MATCH REPORT: 2007/2008 Season

Reading: Long (62 mins), Kitson (88 mins).
Man City: -
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 24,062

Pos Team P Pts GD
12 Middlesbro 28 29 -17
13 READING 29 28 -21
14 Newcastle 29 28 -26
Reading: Hahnemann, Rosenior, Bikey, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Oster, Harper, Matejovsky (Cisse 79), Hunt, Doyle, Long (Kitson 82). Subs Not Used: Federici, Sonko, Kebe.
Man City: Hart, Garrido, Corluka, Dunne (Jihai 29), Ball, Hamann (Castillo 67), Gelson, Vassell (Caicedo 59), Elano, Johnson, Mwaruwari. Subs Not Used: Schmeichel, Ireland.
Reading: -
Man City: Hamann, Johnson.
Ref: Uriah Rennie (S Yorkshire).
Watching Reading today, it is hard to believe that they were occupying one of the relegation places before the game. Against a team which recently beat the League Champions on their own ground, the Royals although slightly cautious at first, increasingly played assured and positive football as the game progressed. With a disciplined defence, a well balanced central midfield pairing of Harper and Matejovsky, and the honest endeavour of Doyle and Long up front, Reading wore City down and sealed a deserved victory with two superbly taken second half goals.

There was very little between the teams in the first half with neither goalkeeper put under significant pressure. Corluka somehow missed the target from a couple of yards. Matejovsky had a shot blocked by Hart and Long headed just wide from an Oster free kick. City enjoyed a lot of possession with their patient and controlled passing and movement. City constantly supplied Vassell on the left in the hope of getting behind the Royals back four but Rosenior kept him quiet. Reading's more direct and penetrative passing looked more threatening particularly when Matejovsky was on the ball. He poked through two or three perfectly weighted passes which had the City back four stretched. Reading's cause was helped when Dunne was carried off on the 'milk float' as result of an injury sustained in a committed challenge on Hunt. Referee Rennie had a poor first half awarding free kicks for fair tackles and looking very uncertain about several other decisions. City looked to have a good claim for a penalty when Ingimarsson caught Johnson late, but he chose to book the City player for diving. He was however completely justified in booking Hamman for a second cynical foul.

The tempo quickened in the second half with both sides looking to win the game. Reading had a spell when they found it hard to keep the ball and City fired in a couple of long range efforts which did not really test Hahnmenann. Reading began to get the upper hand as the game wore on. Doyle was put in by Matejovsky but his shot was deflected wide. Bikey hit the post following a bit of a scramble in the City box. The crucial breakthrough came in the sixty-first minute when Doyle's persistence and pace took him past Ball on the left and his low cross was side-footed powerfully and accurately into the corner of the net by Long. It was composed and confident finish. A minute later, had he timed his leap better to meet Doyle's cross from the right this time, he would have made it two. Instead the ball skimmed off his head and well wide. Reading resisteded the temptation to sit back and defend and were rewarded with another fine goal from substitute Kitson. Cisse slipped the ball to him wide on the right. Looking fresh and sharp he skipped inside past Ball and wrong-footed Hart with a left foot finish inside the near post. It was relief as much as much as elation which filled the stadium as Kitson was buried under a mound of team mates in font of the Reading bench.



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Reading climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone after beating Manchester City thanks to goals from Shane Long and Dave Kitson. Reading did threaten when Long headed John Oster's free-kick wide and Matejovsky fired in a bouncing shot that City keeper Joe Hart did well to push away. But Steve Coppell's side had referee Uriah Rennie to thank when he chose to book Johnson rather than award a penalty before the break when the midfielder seemed to be caught by Ivar Ingimarsson inside the area. Both teams continued to push forward after the break but, although City had more possession, it was Reading who were attacking with more purpose.

Second season syndrome could be defined as a club not needing to prove anything once they have survived their first campaign in the top flight. If that is true, Reading need not worry about suffering its symptoms because they have players with an antidote.
Alyson Rudd, The Times

The significance of this result could be judged by the jovial nature of Reading's usually downbeat manager, Steve Coppell, after the final whistle signalled a second consecutive win and brought out the comedian in him. On hearing that the Republic of Ireland's No2, Marco Tardelli, had been in attendance, Coppell reminisced about the time he faced the Italian in a Cup-Winners' Cup tie between Manchester United and Juventus. "Tardelli was the first player who ever man-marked me," Coppell said. "I still have his signature on my arse." Coppell had every right to feel uplifted. What Reading lacked in fluidity they made up for in spirit... Long was magnificent and perhaps best personifies Reading's revival. Long was one of three Irishmen who started for Reading and all three - Doyle and Stephen Hunt were the others -showed high levels of mental fortitude. "It was nice to put in a win in front of them," said Doyle. "It's just a good job they did not see us three weeks ago."
Sachin Nakrani, The Guardian