MATCH REPORT: 2004/2005 Season

Reading: Kitson (76 mins, 82 mins, penalty).
Sunderland: Arca (52 mins).
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 34,237

Pos Team P Pts GD
5 Derby 41 67 +11
6 READING 42 67 +11
7 West Ham 41 65 +9
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Ingimarsson (Keown, 56 mins), Sonko, Shorey, Harper, Sidwell, Newman (Ferdinand, 66 mins), Brooker, Kitson, Forster. Subs not used: Young, Hughes, Morgan.
Sunderland: Myhre (Ingham, 45 mins), Wright, Caldwell, Breen, McCartney, Lawrence (Whitley, 70 mins), Whitehead, Robinson, Arca, Stewart, Brown (Deane, 77 mins) Subs not used: Elliott, Collins.
Reading: Sidwell (21 mins).
Sunderland: Brown (45 mins), Wright (54 mins), Robinson (69 mins).
Referee: L Mason.

Reading pulled off a massive result this afternoon with a shock victory over table-toppers Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. In front of the biggest crowd to watch Reading this season, and the Sky TV cameras, the Royals once again came back from a goal behind to score two late goals to make it four wins from six games. Sunderland started the game firm favourites after winning eight straight league games in a row to take them clear at the top of the Championship. The home side had previously lost only two league games at home all season, and got off to the more positive start.

Reading had clearly come to play a cautious game and were content to soak up Sunderland's early possession. Marcus Hahnemann had another excellent game as he came steaming off his line to make two crucial saves when Sunderland twice broke through to go one-on-one with the keeper. Although Sunderland were restricted to just a few shooting opportunities they nearly squeezed ahead with an effort that dipped to hit the crossbar. However, Reading continued to frustrate Sunderland with some decent defending until Ingimarsson made a rare mistake seven minutes into the second half when he failed to clear. The ball was crossed from the right and found Murty caught between two players, allowing a straight forward far post header to put Sunderland a goal up.

Once again Coppell made some inspired substitutions to turn the game around. This time he opted for experience with Keown replacing Ingimarsson and Ferdinand replacing Newman as Reading adopted a more forward thinking game. Ferdinand was quickly involved, as Reading started to dominate the game after Sunderland's earlier superiority. Sunderland became pinned in their own half with Reading desperate to take something from the game. The effort paid off with quarter of an hour to go when Forster and Kitson paired up to bundle the ball through the centre of the defence before Kitson got his leg on it to guide it home. Reading were now clearly on top and the winner came after Steve Sidwell burst into the area and was taken down for a penalty. Kitson blasted his spot kick, low to the left of the keeper for his second of the game and to seal an amazing 2-1 victory against the odds.

Reading's return to form couldn't have come at a better time with just four games of the season remaining. Reading's rivals - Preston, Derby, West Ham and Sheffield United - all also picked up wins to keep it tighter than ever for the play-off places.


A tremendous result that takes your breath away. Like may fans watched the game in the pub and following the Sunderland barrage in the first half, would have jumped at 0-0 full time, but who'd have thought we'd come away with the three points. After Sunderland took the lead rather than the heads going down we seemed to be spurred on and really had a go. So pleasing to see and I don't think anybody would deny us the precious three points. All the lads played well with Harper and Sidwell shining for me in midfield and working their socks off. With all our other rivals winning the result is even more special but you'd have thought one or two have them would have at least drawn, but was not to be. Still they have to catch us and nothing, absolutely nothing other than a win against a doomed Forest next saturday will do as the season comes to an exciting end. Confidence is the key to any success in sport and going to Sunderland and winning is the biggest boost everybody connected with Reading FC could expect. In theory win can beat anybody in this league now where it may be, on we go... URRZZZ.
Nick Newbury

Two games in a row now Reading have come back from a goal down to claim a vital win. As with the Millwall game, things looked pretty bleak when the opposition went 1-0 up. But again, as with the Millwall match, the substitutions helped to turn things around & the team to get the 3 points. Having been critical about Coppell's 'changes' in the Sheff Utd match, I have to admit his subs in both the Millwall & Sunderland game proved to be spot on, even putting Keown on was vindicated on Saturday by the positive affect he had on a defence that was starting to creak a little. With our main rivals all winning, these 2 results could well prove vital, especially the win at Sunderland as I'm sure no-one expected Reading to up there & return with all 3 points. Credit must go to the players & management for achieving that. However, they must make sure not to make the same old mistake of dropping points to one of the lower teams when Forest come to town. COME ON.......
Caversham Royal

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