Attendance: 10,551
Scorers: Caskey, Forster Date: 4 March 2000
Team: Howie, Gurney, A.Williams, Hunter, Robinson, Grant (Evers), Smith, Caskey (Murty), McIntyre (Hodges), Butler, Forster.

Match Hero:


As if we needed any more evidence it was out there today - the fun in watching Reading Football Club is back. Last weeks set-back up at Chesterfield was well and truly forgotten as Reading continued their impressive form of the last few months, to easily dispose of a Bournemouth side who were clearly second best on the day. The fans are doing their bit and the players are responding by putting together the results the fans deserve. The Beach Party was a fantastic success creating a great atmosphere across the ground. The forcast of possible snow showers didn't put many off and hundreds of people could be seen cheering on the Royals in their Hawaiian shirts and shorts. As the team came out balloons, beach balls, inflatable sharks and rubber rings bounced all around the crowd. Speaking after the game Alan Pardew sung the praises of the crowd saying it was like having a twelth player out there on the pitch. If the progress at Reading Football Club both on and off the pitch continues at this rate, then next season we'll be right at the top of the table playing to regular crowds of over 15,000 cheering the Royals to victory.

The crowd may have been a little disappointing - almost half of the target - but it was still a huge gate for a game such as this when our average this season is 3,000 less. Everyone that was there was determined to create a good atmosphere - and that must have rubbed off on the players. With everyone well in party mood, and the beard band banging out footie tunes we were given the icing on the cake as early as the third minute when Darren Caskey gave Reading an early lead. We won a free kick on the edge of the box, just left of centre. Caskey stepped up and fired the ball towards the left side of the net, the keeper must have been unsighted and failed to move, and the ball was in the back of the net. 1-0 to Reading, and a dream start.

Despite going a goal down so quickly Bournemouth failed to take the game to Reading to try and get level - in fact the away side had still failed to get a single shot on target when Reading made it 2-0 with about half an hour gone. Reading won a corner on the right which was played high into the box by Caskey. Williams just inside the box on the right headed it on into the six yard box where Forster was waiting with a crowd of players. Forster got the touch and sent the ball past the keeper from close range to make it 2-0. Cue mass celebration across the whole ground - apart from silence within the 1,500 travelling fans in the South Stand.

Bournemouth continued to have most of the ball - but do nothing with it. Reading were more than happy to let Bournemouth play it around before making the tackle when needed - or just pick up the ball following a poor Bournemouth ball. Howie had very little to do during the first half with a solid defence keeping the ball out. It was a real team performance from Reading with the midfield, despite being without the injured Phil Parkinson, tackling hard, marking hard, and giving Bournemouth little options when trying to move forward. Before the half time whistle it was Reading who could have had another goal - an on-target Butler shot from inside the area was right next to the keeper allowing him to save from close range.

The second half followed the same pattern with Bournemouth getting a fair bit of possession but rarely being able to create any chances to trouble Howie. When Bournemouth did break into the Reading box we had Howie, Robinson and Williams to thank - Howie made some great saves and the defence some last ditch tackles in the area timed to perfection. Bournemouth came closest with two shots in a row which brought a double save from Scott Howie.

Down the other end Forster really should have added to his first half goal by completing a hat-trick. Once he was clean through after running onto a ball just inside the Bournemouth half. He took it right to the edge of the area where he found the keeper charging off his line to meet him. Instead of taking it round him, Forster shot - and the keeper was close enough to make the save right on the edge of his area. In another incident the ball was crossed from the right, across the face of goal, finding Forster just a few yards out. Unfortunately he didn't connect properly and the ball went sailing high over the crossbar to safety. Forster will be annoyed that he hadn't made it 3-0 or even 4-0 to Reading - but he deserves the credit for working the chances even though they weren't finished off.

At the final whistle it was great to see the whole team come over to salute the home fans - a rare sight at the Madejski Stadium. The supporters are feeding the team, the team are feeding the supporters. It's a winning forumla without a doubt.


Reading move further clear of the relegation positions...

Inflatable sharks, rubber rings, Hawiian shirts...

The whole ground in party mood...

Gurney is given plenty of options...not...

The beard band...

Fans getting in the mood...

And Kingsley in beach wear...

Appreciation is shown for Caskey's opener!

Post Match Opinions

Easiest win for ages.They were so poor, that their own fans were abusing them. I can't criticise any of our players. Howie played well again,we were in control at the back. Williams was much better,Peter Grant was superb he tackled very strongly. Caskey was the playmaker as usual and scored a brilliant freekick (Beckham watch and learn) the front two were much too good for them. I'd like to see Butler score at home he seemed to be getting a bit frustrated but his link up play with Forster was excellent. A big noisy crowd as well (considering the opposition and league positions).
-- Russ. Essex Royal

I knew things could only get better when the bus at the Rose & Thistle was late & we could down a few more pints. The band were superb & really added to the atmosphere - I'm still humming the theme tune from the Great Escape even now, 24hrs later! My highlight had to be Caskey's goal in the first 3 mins - that's it - we showed those beach bums where to shove their candy floss & red flags! Bring on Oxford. P.S. Nice to see myself smack bang in the middle of the crowd photo - the one next to that orange bloke.
-- Lisa

I have been a regular subscriber to the opinions pages since they were introduced, this is an excellent way to have a say outside of the MAD House, booing players never really achieved anything positive. What is making a difference is the themed matches, the atmosphere created by the beach party on Saturday, in conjunction with the band, was really great, the drummers especially should become a fixture. The 'MAD House' is becoming a great venue to spend a Saturday afternoon, the football isn't too bad now either!
The first half against Bournemouth, apart from the Caskey special was pretty non descript. The second half was better from the point on view the football was a lot more open. For most of the second half I was sat on the edge of my seat waiting for Reading to slip up but yet again they didn't, in fact as a unit they looked very good. It was the first time I have seen Adrian Williams play and I had heard it said that he isn't the player he was when at Reading for the first time but he looked pretty solid to me and played well alongside Hunter. In midfield, alongside Grant, I thought Caskey had a very good game, he seems to have quickened up, it's a shame though Grant can't pass as well as he tackles. Up front Butler and Forster looked mobile and skilful enough to cause any defence trouble, how nice it is to go to a match feeling a tinge of excitement.
I have a season ticket, I would be interested in the views of other season ticket holders and regular supporters as to whether or not we should have extra benefits such as having a free programme on match days or having special events arranged for us. Maybe we should have a supply of RFC tranquillisers, with little logos printed on them, available for when we go through a bad run such as the one we are just coming out of. Now Reading are winning the crowds are getting bigger, which is as it should be, but what does it say of the returning fans? What it says to me is, the season ticket holder or regular supporter is the backbone of the club and should be cosseted!!!!!
-- Chris Maskell

Well done URZ! You've done a brilliant job in changing the atmosphere. Madejski Stadium is at last beginning to feel like home.
I thought Adie Williams looked very solid. A real potential replacement if Linvoy decides to go. his heart has obviously never left Reading, as his own goal at Elm Park proved.
-- Stuart

Bournemouth were poor....no, Bournemouth were very poor. They were perhaps the worst team to have played the Mad Stad this season. A 2-0 win flatters the match. It was a good show from the Royals in that they did just enough to ensure the victory. Bournemouth had a lot of posession, and the ball got stuck in the middle of the park too much. Bournemouth seemed unable to create any telling passes, or show any finesse in front of goal. Had they been on top of their game, the story may well have been different. As it was we were able to let Bournemouth fiddle around in the middle and then nick the ball of them when it began to get dangerous.
The East Stand seemed preoccupied with trying to get a mexican wave going, there was all in all little to hold the attention. Having said all that, there were some solid efforts from Royals players, Gurney I noticed in particular was being much more forward thinking than he has been in the past. Hunter won everything in the air, and Williams was solid all game. Forster scored, but missed unbelievably too. Robinson was impressive as usual, and he showed his pace several times. Caskey was super....let's hope he doesn't get snapped up if he puts on too many more of these performances! There was a good atmosphere around the stadium, the East stand was packed and buzzing, more of these results and the crowds will tip the 15,000 mark. Good result, solid performance, bring Oxford on.
-- Stores.

What the hell is happening to us? A third 2-0 home victory in a row, and in each of the games is could and should have been more. it was good to see Ade Williams back at the heart of the royals defense and he had a good solid home re-debut. it would be a good bit of business if we could get him on a free at the end of the season, and if linvoy signs a new contract him and Ade in the centre of defense will be a formidable partnership. All round the team played well and with confidense, though that was help by being 1-0 up within 3 mins, after a sublime beckham-esque 25 yarder from super darren caskey, who had a good game dispite him having a dodgy foot. Nickey and Butler up front are looking better and better with every game that they play,a dn don't ask me how nivkey didn't get a hit-trick, maybe it just wasn't his day. Howie again is looking good, and it was good to see whitehead back on the bench so that there is now some competition for that position. Peter Grant filled Parky's boots well and it was sad to see him stretchered off toward the end of the game, as both him and parky in the center of midfield have been looking solid. i can't help thinking though that Ade would have been a better captian choice, rather than caskey, but hey, who's complaining. Lets jsut hope we can get oxford back for the defeat earlier on in the season, by kicking their ass tomorrow night at The Manor. Come on URZ !!!!
-- Sam Sargant

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