MATCH REPORT: 2002/2003 Season

Reading: -
Miller (44 mins)
Half Time: 0-1
Attendance: 19,731

DIVISION ONE  12 Mar 2003
Pos Team P Pts GD
3 Sheff Utd 34 61 +17
4 READING 36 61 +11
5 Nottm F 35 59 +26
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Brown, Mackie, Chadwick, Hughes, Harper (Watson 79), Sidwell (Salako 64), Tyson (Henderson 64), Forster. Subs not used: Ashdown, Viveash.
Murray, Irwin, Naylor, Butler, Lescott, Newton, Rae, Cameron (Clyde 89), Kennedy, Blake (Proudlock 79), Miller (Sturridge 87). Subs not used: Oakes, Cooper.
Reading: None.
Referee: Richard Beeby (Northampton)

We have now reached the stage of the season where every point is much more keenly contested, and tonight's game was a good indication of how tough it is going to be for everyone in the play-off zone. The Royals played superbly for the opening twenty minutes and could have scored three or four goals as they forced Wolves into some desperate defending. The visitors however weathered the storm and gradually eased their way into the game, and the goal they scored just before half time was enough to strengthen their claim for a play-off spot and send Reading down to fourth place.

Tyson got the home crowd going with a strong run into the heart of the Wolves defence in the first minute and a Wolves defender just managed to hook the ball away as the young forward shaped to shoot. Moments later he rattled the crossbar with a rasping drive following a cleverly worked free kick. The pace a the game was frantic and Reading were certainly creating more chances than their opponents. Murray made a fine save from a Chadwick header following a great cross from Shorey. Forster got behind the defence and whipped in a dangerous cross that Wolves did well to cut out. On sixteen minutes Forster beat the offside trap and with several better options in the box elected to try to beat Murray from an acute angle and sent his shot just wide of the far post.

Both sides were trying to get the ball forward quickly and pressurise the opposing defences but moves were breaking down as both teams closed down passing options quickly. Miller also found himself with a good opportunity on twenty minutes but Hahnemann stayed on his feet and saved with his face. As half time approached Wolves were looking more threatening. They took the lead on forty-four minutes when Miller reacted quickest to a shot which bounced back off the post leaving Hahnemann stranded and prodded the ball into an unguarded net.

There were fewer clear cut openings in the second half, with the two best efforts coming from Reading's central defenders, both headers from corners. Murray had to make a great save to tip over Brown's header from a well flighted corner from Harper and then Mackie had an effort cleared off the line with Murray beaten. As the game wore on Reading's chances of scoring looked increasingly unlikely and with Wolves looking very strong in the centre of defence the introduction of Henderson didn't offer much of a threat either. Nothing much seemed to be gained from taking off Harper and Sidwell. Salako flitted about but was not very incisive. Chadwick found it difficult to get going mainly due the speed in which the Wolves midfield and defence closed in on him as soon as he received the ball, and Hughes didn't really contribute much.

Wolves are a good side although I felt Reading could have beaten them. Miller looked very sharp, Murray had good game in goal, and they competed well throughout the side. Blake performed like a pantomime character, so it was fitting that he should exit before the end responding to a crescendo of boos with an obscene gesture and an antagonistically slow swagger towards the bench. It was quite an entertaining game but I was in no mood to appreciate it in the end because what I had really come to see was Reading pick up three points. Perhaps Palace will oblige on Saturday but I don't think it is going to be easy.
Report by John Wells.

crothorne royal
My fellow Royals - Don't panic! Yes, tonight was disappointing but I have seen far worse performances against far worse sides by Reading at The Mad Stad. You have to consider we could have had 4 goals in 20 minutes in the first half. Pards was right to pick out Alex Rae as their 'linchpin' he was everywhere. Our midfield weren't hungry enough for it and I thought Tyson, Chadwick and particularly Hughes had shockers tonight. Fair play to Pards for bringing on Darius with 25 minutes to go but he didn't really unsettle a very solid Wolves defence. Let's be honest they played very well tonight. Finally, C.Palace on Sat. Important to get back to winning ways. We don't want a repeat of last season's run in, my nerves wont stand up to it. One tiny criticism of a fabulous season thus far... We MUST start scoring more goals. Come on URZZ
nick newbury
That was so so disappointing, why is it we always play crap in the big games at home. We always beat Wolves, don't we! First ten minutes we must have all thought flipping heck, this is going to be an amazing night as we tore into Wolves with a mesmerizing pace and created a couple of great chances. Like most things in life you need a bit of luck and if Forsters shot had not crashed into the bar in the first minute who knows what would have happened but hit the bar it did, and the rest of the game slowly turned into a nightmare. We were truly dreadful. Wolves totally dominated midfield and in the end thoroughly deserved their victory. I can't think of one Royals player that stood out last night, possibly Yankee Doodle Dandy in goal with a couple of good block saves, but he too was awful with his hoofing the ball up field and I thought was flapping for their goal and could have done better. It shows how poorly we played in midfield cause Pards took three of them off. Of course they have done fantastic in recent games but last night was probably a good learning curve from far more experienced players. Wolves passed better, worked harder and never really looked troubled , just like we do normally away from home. Still, if we beat Palace and Wolves lose at Pompey Saturday, back to where were... hopefully just a blip in what is still a brilliant season... UURRZZ
caversham royal
We saw the good and bad of the present midfield tonight. In the first 20mins or so, the good; quick incisive passing, good movement, lots of pace. In much of the rest of the game the bad; no ball winners, lightweight, too easily muscled & hustled out of things (much like at Wimbledon), lacking in experience. When that experience finally arrived with Watson, Pardew inexplicably takes off our most industrious outlet in Harper. Surely Hughes or Chadwick, neither of which especially impressed, would have been better bets to swap.The youth and pace of the midfield can be our greatest asset, but the lack of steel and a wise head can also be a big weakness as was the case tonight. I hope this can be addressed before the Palace game. COME ON...
worthing royal
It was bound to happen really. As soon as you pull off a major coup, it blows up in your face. The wonderfully exhuberant teams announcer passed on Pard's fantastic message to the Reading faithfull before the game, that Chadwick was to stay for the season, (well, nearly all of it anyway), and the Man U midfielder responded by putting in one of the most inept displays of his career. Add to that, the fact that the rest of the midfield decided to try to emulate Chadwick's lacklustre performance, and, apart from the first 15 minutes, it was a pretty poor Reading effort.
I dont think we should have any more weekends off. We didnt play on the Saturday before Wimbledon, and missed the weekend before this massive game against Wolves. We lost both.
We did open brightly. We could have been 2 or 3 up in the first quarter of an hour. But we weren't. After that, we were second to the ball, and if we did win free headers, we nodded them gently back to the Wolves midfield. They, by comparison, found their men with ease. It was only one goal, and on the face of it, we could have got back into it. In reality though, I thought Wolves had us pretty well in their pockets for most of the second half. Two successive corners midway through, nearly created a goal for us, but after that, it was left to Blake and co to lie around on the pitch, running down the clock. A play off run in was always going to be tough. Although diappointed, let us remember that we are only getting depressed about possibly not going to the Premiership. Go back to August, and most of us thought we would be biting our fingernails by now, hoping to finish 4th from bottom, thereby avoiding the drop to the horrible world of Div 2 football. A win against Palace on Saturday, and we will be back on track. URZZZ!
thatcham royal
The first 20 minutes looked like a typical Reading v Wolves game. To be honest I thought we were going to slaughter them. We were opening them up at will and it looked like a matter of time before the goals poured in. Then as has been the case so many times this season, our midfield went AWOL. I can't fathom it. Tyson was always in the wrong place, never defending when needed, not available for attack. Sidwell seemed to want half an hour before playing each ball (he reminded me of Caskey at his worst) Hughes, running hard, but each run seemed pointless. Chadwick just looked like he was watching another game. Harper improved as the game wore on, so it seemed obvious that he should be subbed?
Our cluelessness was summed up when towards the end of the game we managed to string together 6 passes in the North/East corner, Salako had to run from the left all the way to the right side, stole the ball off the 4 Reading players who didn't seem to know what to do with it, ran at the box & whipped in a cross to 3 waiting players. Was he truly the only player who realised we should be attacking? It's a strange season. We don't draw anymore. If we are bad, we are awful. In the end Wolves totally deserved the 3 points, we deserved nothing.
On a side note, to the tossers in rows DD & EE in the North Stand I would like to comment (as I did last night) on your "support". Barracking & booing Forster for the whole game, hurling abuse at the nearest player, screaming obsenities at anything in a hooped shirt is not my idea of support. If that's the best you can do, fuck off and watch Swindon!
y24 east
How typical of Reading was last nights game. Big match, crucial points at stake, fantastic attendance, Chadwick's loan extended etc.etc. It's all set up to be a great evening, but alas NO. This after all is Reading. Thirty five years I've been watching them and so many times on the big occasion they flatter to deceive. Tonight was another prime example.
Could have been four up in the first 20 mins (should have been at least 2-0 by then). And that was really the end of it. Wolves worked us out. Rae bossed our midfield five virtually on his own and in Miller and Newton they had a couple of superb wide outlets who held the ball up superbly and brought their team mates into the game. Compare that with Chadwick and Tyson who were abysmal! Listening to Radio Berkshire on the way home there was much talk about the number of chances we created throughout the game. Well, apart from the first 20 mins I'm struggling to remember many more after that. Must think positive though, remember where we are in the table and what a great season we have had so far. Saturday gives us a chance to put things right. Come on URZ
wimbledon royal
A slightly strange game in that I expected more goals, although both teams had plenty of chances, and I thought we would dominate midfield, especially with Ince out; but no, we were generally poor in midfield. In fact rather a lot of our players struggled against Wolves who look very good; as good as Leicester even.
Still, for all that I enjoyed the match even though we constantly hoofed the ball. Lets face it, are we really good enough for the Premiership? I've seen us play 7 times this season, and I have to say NO. We are too inconsistent. If we do make it through, via the play-offs I presume now, then the squad will need substantial strenghening, and a big dose of consistency. In point of fact, I guess I would struggle to get tickets for games if we went up, and there's no way I'm forking out for a season ticket!!
wokingham royal
Many of the commenters have hit upon the reason we lost and I agree we shouldn't despair. The first 20 minutes were incredible. There were however some simple parts of the match that struck me (and I hope Pards shows the players the video of the match): The long kicks from Hahnemann were not working. Either so long that they went straight to his opposite number or we were out jumped. A variation, maybe building the play up was needed. He stopped shots wonderfully.
We dwelled on the ball and never seemed aware of Wolves players coming in (the crowd were continually shouting "man-on") and it seemed to take forever for the midfielders to decide where to pass, then very often with seemingly all the time in the world it was given away. Almost every tackle was won by Wolves. Although their goal was scored after a cross and rebound, most of the time they just ran straight through the middle of the field. Our midfield looked physically frail. Our speed on attack however, when we didn't stop to think, was amazing and definitely scared my Wolves mate who I went to the game with. After so many loses against the Royals he thought it was about time for their turn.
ken c
A terrific match with a thoroughly disappointing result that made you feel empty when you left the ground. The start had been so so different as we tore into Wolves with the pace that we have. Unfortunately one of the many football clichés turned out to be true yet again. If you don't score when you are on top you will live to regret it. A superb move early on saw Tyson hit the underside of the bar, a Chadwick header was a reasonable chance, Forster should have scored when clean through. The first twenty minutes were brilliant and what followed afterwards just failed to match those high standards. No team plays like that for a whole game, but it was the time to score. We could have been 3 up but then the greater experience of the Wolves midfield began to take over. Rae was everywhere and we gave the ball away more and more. We stopped turning their defence and Tyson and Chadwick became bit part players, I thought that overall Chadwick had a very disappointing game. Kennedy was showing what a good player he can be at this level and it was from his cross that the goal eventually came. I felt that had we held out to halftime we would have been OK. The goal seemed a scrappy affair, a not too distinctive shot came back off a post and there was Miller to knock it in.
The second half was more even but thought we shaded it. Both sides had chances, but both keepers played well. A save from Brown from a corner was superb whilst Marcus's positioning was excellent to thwart Wolves, but it never came. Henderson seemed to add little whilst Solako showed yet again that if you want to keep the ball then he is the best that we have. A desperately disappointing result but an encouraging performance. It is a young team and the first twenty minutes was a display that was wonderful to watch. What they have to learn is to how to play when everything isn't going quite as well. Credit must go to Wolves who played very well. I thought we deserved a point let's just get three on Saturday!
Got an opinion? E-Mail us at
Appropriate submissions will appear on match report pages

Quick Links:
  [Match Reports Index]   [Match Previews Index]   [Current League Table]

Link to Hob Nob Anyone? Home Page
Copyright Hob Nob Anyone? © 1994-2003

The Original Reading Football Club Internet Site