Match Report vs Norwich

Tue 4 March 1997 (League)
READING 2 Norwich City 1

Att: 8,174 (roughly)
Team: Mautone, Bodin (Parkinson), McPherson, Hunter, Gooding, Bernal, Meaker, Caskey, Morley, Quinn (Williams), Gilkes
Sub Not Used: Lambert.

Reading continued their recent run of good results by grabbing another full 3 points at home to move up to 16th in the table. For once the Royals enjoyed a bit of the luck with Eadie missing chances worth at least a hattrick for Norwich, and the winner an own goal coming with just a few minutes left.

Perhaps the strangest thing was Quinn starting his first full game for ages. He'd obviously forgotten was it was like and thought he'd just check out if he was up to scoring still or not. Couldn't fault him for that. But this wasn't be to 'Golden Boots's game with Trevor Morley far outshadowing him with a spectacular opening goal. Morley fired in his 21st goal, of what must be one of his most prolific seasons ever, with the game just 20 minutes old.

I don't think we'd actually had any chances or shots on target and as Meaker legged it down the right it didn't look like this was going to produce one. Meaker beat his man well and played a cross at around chest height just inside the Norwich area. Morley, just right of centre, looked like he might bring it down and turn and shoot: but instead flung himself into the air with an overhead kick lashing the ball into the back of the net. Oh, yes. Not one of his usual efforts that one. A fantastic goal to put the Royals 1-0 up.

Norwich drew level about 5 minutes later. The Norwich forward broke into the area but seemed to play the ball too far in front of him. Mautone came off his line to intercept and stretched himself out in front of the advancing player. As the ball bounced out of play harmlessly the Norwich player flung himself over Mautones body for a penalty. Perhaps a little unfair but Mautone's mistake. The ball was drilled into the bottom left corner. 1-1.

Reading's next best chance of the half fell to Jimmy Quinn who found himself just a little too close to the Norwich keeper. As he came off his line to close the angle Quinn shot low and wide to the left. Meaker continued to create problems for City down the right wing but his crosses never looked dangerous enough. Reading started to play it around well but looked unlikely to beat a very solid Norwich defence.

It was probably Norwich who should have gone in ahead at the break after Eadie at last broke the Reading offside trap and fired the ball against the post with just Mautone to beat. 1-1 at half time.

For the majority of the first half Reading looked very solid themselves at the back with Hunter providing some confident tackles and Hunter and Macca winning everything in the air at the back. However it started to look slightly shakey as the second half progressed. The offside trap was beaten too often and Bodin, otherwise having a great game, failed to pick up the winger. With Eadie showing his pace yet again, Norwich should have taken the lead as he broke through but fired to the right of Mauton and into the side netting. A Norwich free kick on the left almost created a goal. As the ball was centered, Mautone was excellently positioned to tip the resulting strike over the bar to keep it level.

Although CIty could have finished the game off it remained pretty level, and a Gilkes effort could have turned the game the other way. Gooding ran through the middle with suprising ease and played the ball right to left to Gilkes. Gilkes turned his marker, sped free, and shot to the keepers left but unfortunately wide.

Quinn was replaced by Williams, and later Parkinson made a welcome return to first team action at Elm Park - coming on for Paul Bodin. As Reading pushed for the winner Morley almost got a penalty when a long ball over the top saw Morley collide with the City keeper just inside the area. Mautone continued making some solid saves before Reading finally grabbed the winner.

Williams pushed off his marker down the right wing, cut inside the box and, looking like he might shoot himself, crossed to the youth-like Gilksey advancing at top speed at the far post. Adams, the City defender with Gilksey right behind him, had no choice but to stop it getting to Gilkes. He stuck his foot out to meet the cross and the ball flew into the roof of the net to give the Royals the full three points.


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