READING 1 OXFORD UNITED 2 Attendance: 10,101
Scorers: McIntyre Date: 7 November 1999
Team: Whitehead, Casper (Forster), Bernal, Hunter, Primus, Gurney, Parkinson, Evers, Caskey (Smith), Williams, Scott (McIntyre).
Audio: Supplied by Classic Gold
1-1: McIntyre Equalises
1-2: Oxford score the winner
Final Whistle: Bollocks.
Match Hero: Williams

Thoroughly depressing to lose at home to Oxford. And that's a total under-statement. It makes me cringe to say it - but the best side on the day won. Reading may have enjoyed far more possession and spent most of the second half attempting to get back into the game but Oxford, a team below us in the table before kick-off and struggling, looked the most dangerous up front and the most secure at the back. Important qualities that Reading were missing.

Right from the off Reading didn't seem quite as fired up for the game as they should be. Parky was soon flying about all over the place as was Williams. Players who realise that it's unacceptable to lose at home to Oxford. Skippy started putting in some heavy challenges too but unfortunately made some horrendous mistakes at the back - he was trying but it wasn't happening for him. The first major mistake allowed Oxford to take the lead after just seven minutes. The ball was played to the right just inside the box, the Oxford wing back strolled past Bernal who could do nothing but fling his body to the floor, and the ball was played aross the goal to Whitehead's right and into the back of the net. Shit. The worst possible start.

From a goal down Reading could have come back to life and given us a real derby game but they didn't and the first half quickly settled down into a real lower division affair. Loads of hoofing the ball into the air, lots of heading it around rather meaninglessly around in midfield, and that was almost it. No use of the wings. And when we did get wide the ball would be lobbed harmlessly into the area and into the arms of the Oxford keeper who was having a field day. You would have thought we'd have learnt - we didn't. Every cross was the same. Dull and uncreative. We were begging for a couple of balls to be swinging away from the keeper. But no. Or perhaps a few on the floor. But no. Reading rarely threatened.

Perhaps the best entertainment of the first half for Reading fans was James Lambert. In his Oxford shirt. Getting towards the end of the first half he went flying over Barry Hunter. Moments later he had a little tantrum at the referee and picked up a yellow card for his troubles.

Reading's best effort of the first half came when Caskey threaded through a perfect ball between the two Oxford centre backs and into the path of the advancing Martin Williams. Williams hit his shot first time but it flew past the wrong side of the post. Just before half time though it was Oxford who could have added to their lead. Thankfully a shot from about two yards out took a deflection and soared over Whitehead's crossbar. The half time whistle brought the constant hoofing to an end.

The Royals emerged for the second half with an obvious tactical change. Chris Casper who had contributed very little, expect some poor crosses from the right, was replaced by Nicky Forster making his return to action from injury. And for a while it seemed like it might do the trick as Reading became a bit more positive, a bit more attacking and pushing the ball forward. Williams went wide with Forster and Scott in the middle. Williams determined chasing of the ball makes a refreshing change from the start of the season and he set up a couple of changes. Not long after the break and we could have been level after a period of solid pressure the ball was played into the box and Scott, with his back to goal, hooked the ball over his shoulder. It was heading for the top right corner, but there was the Oxford keeper once again, to push it over the bar to safety.

After a bit of effort and no success Reading eased back a bit more and Oxford were happy to sit on their lead. And then Reading scored the equaliser just moments after Jimmy McIntyre, who came on the pitch to not a single boo at last to replace the knackered Scott, had taken to the field. The keeper came racing off his line for his first mistake of the game. McIntyre just inside the area and central stuck a foot on the ball, it deflected off the defender and rolled into the back of the net. Yes. 1-1. And a bit of noise in the East Stand for the first time during the morning.

It briefly looked like we might get something from the game but failed to push forward enough to look for the winner. Instead Oxford came back to life with just five minutes left on the clock. The ball was crossed from left to right and Oxford unleashed a total scorcher into the top right corner of the net. 1-2, and no way back for Reading. Caskey won a free kick on the right and lobbed it straight into the keepers arms for the 78th time during the match. Skippy had a great chance but his powerful shot inside the box found a defender's head rather than the back of the net as it should have done.

So perhaps a bit of bad luck for Reading who might have had most of the game. But it simply wasn't good enough to play like that in one of the most important games of the season. Oxford seemed to want it more and scored two half decent goals compared to our one deflected effort. Bollocks I'm afraid.

Post Match Opinions

We were the better team, played the more constructive football, but Oxford won the match. So what did they have that we did not. The key to their success was that when they needed to, they played at pace especially in front of our defence. They also had a goalkeeper who caught with ease all the inept crosses that we threw at him. He could also kick the ball a hell of a long way! If the goalkeeper was not catching it then the seventeen foot tall centre half was heading the ball away (A good job Francis wasn't playing for them as well). They also took their chances and that was the key to it all. We should have been ahead before they scored and we had the better chances in the match but failed to hit the target. What was encouraging from Reading was the effort and energy showed by some of the players. Parkie was outstanding, Evers getting better and better and even Skippy was turning it on with some amazing bits of skill down the left wing in the second half. The only disappointing player was Casper who wasted so much possession in the first half that it was no surprise not to see him emerge for the second. What we did not do enough was to feed the ball into the strikers in the right way. The crossing was all in the air and it was obvious from early on that it would have to be very accurate if we were to score from that route. We needed more guile. The players have the ability to deliver but we needed to take those chances. Credit to Oxford for the way that they played the game, but they are near the foot of the table. Reading has some good quality in the team and they really should be putting teams like Oxford away, but like their chances, they failed to do it. -- Ken Chennells

Following the rather dismal display vs Oxford, my mind went back to that Worthingtons Cup night against Bradford - Reading can obviously play exciting wingplay football and create lots of chances, but why do we continue to be faced with this lack lustred display in league matches, especially at home. The players have shown that they can be creative and give the fans the commitment and effort that we expect from Reading FC, so it becomes difficult to understand why we are beaten in a derby match where these two qualities are usually taken for granted. Its time for Pards to push for more effort and imagination and not allow this "hoof and hope" style football to continue at the Madejski Stadium. -- David Tempest

Totally depressing. After a performance like that you're left feeling there's an awful lot wrong with the team. For me the only player about whom I could feel 100% positive on the day was Linvoy - and he'll be off on a Bosman come the end of the season. God, what it is to be a Royal these days. -- Peter Jones

The only reason we had 10000 was because the press had been talking up the last couple of matches. What we saw on Sunday was a bunch of knackered headless chickens running around looking for the right end to shoot at. Not only are we without pace in defence but Caskey and Co slow the game up in midfield every time we attempt to go forward, and with Williams preferring to fall over rather than run, the only goals we are going to see are the ones fired into our own net. What we need is another clear out, that shouldn't be beyond the wit of Pardew. With the hotel opening in the new year there should be plenty of jobs available. I have offered my season ticket as the booby prize in my wife's Christmas school raffle. Unfortunately the school refused to take it because they say they have standards to maintain. -- Chris Maskell

By Christ , this club knows how to drive the average sane fan absolutely loopy In my thirty odd years of watching football , I have never seen such a diabolical pathetic display of crossing the ball. Lloyd Webber could have done better! What on earth has happened to Casper ? Pardew better get this lot sorted asap or else! Most of then wouldn't get a game down Prospect Park It's enough to drive a man to drink............pint please barman! -- Nick Poole

Williams was making lots of runs but in the second half he was out of it due to the introduction of Forster. What worries me was how subdued Parkinson was. Against Yeovil he was quiet and I didn't feel he contributed to much in this one. Whitehead looked dodgy on crosses, and overall Alan Brazil couldn't believe that it was a derby. No passion, no fire and no umph ! We did have alot of the game but critical mistakes by Skippy and a few others cost us. They may not have a ground like ours but at least the Pox battled and scrapped to get the three points. -- Pete Turner

I have to say it was pretty pathetic stuff, Sunday morning park football would have been a better choice. Where was the commitment and passion! gapping holes in defence slow to buid up an attack, need I go on!. John Majdeski needs to do something quickly, otherwise his business investment will go down and down. This not the way to attract supporters to the ground. -- Paul Jeffries

What other team in the country would make its own supporters wait 10 minutes after a game whilst the away fans exit?. Not only did we watch the worst performance since Pardew arrived; which disgusted us enough but we then had to wait like Caged animals whilst Poxford fans made their merry way home.Alot of fans were very angry with this treatment but not surprised as were always being treated with utter contempt by Reading F.C.The club just cant be bothered with we minnions unless of course your a corperate fan. It will be interesting to see come the end of November when we have 3 home games on the bounce, if the club wants bums on seats or just pocket what they can from the few thousand who will no doubt attend.We hear the excuse that season ticket holders wont like it,( the clubs excuse), yet all the season ticket holders I know wouldt mind people paying less as it would hopefully swell the crowd , I fear however that after the Poxford game and the disgusting treatment recieved by the supporters gates will not increase, Reading F.C. is the towns team not the arrogant overbearing few who sit in there meetings deciding what is best for US. Lets get this sorted and treat all fans no matter where they sit with the respect due, we,ve paid our money dont treat us like dirt. -- Chaz

Very disapointing to lose to the Oxford, but I don't think that we helped ourselves into the bargain. You have to wonder whether Pards does his homework on the sides that we have to face, and even if he does he didn't do it very well today. We seemed to have an inability to pick up the runners from midfield, which lead to both of the goals, and there 1-2s they were playing infront of our defense were completely foxing us. Coupled with this it didn't help that we couldn't deal with any sort of dead-ball situation that Oxford had. We didn't look convincing at all at coners or free-kicks around the box, and with Beauchamp having the freedom of the pitch in midfield we were bound to loose. Especially as the defence had no pace about them. When we did get into attacking positions we seemed to totally run out of ideas. The final ball was non-exsistant and the build up play was just clumsy. When we did get the ball into the box, we seemed to just lob it up for the goalie to catch, and this didn't happen a couple of times, this happened all through the game.

On a the other side of the coin, Parky was sticking his boot in all over the place, and Evers looked lively on the left, even though he didn't look completely comfortable in that position. The Kid ran non-stop as per usual, but thing weren't coming off for him today, dispite some goos turns. The attack held the ball up well throughout the game, though with little support and imagination from midfield they were lost. Also Peanut-Head (Nicky Forster) looked lively when he came on, but he could do little to alter the game. All in all a pretty disapointing performance after the recent good result, I put it down to our inability to take our chances and when we can get that sorted out we will climb rapidly up the table, but until that time i think we are desinted for mid-table again. Lets just hope we can give Oxford a good old kicking at the Manor in March. -- Sam Sargant

Well, looks like we've done some good work on crosses this week, they were all at the keeper. -- "The Mad Man"

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