MATCH REPORT: 2006/2007 Season

30 April 2007: FA PREMIER LEAGUE
Reading: Kitson (51 mins).
Newcastle: -
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 24,109

Pos Team P Pts GD
6 Everton 36 54 +13
7 READING 36 54 +7
8 Portsmouth 36 53 +6
Reading: Hahnemann, De la Cruz, Ingimarsson, Duberry, Shorey, Ki-Hyeon, Gunnarsson (Harper 90), Oster (Bikey 90), Hunt, Doyle, Kitson (Long 89). Subs Not Used: Federici, Halford.
Newcastle: Harper, Solano, Bramble, Taylor, Carr, Milner, Emre (N'Zogbia 60), Dyer, Sibierski (Ameobi 54), Owen, Martins. Subs Not Used: Srnicek, Onyewu, Carroll.
Reading: Hunt, Kitson.
Newcastle: -
Ref: M Riley (W Yorkshire).
Reading's amazing season is building to a climax which even the most optimistic Reading fans would not have predicted. This evening, fielding what must surely have been their weakest side in any Premiership fixture so far, the Royals chalked up their third successive victory to lift them once again into a European qualification spot. It was far from Reading's most convincing performance but against a United team packed with very expensive and talented players they did enough to take all three points. The return of Michael Owen from his long term injury prompted a visit from Terry Venables, but it was Nicky Shorey who caught the eye with an outstanding all round performance.

After a lively opening twenty minutes the game settled down with neither side able to establish control of midfield. Owen was clearly offside when he slid the ball past Hahnemann on seven minutes and Duberry blasted over from close range following a corner on ten minutes. Mike Riley was the only person in the stadium who failed to notice Kevin Doyle being flattened in the box for a clear penalty. It was one of a string of fouls on the Reading striker which he failed to spot including another clear penalty late in the second half. Both teams were committed to open and enterprising football. Harper in the United goal looked very uncomfortable dealing with back passes and almost gifted Reading a goal when he hit the ball straight to Doyle in the box but his shot was deflected wide. Reading looked vulnerable down the right with Seol, Oster and De La Cruz eager to attack but not too effective defensively. The fussy and incompetent Riley finally stamped his authority on the game shortly before half time by ordering Kinglsey away from the side of the pitch.

The second half produced the only goal of the game when Hunt caught Newcastle tinkering around on the half way line and Seol drove a ball over the United defence to an unmarked Dave Kitson. The ball sat up invitingly for him and he demonstrated the necessary composure to rifle the ball into the net. Off he went to celebrate and receive a booking from increasingly irritating Riley. Martins and Ameobi both missed gilt edged chances to level the scores, the latter having his effort easily gathered by Hahnemann. Milner shot just wide and Gunnarsson created a chance for himself but could not apply the finish.

In the closing minutes the game degenerated into a complete shambles with Reading apparently bent on supplying United with a point through a series of unforced errors. Seol, who had flitted in and out of the game without really making the impression we had expected, was particularly guilty of wayward passing at what was crucial phase of the game. Fortunately United had also lost the plot and the game ended satisfactorily for the Royals.

Though they've never really been a "mighty" team, Newcastle have played on with the myth of being this massive club with massive support. The last bit may be right, but judged on last night's performance they wouldn't hold their own in the Reading Sunday League. They were that bad, absolute garbage from a bunch of overpaid jumped up posing prima donnas. Unlike the mighty Royals who though fielding a second team won far more comfortably than the score line suggests and march on to what looks could be an adventure into Europe, let's see what happens Saturday before we start thinking about that. Good gutsy performance last night from the Royals but totally overshadowed by the scandalous sending off of Kingsley Royal. How is it possible to conjure up words that describe that total twat of a referee in old mother Riley. Here we are with the most valuable football competition in world football, more money in the game than you can imagine and they put a plonker like him in charge. The fact he's deemed it needy to run fifty yards and book our mascot, our mascot!! truly defines belief and shows what sort morons masquerade under the pretence of referees. Should be a big party against Watford on Saturday, let's hope the clown in the middle don't spoil it... UURRZZZ
Nick Newbury

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