4 November 1998
Reading 1 York City 0
Bernal, McPherson, Primus, Kromheer, Brebner, Parkinson, Caskey, Sarr (Roach),
Well it wasn't the greatest ever game - but Reading are starting to grind out results in a row now and I guess that's what matters. The main point here is that Reading were totally in control, they cruised to victory without really sweating too much. And they're starting to play Tommy Burns style football. Slow perhaps, but defensively sound and the main thing: in control.
Reading started with the expected starting eleven. Kromeer came straight back into the team from injury, in the centre of defence, as the obvious replacement for the newly-signed suspended Casper. Sarr made his first start for a while with Brayson on the bench. Perhaps the bigest suprise was Roach actually making the bench. The cynical might think it was a cunning trick by Burns to give Nev some match practice in a proper game to bump up his transfer fee before flogging him on. And in the 30 minutes Roach played he did his best to advertise himself to potential buyers.
And the game. Very Gillingham and Blackpool like overall but improved. At least I felt we were always going to win the thing - and after we went 1-0 up we looked very comfortable. It would have been nice to have stuck a few more in though.
The first half was the better of the two. Reading scored with their first real chance on target. Reading won a couple of free kicks on the edge of the York box out on the left. The first was wasted. The second wasn't. Caskey looped one right into the area into a crowd of players as Reading pushed men forward. Heads went up and Williams (I think) connected. The ball was blocked and came back out to Brebner just inside the box. He let one fly through the crowd of players to score his seventh of the season so far. Woo-hoo! 1-0 to the R's.
And that was most of the excitement over with. Kromheer was doing a great job in the centre of defence. Primus and Macca added to the solidness of it all. The only real nervous moment came from a cross from the right. Howie, in the Reading goal, was his normal indecisive self, leaving the York centre forward with a clear shot on goal. He hoofed it against the centre of the Reading crossbar and Howie turned to find the ball bounce back out into his arms. Other than that Parkie was winning everything in midfield, Williams was winning everything up front, Sarr was very quiet, and the whole team were tapping it along the ground slowly moving forward very nicely. Not fast - but at least playing it roughly forward rather than those shite backpasses we had to endure at the start of the season. Yes, things are getting much better.
The most memorable bit of the second half was my bollocks almost getting frozen off.
The rest of the game was Reading playing it around taking it easy. Possession stuff. York didn't really know what to do - so that did nothing and must have sent home their 12 supporters very depressed. Reading could have made it two with a decent spell half way through the second half. Roach came on for the out of sorts Sarr and blasted one just over the bar. Williams charged through down the left side and into the box and had three attempts charged down before the ball spinned out of the box to the right. Another shocking moment when a Brebner cross from the right found Skippy in the box whose header almost found the target.
Still there was time for the nervous last few moments as in injury time York pushed forward. But they never really threatened. And the full time whistle to more "we are going up" chants. Crazy.
Still no scoreboard. I think they're saving it for when the roads are finished. But a Shooters bar at last; serving seven beers (if you call Cider and Lager beer that is), in a posh pub like atmosphere. Not bad - certainly warmer than the concourse and a whole lot less smokier.
The point of tonight though was to get the 3 points. And we did that just fine. Seven games without defeat - five of those victories - and tenth in the table. Reasons to be very happy.