MATCH REPORT: 2005/2006 Season

Reading: Lita (7 mins), Doyle (70 mins).
Burnley: Akinbiyi (42 mins).
Half Time: 1-1
Attendance: 14,027

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 Sheff Utd 6 15 +7
2 READING 6 13 +10
3 Luton 6 13 +4
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey (Makin 45), Little, Sidwell, Harper, Convey, Lita, Kitson (Doyle 39). Subs Not Used: Hunt, Oster, Stack.
Burnley: Coyne, Thomas (Lowe 86), McGreal, Duff, Harley, James O'Connor, Hyde (Spicer 73), Branch, Garreth O'Connor, Akinbiyi, Noel-Williams. Subs Not Used: Jensen, McCann, Bermingham.
Reading: Sidwell
Burnley: Harley, O'Connor. Sent Off: O'Connor (90 mins).
Referee: R Oliver (W Midlands).

Reading rounded off the bank holiday weekend with a comfortable win over Burnley at the Madejski Stadium, to make it four points from six games and maintain second place in the table. Despite the close scoreline, and a Burnley fight back before half time, Reading were much the better side throughout the fixture.

Reading took the lead with the first real chance of the game after seven minutes, when Kitson played the ball through to Lita in the area. Lita somehow managed to twist his body to get his foot to the ball and flick it into the back of the net to put Reading a goal up. Convey forced a save from the Burnley keeper with a free-kick but there were few chances for either side. Kitson was forced to limp off with six minutes of the first period remaining to be replaced by the lively Doyle. Burnley were resorting mostly to hoof ball and it was from a long ball that their goal came as they made it 1-1 finished the stronger side in the first half.

The second half saw Reading much improved as Burnley attempted to hold on for a point. Doyle came close with a header from a cross from the left, which he probably should have scored. Burnley nearly scored from a free-kick that was tipped over by Hahnemann but Reading were enjoying most of the game. The breakthrough came with twenty minutes left to play when a short corner saw the impressive Bobby Convey cross from the right for Doyle to rise to head home. It was a deserved goal for Doyle and the Royals who were certain to pick up the three points well before the visitors were reduced to ten men late on.

Following report by John Wells:
Reading continued their recent good run of results with a hard fought victory over Burnley. League positions mean little at this stage of the season, but performances are significant. In the past nine days the Royals have chalked up three wins and a draw. Today's win was significant for lots of reasons. Burnley are a tough side to break down at the best of times, but when you lose two key players through injury by half time, as well as losing the lead to an equaliser, and then go to win, you have every right to get excited about your prospects this season.

The opening minutes of the game were littered with misplaced passes in midfield, and awful distribution from Hahnemann. After eight minutes Kitson clipped the ball into the area for Lita to flick over Coyne into the net. It was a fine piece of finishing. A few goals like that last season would have seen Reading into the play-offs.

From that point the game gradually drifted into a fairly quiet affair as both sides battled it out in midfield in sweltering conditions. Midway through the half Shorey and Sidwell picked up injuries which were treated simultaneously by virtue of the Burnley physio sportingly treating Shorey, for which he received generous applause from both sets of fans. Apparently both injuries are quite serious and Shorey had to be replaced by Makin at half time, although thankfully Sidwell struggled on for the full ninety minutes. Thomas, who was due to be suspended, but for some reason was allowed to play, was lucky not to be booked having clattered Lita from behind and elbowed Kitson in the back of the head - both bookable offences which went unpunished. I suppose some justice was done when he was carried off in the second half with what appeared to be a self inflicted injury.

Five minutes before half time Reading lost Kitson through injury, and the lead with a strike from Akinbiyi. Noel-Williams and Akinbiyi gave Sonko and Ingimarsson a torrid afternoon and it was that combination which produced a well taken goal. Burnley were growing in confidence.

Reading faced a tough task in the second half but rose to the occasion. It was not the most fluid performance, but everyone did their bit. It was business as usual for the solid Harper and Sidwell, but Little and Convey were also working hard defensively, and making a real impact in attack. Convey's all round game has improved beyond recognition this season. The key factor in the win however was the performance of Doyle. He was a constant thorn in the side of the Burnley defence, and just like Lita was very hard to knock off the ball. Both strikers also showed amazing ability in the air, outjumping taller central defenders on several occasions. Early in the half Doyle missed an absolute sitter when he barely made contact with an inviting Convey cross from close range. He made amends for the appalling miss in the seventieth minute when a short corner resulted in another good ball in from Convey. This time he made no mistake meeting the ball at the near post and gave Coyne no chance.

Hahnemann had one save to make but Reading held on for a deserved three points. Harper might have added a third but he delayed his shot when put through by Doyle and was denied by a strong and barely legal challenge from behind. The only other notable event was petulant assault on Convey by a frustrated O'Connor which earned him a red card. The Royals can now put their feet up for a couple of weeks and enjoy a well earned rest tucked in behind Sheffield United in second place.


The wise and arguably best manager we've ever had Mark McGhee once said two points a game is Championship form, and so after we have played six games we found ourselves in a great position and on target for the Championship! Forgetting the Plymouth result (though it still rankles) we've done really well and once again have made the start which is teases us fans into starting to think here we go, this could be the year. From what I've seen so far this season, it will be no different from before in the division, a long hard battle from start to finish where only the strongest both mentally and physically will be there in the shake up in the end. Yesterday against Burnley was typical, a result best described as an ugly win. Burnley will probably with justification feel hard done by but so did we after Plymouth. We didn't play that well but three points it is and if you are winning when playing poorly then the future bodes well. We are playing ok but yet again we need to invest if we are to cement our position and push on. I think we need a quality centre back, a creative mid fielder and possibly another forward. Something has happened to Kitson, he's not been the same player since his long lay off from injury last season. He appears to amble around and give the impression of being lazy. I'm sure he's not fit, and with the exciting Lita so active on the pitch running everywhere this does not make Kitson look very good, hopefully he'll rediscover the form he showed last season soon. Doyle does look a very exciting prospect and I think deserves a run in the team, he has good control and looks raw, in time he could be anything. Must mention Sonko, he may have graduated from the Barry Hunter academy of Giraffe passing but by golly he gives you 100%. He's a great stopper and wears his shirt with pride, and who can ever forget that double dummy against Plymouth where he sent two players the wrong way, shows he's more than a hoofer Keep it going lads next two games will be a good test, just remember two points a game... URZ
Nick Newbury

Positives from this win were good performances from the likes of Lita, Doyle (capped by a well deserved goal), & Sonko, & the character shown by the team in the 2nd half to grind out the win. Negatives were still the same problems in central midfield with the opposition being given too much room & the injuries. Sidwell being out may at least force the management to re-think the midfield, hopefully Doyle can continue with his promising form & prove an able deputy for Kitson & Makin (whilst unspectacular) has shown he can be an able deputy for either Murty or Shorey. So at least this shows we have a little more depth to the squad in terms of quality than last season.
Caversham Royal

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