MATCH REPORT: 2005/2006 Season

Reading: Doyle (34 mins), Long (88 mins).
Derby: Seth Johnson (32 mins, 62 mins)
Half Time: 1-1
Attendance: 21,434

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 READING 27 66 +40
2 Sheff Utd 27 59 +25
3 Leeds 26 48 +12
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty (Harper 86), Ingimarsson, Sonko, Shorey, Little, Sidwell, Gunnarsson, Convey (Long 70), Doyle, Hunt (Oster 81). Subs Not Used: Stack, Makin.
Derby: Camp, Jackson, Davies, Nyatanga, Edworthy, Smith (Michael Johnson 71), Bolder, Idiakez, Seth Johnson, Holmes (Thirlwell 77), Graham (Peschisolido 86). Subs Not Used: Poole, Barnes.
Reading: -
Derby: Davies (sent off 71 mins, second booking).
Referee: B Curson (Leicestershire).

The Royals enjoyed a very successful festive period as the previously familiar festive slump failed to appear. Instead, the Royals marched on to complete a run of ten straight league wins with two 2-0 victories at Wolves on Boxing Day and against Leicester City at the Madejski Stadium three days later. The busy Christmas and New Year programme was wrapped up by securing a point at Derby County on New Years Eve before a stunning 5-1 demolition of Cardiff City on Bank Holiday Monday. Reading came closest to losing the unbeaten run, that started after the opening day of the season, with a close run result at Derby County. In the Sky televised game, Shane Long came off the bench to make only his second Reading appearance and headed home a vital equaliser that made it 2-2 with just two mintues left. A Reading goal had looked on the cards after Derby were reduced to ten men with twenty minutes left to play. The sending off gave Reading a much needed boost, and although the Royals could have gone on to win the game, it would have been harsh on the home side. After few chances for either side Derby went ahead on the half hour, only to see Reading immediately equalise through a Kevin Doyle header after a Little cross from the right. Derby were back in the lead on the hour mark, but were up against it after the red card, and Long's goal came when Sidwell played the ball back into the area. After securing that point, the Royals were back to winning ways on Monday with a big win over Cardiff City. City came to play some good football but were swept aside by a Reading side in top form. It was a massively entertaining game with Reading playing some excellent football as they created chance after chance. Sidwell scored his first after just eleven mintues from Little's cross and Shorey's cross allowed Sonko to head home to make it 2-0 at the break. The second half saw Kitson score from close range and Sidwell score his second with his head with Cardiff pulling one back inbetween. Kitson completed the scoring with Reading's fifth from the penalty spot. Sidwell nearly completed his hat-trick with a superb effort that smacked against the post, and Cardiff were lucky to escape without conceeding more.


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