Hob Nob Match Report

8 August 1998
Wrexham 3 Reading 0


van der Kwaak, Booty, Legg, Brebner, Davies, Kromheer, Crawford (Williams), Caskey, McIntyre, Gray, Lambert (Saar).
Sub (not used): Howie.

Legg (for being able to find the net)

Not the start to the season we were after. A trip to Wrexham was never going to be an easy tie - however everyone would have been hoping for something from the game. Wrexham deserved the win. And they probably deserved to win by the three goal margin. The home side outplayed the Royals; who failed to ever look dangerous, and were guilty of some horrendous mistakes at the back. It was a debut that van der Kwaak will quickly want to forget. It was a start to the season that we just have to hope hasn't set a continuing pattern of play.

Here's Richard Bishop's view:

Good bits:
* Mass Sarr - looked like a typical African player - quite a lazy style (and don't expect him to produce lightning runs down the wing a la Gilkes), but excellent ball-control and loads of tricky skills (one that particularly sticks in the mind was when he was trapped facing the corner flag with 3 Wrexham defenders around him, and he scooped the ball up with his foot, hooked it over the heads of the defenders, with his foot seemingly glued to the ball all the way, and it only failed to come off because the linesman decided that he'd just hooked it out of play).
* Martin Williams - looked like the nearest thing we've got to an out-and-out striker when he came on.
* The new (?) fanzine "Uri you Bender" (well, I haven't seen it before, anyway!) - a good read - look out for it.
* The new Dutch defender Kromheer - looked very solid, strong in the tackle and composed on the ball.

Bad bits:
* The result!
* Van der Kwaak - never attempted to catch the ball from crosses - always punched - this led directly to the first goal. And what on earth was he doing with the second goal? I was up the other end, so didn't get a clear view of what happened, but he appeared to just let Legg's backpass just roll straight past him. Altogether now: "Are you Shepherd in disguise? Are you Shepherd in disguise?"
* No Parkinson - we really needed him in midfield.
* The formation - we seemed to be playing 4-6-0 for most of the game.
* The lack of a recognised goalscorer in the team - no-one even looked like scoring until Sarr and Williams came on and had a couple of half chances.
* The choice of Howie as one of the subs - surely you've got to have 3 outfield players on the bench unless your keeper is only half-fit and you've got no other option. Once Sarr and Williams had come on, any injury would have meant Howie having to come on as an outfield player!
* The lack of urgency in the play - even when we were 2-0 down. We had players out on the wings, and we stroked the ball around nicely, but the wingers just played the ball back into the centre most of the time, and no-one was prepared to run at the defence and take players on.
* The defence looked vulnerable to any attack with a bit of a cutting edge - but I'm sure they'll get that sorted out before long.

Interesting bits:
* No Asaba - surely this must mean that he's on his way out.
* No Primus - is he injured or have Barnsley been back in touch?
* We NEED to sign a proper goalscoring striker ASAP!

Here's some snippets from Clive Baskerville's Evening Post report:

Tommy Burnsí expensive array of talent found Brian Flynnís bargain basement team too hot to handle in a game which turned into a personal nightmare for keeper Peter van der Kwaak on his Royals debut... ...After a steady start, things began to go wrong for van der Kwaak when he failed to get distance on a punch and Karl Connolly lobbed in the first. Disappointment turned to disaster early in the second half when the 29-year-old completely missed a firmly struck angled back pass by Andy Legg and the ball ran through his legs and into the net. Although he had no chance with the third from Peter Ward, the damage was done...

Readingís side looked lightweight and lacked any punch up front. The midfield, although neat and tidy when in possession, were too easily hustled out of their stride and rarely won 50-50 challenges. Burns plumped for his favoured 4-5-1 system with second Dutchman Elroy Kromheer, a £150,00 signing from FC Zwolle, joining Gareth Davies at the heart of the defence. Kromheer, 28, formerly played for Volendam and Motherwell. New skipper Darren Caskey was flanked by Grant Brebner and Stuart Gray in centre midfield, while James Lambert and Jimmy Crawford patrolled the flanks. Jim McIntyre ploughed a lone furrow up front. Ex-York winger Graeme Murty, who cost £700,000, was left out after straining a hamstring in training. Others ruled out through injury were defender Linvoy Primus (thigh) and striker Robert Fleck (hamstring), while left out of the starting line-up were Jason Bowen and Phil Parkinson.

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