderful. A great all round team performance. Macca was brilliant in defence; winning absolutely everything in the air. Bernal played a midfield role, and did it brilliantly - his distribution was great, he got forward well and could have scored, and put in some great crosses. Gooding was back to his usual self, and had a nice speedy run down the pitch showing he's still got a lot left. Gilkes was really up for it. And Archie really made a difference. Either Skippy, Archie or Macca for my man of the match. A brilliant line up which I hope we keep for Saturday away at Tranmere. Oh, it's away, well we'll lose whatever. Still, a brilliant night tonight. Your Rrrrrr's!


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