MATCH REPORT: 2005/2006 Season

Reading: -
Watford: -
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 23,724

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 READING 38 90 +56
2 Sheff Utd 38 75 +25
3 Leeds 37 70 +22
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Oster (Hunt 76), Harper, Gunnarsson, Convey, Kitson, Doyle. Subs Not Used: Stack, Halls, Makin, Long.
Watford: Foster, Doyley, Stewart, Mackay, DeMerit, Eagles, Mahon, Spring, McNamee (King 45), Young (Bangura 83), Henderson. Subs Not Used: Chamberlain, Chambers, Carlisle.
Reading: Convey, Gunnarsson.
Watford: -
Referee: S Tanner (Somerset).

The most significant outcome of the match was that Watford dropped two points. With closest rivals Sheffield United losing at Coventry, and Leeds held to a draw at home to Norwich, Reading took a huge step towards the Premiership even though they failed to win.

Watford looked as if they were content to take a point and just about deserved it although Reading created far more clear cut chances. The Royals dominated the game for long spells, but it was the sort of game where Little was needed to open up a very well organised and disciplined Watford defence. Watford never really looked like breaking down Reading's defence and few attempts on goal most of which were woeful long range efforts.

Convey and Oster had chances in the early stages of the game but their reluctance to shoot meant the chances were not converted. Sonko almost got on the end of a cross which was eventually hacked off the line. Kitson also delayed his shot when in a good position, carried the ball wide and then made a hash of his shot. Doyle managed to get behind the defence and appeared to be fouled but this referee who was fussy and missed many obvious fouls was unmoved by the appeals. Kitson slipped the ball past the keeper in the closing minutes of the first half and Doyle followed up only to see his shot from an acute angle blocked on the line. Reading should have gone in at half time with at least a one goal lead.

Watford enjoyed more possession in the second half with Henderson battering away at the Royals defence, but basically they lacked any real quality in their attacking play. They competed well but they were not the best footballing side I've seen visit the Madjeski this season. Oster began well but the fans eventually lost patience with him. Steve Coppell defended him in his post match interview with some justification. He is good on the ball but he often tries to over complicate things when a simple more direct pass would be more effective. Gunnarsson on the other hand once more demonstrated why I would select him ahead of Sidwell. His passing and strength in possession were crucial in enabling Reading to control the game in midfield today. Shorey on occasions today was superb on the ball. His only flaw is his reluctance to shoot when his direct running and outstanding ball control takes him into the penalty area.

At no point in today's game did Reading look in trouble. Even though their finishing was not sharp as usual they looked confident and more likely to win. Watford worked hard but looked wary of Reading's attacking potential. No team can really concentrate on attack with Doyle and Convey always likely to pounce on the break. With Little and Sidwell coming back we can now look forward to the last lap of a magnificent season which must surely include not only promotion but the Championship title. I keep looking at the league table on Teletext because I still can't believe how far ahead we are!
John Wells


It really does make you realise what a huge achievement both physically and mentally, it is to not only win promotion from this league but also win the actual thing and be crowned champions. Thirty eight games gone and still with eight to go Reading FC reach the physiological ninety point mark and only once in modern times have a team (Sunderland) failed to gain promotion with ninety points to the so called promised land. This game against Watford was always going to be a tough one as will every game from here on in to the end of the season and though we had by far the better chances in the end a draw was probably the fair result and probably one which both teams were happy especially with Leeds and the poor old Blades slipping up again. Just imagine being a Sheffield Utd supporter at the moment, that's normally us, but not this time. Watford played a very direct route one game and on the whole were very average I thought, but with the midfield being stifled neither team was able to pass the ball much. The defence again were magnificent and Shorey, Murty, Sonko and the unflappable underrated super super Iceman Ingimarsson had great games. We've been quite lucky with injuries this season and it's a sad blessing that injuries to Little, Sidwell and poor Lita have come so late in the season. Oh how we miss Little, the side just does not have the balance, width or flow without him. Poor Oster had a nightmare of a game yesterday and frankly couldn't lace Little's boots yet alone replace him but that's maybe a bit unfair. Hunt looked far sharper when he came on and must be the first choice to start next week against Wolves if Little remains injured as looks likely. No problem replacing Superstar Sidwell as Gunny Gunnarsson had a great game and was my man of the match. Had it not been for the two off the line clearance one where all Sonko had to do was blow on the ball and we'd have run out comfortable winners , but a point it was as the Champions in waiting charge on. After the Preston game with typical useless littery skills I said the Fat Lady soon would not be singing, I course meant she soon WILL be singing, and maybe that will be at the Leicester game where promotion may mathematically be secured. I don't give a toss, we're up and we are going up as Champions so I'm going to enjoy every remaining second of this unbelievable season. Just a word about the video they showed just before kick off on the big screen, absolutely brilliant, great backing music, great filming, hairs on the back of your neck stuff. So much better than that Bring it On bollocks. Now we look forward to the Wolves game always a great one with a great atmosphere, just imagine what there so called fans with give to be in our position... Bring it On ;-) !! URRZZ
Nick Newbury

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