(Half Time: 2-0)
Reading Scorers: -
York Scorers: Richardson (4 mins), Potter (41 mins).
Date: 8 December 2001
Attendance: 3,161

Reading: Ashdown, Murty, Viveash (Mackie 69), Williams, Shorey, Hughes (Tyson 80), Jones, Harper, Rougier (Igoe 72), Cureton, Henderson. Subs not used: Malessa, Parkinson.

York: Fettis, Edmondson, Basham, Smith, Maley, Cooper, Brass, Richardson, Potter, Bullock, Proctor. Subs not used: Mathie, Howarth, Hocking, Stamp, O'Kane.

Bookings: Murty (Reading); Cooper, Proctor (York).
Referee: B Curson (Leicester)

Reading's third straight defeat gives a real indication that our good run of form has definately come to an end. And what a time to come to an end - just before our visit to table toppers Brighton next Friday. Pardew said after the Chesterfield defeat that we needed a couple of good games to set us up for that. In the two games that followed we've managed to exit two cup competitions against non-league and lower league opposition, scoring just one goal and letting in a massive six in the process. Going by the form book we should expect a serious thrashing at Brighton. But then this is Reading we're talking about, so it's impossible to know what's going to happen.

Reading were well beaten again today by a York City team struggling at the wrong end of the Third Division table. The home fans probably expected a stuffing themselves, but instead saw their team outplay the Royals in all departments. At the back Reading looked shakey and conceeded two first half goals through poor defending. That had already lost the game, but up front we failed to really test their goalkeeper, so could never get back in the game. Jamie Cureton was consistantly off-side all afternoon and never looked likely to find the net. Henderson also worked hard but failed to have a major impact. The game was really lost in the midfield where Reading lost out all too often and failed to build fast enough in the right direction. This was a poor game that was probably more suited to Division Three. York have an excuse, Reading do not. We deserved to lose.

With a number of injuries to the squad Reading started with a different line up yet again. Rougier, despite being crap in his last performance, made another start but playing further forward. With Murty returning from injury, Shorey and Murty were selected as full backs with Viveash and Williams in the centre of defence. Viveash was to limp off injured later in the game - another concern for Alan Pardew with Whitbread still out injured. With Reading trailing 0-2 in the second half Igoe and Tyson were both brought on to add something into Reading's attack. Both players showed some bright signs but were unable to seriously break through the York defence.

The Royals got off to the worst possible start - and never really recovered. After just four minutes we found ourselves a goal down. York broke down the left and found it all to easy to cross into the centre of the box where the ball was driven home. 0-1. Reading then spent most of the rest of the game in possession but doing nothing with it. We sent in a few crosses throughout the first half but never got on the end of them. Cureton found himself off-side more often than he found the ball. A couple of Rougier crosses nearly found Henderson but he just midded out on connecting. The ball was bouncing off all body parts of the York defence as they kept Reading out, but the pressure wasn't intense enough.

The game was over just before the break. Reading played for off-side and it never came as the ball was crossed into the box from the right. Ashdown got to it but could do nothing as the ball came out to an unmarked player who stuck it home for York's second of the game. Reading might have got something from the game if we'd scored at the start of the second half - and we might have done but Harper was denied by the post after hitting in a free-kick from the edge of the area. York spent most of the second half letting Reading have the ball, but shut the Royals out when they got close. Henderson had a couple of shots but failed to force a save out of the keeper. Henderson did look like he'd scored right at the end of the game when Murty crossed for Henderson to put it into the net, but the goal was ruled out for a foul as Henderson barged his way through. We might have been unlucky there, but we only had ourselves to blame for the defeat.

Last season the Royals were able to score two at Bootham Crescent as the sides played out a 2-2 draw. This season we went down 0-2. This could be the clearest sign yet that Reading aren't going forwards. Already the seven game winning streak is a distant memory. Looking at the results right now all that's visable is a three game losing streak. So who knows what'll happen at Brighton then.

Post Match Opinions

Anorak that I am, I have been on a North Yorkshire FA Cup odyssey that has so far taken in Pickering Town and Harrogate Railway Athletic in the qualifying rounds and Whitby Town in the first round. And so to a match between my adoptive home town (York) and my hometown (Reading). What a disappointment. A shapeless performance from Reading and a shapeless contest all round. It was one of those scrappy, going nowhere matches it was hard to concentrate on. Both sides were similarly woeful but York at least managed to take a couple of chances and so deserved to win.
In the first half Reading forced the York ‘keeper into making only one save of note. In the second, no doubt charged by a rollocking from the manager, Reading showed more spirit but the same lack of cohesion. Had a Harper free-kick gone in rather than hit the post it could all have been different. As it was, Murty – on his return to his home club – was booked, Viveash went off injured and then in injury time, after a shower of corners, we had a goal disallowed. You get the picture? This was my two-year-old daughter’s first ever match. She will see better – and end up supporting Pickering Town at this rate.

-- Paul Kirkwood, Reading Exile living near York.

Spirit, tenacity & flair....just 3 of the things that Reading lack at the moment.
We are so scared of shooting I am amazed we have got any goals, when we did shoot our players never struck the ball cleanly! The wingbacks had reasonable games although Murty was off to the pie stall for the first goal leaving a whole flank unguarded! Ashdown was a disappointment and I felt he was at fault for the second goal - from such a narrow angle he should have blocked the shot more fully and avoided it squirming across the goal.
Despite the huge amount of possession we had, we never really looked dangerous, although if one penalty had been given from a few viable shouts for handball we could have got going! We must have had about 20 corners in the match but made little/nothing from them.
'Adrians Wall' was definetely open to the public free of charge today with both guilty of standing off their strikers too much too often. York's 1st touch was poor and had we harrassed them more rather than giving them time to get control we would have been better and also would have won more 50/50 balls (York won about 90% of these) Despite the disappointment now all our focus is on the league and with Forster back, Salako back and Whitehead hopefully returning soon I am still clinging to some hope!
After a 500 mile trip from Edinburgh to see the Royals I was very disappointed but I'll be back at Huddersfield! So please can we have a better showing then?
The team needs a team building drinking session!

-- Tom, Edinburgh

I didn't travel to the game yesterday as I had other commitments, however I usually attend matches in the north as I am a royal exiled in Rochdale. the last match I attended was the Oldham game which we won but in all honesty we were woeful. My father-in-law supports Oldham and takes every opportunity to mention that Reading are the worst team to visit Boundary Park so far this year. He still cant believe that I took the fiver off him, well a bets a bet!
I've been listening to matches via Classic Gold on the internet and speaking to my dad regularly about the home games, as he is a season ticket holder and like every body else have enjoy the resurgence of the Royals fast attacking successful football.
The point I would like to make is that the return to form coincided with the arrivals of Salako and Watson. everybody has been raving about Salako and Im sure he is an asset to the team and should be signed, however for me the main difference seems to have been Watson. A midfielder who holds the ball up and controls midfield. most people who watch football realise that if you have a decent midfield you will be successful on the field of play. The midfield not only helps the defence it also supplies the forwards. So for me I would prefer to see Watson signed for Reading and feel the club should offer Rotherham the money that he is undoubtedly worth. I wonder why he's not been snapped up? No available funds? I don't think! Or is it because he not from Charlton or Palace?
Well I've finished ranting on. I would be interested to hear what others think who have seen the loan signings play as I realise that my comments may not be valued as I never saw them play together. But on a final note: York 2 Reading 0 - no Salako or Watson, poor defending and not enough pressure up front.

-- Paul Holton, Rochdale

Missed this one, thank God. Three defeats on the bounce, and Zamora and Hove Albion at the Withdean Theatre of Dreams on Friday. Let us hope that Micky Adams finally takes Brighton's goal machine to Leicester before that one. Everybody has bad runs in any season. Quite why Reading have to have another one so soon, is unfortunate, although not that surprising. I am not blaming poor Jamie Ashdown for the goals he has conceded, but it is surely wrong to throw him to the lions in the way Alan has, when until now, he has been kept in cotton wool in the reserves.
Confidence in the defence is built from the back, and Phil Whitehead gave the team this much needed attribute. How many times have we seen goalkeepers blooded at Reading, just when the team was settling down. A certain Nicky Colgan comes to mind. He is a great keeper now, but when we had him on loan from Chelsea a few seasons ago, he almost single handedly destroyed our season. I really think that we should have found an experienced keeper after Phil Whitehead's unfortunate injury. It would have been difficult to get a loan signing for the FA Cup as teams still in the competition would not have allowed their loanees to play for us, and teams that are out would have players cup tied. Had we beaten Chesterfield and Barnet, with the services of an established keeper however, we could have given Jamie the York game with both him and the defence in confident mood. He probably needs to go out on loan himself now, just to rebuild his confidence.
Still not scoring, conceding with aplomb, I will have to take a week away from Sussex after Friday night, if it goes the way I am now expecting. We need to shore it up, or our season will be over before Phil returns.

-- Kevin, Worthing Royal.

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