ASTON VILLA 1 READING 0 (Half Time: 1-0)
Aston Villa Scorers: Dublin (45 mins).
10 October 2001
Reading: Whitehead, Shorey, Viveash, Williams, Whitbread (Robinson 81), Rougier (Cureton 81), Harper, Parkinson (Henderson 70), Neil Smith, Butler, Forster. Subs not used: Ashdown, Casper.
Schmeichel, Delaney (Dublin 27), Alpay, Staunton, Wright, Hadji, Boateng,
Hendrie, Kachloul, Angel (Balaban 87), Ginola. Subs not used: Enckelman,
Reading can hold their heads up high after an impressive display at Villa Park that saw them match the home side - apart from the single goal. Aston Villa's strong line-up suggested they were determined to progress to the fourth round of the competition, but they seemed to only do the minimum on the pitch against a Reading side that worked hard all night with no reward. Reading provided some excellent entertainment for the large travelling support, Aston Villa on the other hand didn't do much to keep their home fans entertained. It was almost as if they were letting Reading have their moment - but made sure that they weren't going to be beaten. After going a goal behind in the first half we did all we could in the second half to find an equaliser. If we had got the equaliser then you couldn't help think that Villa would have stepped up a gear to cruelly take the game away from Reading once more. Having said that, there's no doubt Reading played very very well tonight and deserved at least a goal.
With Murty out injured Reading played a defence of Shorey, Viveash, Williams and Whitbread - with Shorey coming straight into the side at left back and Whitbread playing on the right. The new look defence looked good, with Shorey having a very solid and confident game. In midfield Harper looked a lot better and did well throughout the match, while Rougier continues to disappoint. We all know that Forster has more pace than Rougier, but Rougier could really take a few lessons. Rougier won the odd corner and some throws but never really threatened to break through after looking incapable of passing a man, and incapable of getting a cross in. Man of the match Nicky Forster was a class apart from Rougier, and had an excellent second half. Every time Forster got the ball you felt as if the equaliser was coming as he stormed past men at pace, put the ball in, and even got the odd shot in. Against a second division defence he'd have got a few penalties, scored a few goals, and set a few up. Unfortunately this was against the Aston Villa defence and they could cope - but only just.
Forster had Reading's best chance of the first half after nearly creating a goal with his pace. Adrian Williams brought the ball out of defence excellently and passed a great ball through to Forster who ran onto it. Forster started off behind his marker, but soon outpaced him to collect the ball and run on goal. The resulting shot was just wide of the far post. A great effort, and the best of the half until Villa scored just before the break. Aston Villa had threatened from a couple of corners but had never got close to scoring until this one. The ball was played in from the left across goal and knocked immediately back in low when it was driven home from close range by Dublin. A quick goal, and the winning goal. At half time it seemed impossible to think Reading could come back from being a goal behind at Villa Park - however, we certainly gave it our best shot.
Villa had plenty of poor long range shots in the first half - and that's all they really had in the second half as Reading created the better chances. Villa were happy to play out time and take it easy, and a couple of their players were guilty of taking the piss a bit with their superior ball skills. Their moves always came to nothing know as they finished with a careless hoof, a shot straight at Whitehead, or a really poor shot that spun wide. Villa can clearly play great football, but tonight their shooting just wasn't there as they appeared to be lacking in serious concentration. They nearly added a second - but only after Whitehead slipped and recovered to pull off an excellent save with an outstreteched left hand.
Down the other end Reading were certainly concentrating on finding a break through and the equalising goal - and we never stopped looking for it, to our credit. Chances were few and far between against a solid defence looking to hang onto their single goal lead - but we could have scored. The best effort was from some good work by Harper down the left who crossed into the middle - Smith connected to put in a powerful header that needed an excellent save from Schmeichel to push it over the crossbar. Reading won a few corners but failed to penetrate deep into the box. Martin Butler did well to nip in front of Schmeichel to head the ball onwards - but there wasn't a Reading player in the middle to finish the job.
Reading went all out attack with Henderson and Cureton coming on - but it remained
Forster who looked the most dangerous and exciting player on the pitch. He cut
in time after time from the right and into the box, but his crosses just failed
to find a player. The equaliser never came. We might not have scored, but it
was still a massively improved performance from the Royals. If we play like
this against Swindon on Saturday we'll beat them with ease. But we're so inconsistant...
who knows what'll happen at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday?
Post Match Opinions
Just got in, 25 to 1....but well worth the trip!
A valiant 1-0 defeat to premiership Villa who once they went one up
always looked comfortable. At times they lorded it over the Royals, especially
Ginola, Angel and Hendrie.
The Royals can take a great deal of credit from this performance in
terms of effort, commitment and determination.
Went to the game and had a good time. Thought all the team played
well but a fellow Royal who was with our party cynically suggested that
Reading raised their game tonight in the hope of being spotted by scouts
for bigger clubs. Is there something wrong with Martin Butler. He just
doesn't seem the same player as last year. I think Butler needs to work
out his gremlins in the reserves and make Forster and Cureton the 1st
choice starting strikers. I agree with Graham, if they play with the committment
and passion they showed last night and against West Ham, we will beat
Swindon and anyone else in this division. Saturday will tell.
The dream is over, Villa toyed with the Royals last night don't be
We had the Spirit and Tenacity...they had David Ginola!
We got narrowly beaten by a Premier League team, who were playing
at home. Rob S says Pardew must go. Muppet. What would that achieve?
My Villla supporting friend said before the game, I don't care what
happens, just not one - nil Dublin. It was, but also wasn't. Reading were
excellent and so were the fans. I was forced to sit in the Holt end to
watch the game so I was really able to appreciate the noise, well done
lads! However I would like make three points:
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