MATCH REPORT: 2003/2004 Season

6 December 2003: LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
Reading: Forster (55 mins, 89 mins).
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 7,512

Pos Team P Pts GD
4 Sheff Utd 21 37 +9
5 READING 22 37 +6
6 Wigan 22 35 +6
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Mackie, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Savage (Murray 37), Hughes (Harper 54), Watson, Sidwell, Salako, Forster. Subs not used: Tyson, Newman, Young.
Filan, Eaden, De Vos, Breckin, Rogers, Teale, Bullard, Jarrett (Roberts 86), McCulloch, Ellington, Liddell. Subs not used: Walsh, Kennedy, Lawrence, Jackson.
Reading: Savage.
De Vos.
Referee: Joe Ross (London)

Following excellent performances against Watford and Chelsea, Reading manager Steve Coppell opted for the same starting formation and line-up as before and once again it paid off as Reading took the full three points from a very difficult fixture at the JJB stadium. The formation relies on Nicky Forster finding the net up front and today he created plenty of opportunities for himself and stuck away two excellent individual second half goals to give Reading the win. With yet another excellent defensive performance from Hahnemann and the back four it was a real case of doing the job today as Wigan had the majority of the play, especially in the second half, but failed to break through. Tactically this was another major success for Coppell who takes Reading up to fifth in the table and makes it eight wins from just thirteen games in charge.

The obvious hero of the day was of course Forster who banged in two top of the range goals in the second half to grab the win - and he showed himself to a threat within the opening two minutes with the first chance of the game. Moments after collecting the first statistic of the game by being caught offside he latched onto the ball inside the area on the right and hit a shot that came back out off the post. Just a couple of minutes later and Foster nearly found the target with a shot from the left that was pushed round the post by the Wigan goalkeeper. Throughout the game Reading relied solely on Forster to do the damage up front with little support and he perhaps should have put Reading ahead before the break after two decent efforts where we failed to find the target after breaking through. Having gone seven games without a goal perhaps Forster was a little too keen early on to shoot when he could have got in closer - but he was to more than make up for these wasted opportunities later in the game.

The confusing Bas Savage was having a very involved game early on as well after getting tangled up with the referee and a series of Wigan players as he looked to put his mark on the game. He eventually picked up a yellow card after bringing a Wigan player down and went in the book for dissent. Only shortly after that he dished out another clusmy challenge to conceed another foul and Steve Coppell was left with no choice but to bring Savage off after just 37 minutes to prevent Reading having to play the entire second half with just ten men. His replacement, Scott Murray, came on and failed to really shine as Wigan stepped up the pace of their game.

Reading failed to make the most of a whole series of corners that caused little danger and were easily cleared but we still looked the more likely side at the break after Wigan were restricted to just a couple of chances in the first half. Reading looked comfortable in defence and Hahnemann only had to make one good save of note with Wigan's other chances going high and wide. After half time Wigan stepped up their involvement and enjoyed the most of the ball as they began to look much more dangerous. Shortly after the break Wigan put in a good shot just inches wide and it was followed up by another Hahnemann save as they cut through the defence for a clear shot on goal.

With Wigan on the attack and enjoying a solid spell of pressure the first Reading goal came against the run of play. The ball was cleared by the defence and Forster found himself just inside the Wigan half having kept onside. Forster picked up the ball and was off, twisting past a defender and then out-pacing another as he sprinted towards goal. WIth the keeper coming out Forster finished with style for a wonderful individual goal to put Reading on their way. With Reading in the lead and playing away from home there seemed a further shift of tactics to defend and hang onto the lead - something we accomplished very well. Wigan had a couple of decent efforts shooting just over the Reading crossbar and just wide of the post but otherwise struggled to make their possession count. With time running out Forster popped up again to make the most of a break after a Wigan attack taking the ball wide of the keeper and firing in a low shot from the left into the back of the net. 2-0 to the Royals, two Forster wonder goals, and the game was won.


Flipping heck! What a great result. When we played Wigan a month ago, they were top of the league and we were about nine points behind them. Tonight they are behind us and we lie 5th in the league, a remarkable testament to all the players and of course Steve Coppell. When you think how small our squad is and what key players are currently injured it's amazing we are where we are in the league and we've almost got back into the top six without anybody noticing. Surely Mr JM realises we need a few new players to strengthen the squad and it would be such a shame not to capitalise on the good position we find ourselves in. Go on Mr JM give Stevie a big wad of dosh for Christmas! We can't keep relying on the amazing Nicky Forster, what would we do if he were injured? It's so tight, anybody in the top twelve in this league can win automatic promotion. Wonder who it will be? Well played Reading, great week, the players deserve a day off they've played so many games recently. Lets hope it continues into the all important Christmas period..... URZ
Nick Newbury

This was a very encouraging result. Despite slipping recently, Wigan are no pushovers & to beat them both home & away is no mean feat. Good to see Forster getting back on the score sheet legitimately (I've watched the replays of his Watford 'goal' several times & still cannot see him getting anywhere near the ball!), & another clean sheet is a good thing too. I hope this means that the team is rediscovering it's early season form in time for the busy holiday period of fixtures. COME ON......
Caversham Royal

Great performance from John Mackie on Saturday, who looks a different player from the thruppenny bit headed, club footed clogger who we saw last season. Is this more Coppell magic? He now looks the strongest header of a ball since Jimmy Quinn, has discovered how to pass, long and short, and has also brought the ball out to the halfway line in recent games. On present form, Williams and Brown would struggle to displace either him or the superb Ingamarsson. Did Wolves know something we have yet to find out?
Whitley Steve

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