The joy of beating Mark McGhee's Wolves yet again! Fantastic! And what a way to do it in front of a capacity home crowd. I'm sure the lads planned to give them that lead just so they could crush them in injury time with an equalizer and then a winner! Yep, that's it, it was planned all along. And now the Royals have single-handedly destroyed Wolves automatic promotion hopes by taking six points off them this season and letting Barnsley taking six points off us. Cunning or what?
Mark McGhee must be a very pissed off man indeed.
And we deserved this win.
The first half was very uneventful, but the second more than made up for it. And I'd have paid the 8 quid just to see the last 5 minutes. I went through the full cycle of emotions during this game. Complete devestation after Wolves looked to have grabbed a winner against the run of play, and then complete ecstacy as the Royals looked to have grabbed a late draw. But when the winner from Archie's boot flew into the net words can not describe it. That was moment of the season by far.
The visit of McScum's Wolves saw the return of Michael Gilkes to Elm Park in an orange shirt. He got the response he deserved from the crowd. The South Bank applauded Gilksey and sung the old 'run, run, run, run Gilksey' as he warmed up on the pitch before the game. Gilkes applauded the crowd. What a hero. And then when the game got underway every touch of Gilkes was greeted with jeers. Exactly the way it should have been. Gilkes ended up playing an important part in the game - he played total shite all game - not even attempting to challange Hopkins in the Reading defence. I think he managed one tame cross all game. He then went off the pitch on a stretcher after being 'tackled' by Mickey Gooding - once again to the chants of 'run, run, run, run Gilksey' (who says we haven't got a sense of humour). With the mass of injury time caused by Gilkes we stuck the two vital goals away. Cheers Gilksey.
The Royals started the game with a bit of an injury crisis. Hunter, Bodin, and Dariusz still out of the defence, and Nogs and Morley missing up front. Adrian Williams and Simon Osbourn were both missing from the Wolves line up - leaving Gilkes and Curle to represent the Reading old boys.
The atmosphere was deafening as the South Bank 'welcomed' Mark McGhee back to Elm Park. The first half didn't really match the atmosphere as the crowd performed better than the players.
Quinn had Reading's best chance of the half letting rip with a powerful shot from outside the area that flew wide of the keeper's left post. Down the other end Mautone didn't have to make a save. Parkie went off just before the break and 'Swampy' Caskey came on. Meaker also started limping a bit but obviously nothing serious. Meaker seemed to be doing everything right but was let down by being a tad too slow. He moved into space on the right wing, got the ball, tried to push it though and was then sandwiched every time by two Wolves defenders. Lambert also seemed to be having problems and the Wolves defence cut out everything before we could even get a cross in. Thankfully our defence was also up to the job. Blatherwick looked quite convincing in a Macca kind of way. We took out everything in the air and put in some firm tackles to prevent the Wolves getting anywhere. Hopkins too looked solid enough - even taking out the almighty Gilksey. However Hopkins just can't pass the thing. We defended well and then the ball was just hoofed anywhere. I'm not sure Archie even touched the ball.
So 0-0 at half time.
When the second half got underway you could tell we'd remember that Wolves are shite and came out them as the crowd reminded Wolves that Barnsley were 2-0 up at half time. Meaker suddenly found that bit of speed he'd been missing and legged it right down to the line past his marker and put over a decent cross. Quinn was there at the far post but couldn't direct his header. But it was a sign - the Royals were definately up for this one. Moments later Reading could have taken the lead.
This time the chance came from the left as Lambert also found some pace to sneak in close to the line past his defender. Lambert knocked the ball across to Caskey in the middle and just inside the area. The shot looked to be going wide but swung in and hit the outside of the left post.
Now the game really got going with some end to end stuff. Wolves could have taken the lead as their forward broke free with just Mautone to beat. Mautone reacted instantly and legged it off the line - the shot cannoned off Mautone and to safety. Reading started to take control - passing the ball around and looking a bit more dangerous. Caskey tried another long range effort which flew over the bar.
Then Wolves took the lead with just 10 minutes of the game remaining. Wolves won a corner on the left. As the corner came in high and close to the goal line Mautone seemed to take a push and stumble. As a result he was unable to do anything to stop the ball being headed in on the line. 0-1 to Wolves. Devestation and Elm Park was silenced. I just couldn't believe it. Reading had really pulled themselves together and we looking the stronger team. But with time running out it wasn't looking good. Surely we couldn't lose to McGhee's scum. Giving him the satisfaction would be the worst thing possible. Play seemed to stop for ages as everything froze up. Gilkes was stretched off and a couple of players held things up, and then some substitutions. And then we were at the end of normal time. And the Royals were 0-1 down. Up front we were left with Glasgow - showing some skillful touches, and Lovell. A combined height of about 5 foot.
Then Reading won a free kick on the right - not far outside the area. Bernal took it and played it diagonally in along the ground. And then there was Archie Lovell inside the area on the left with just the keeper to beat. I watched my eyes fixed on Archie's boot. He swung his left leg back and the ball was in the right of the net with the keeper beaten! YES! We've only bloody equalized!! And then I'm about four rows further forward in the South Bank. The crowd goes mad and we're all singing our hearts out. But there's more to come!!
Deep into injury time - four minutes after the equalizer and Archie again finds himself with the ball inside the area. And before I know it the ball's gone and hit the back of the net!! 2-1 to the Royals!!! It's all a blur - all I can recall is the ball resting in the back of the net, and a mass of celebrations! It's almost the last kick of the game. The final whistle goes and once again the Royals have sent McGhee home with a defeat. Amazing. The best four minutes for quite some time; and time for a beer to soothe my throat. ;-)
And another report from a very happy Gary Deards:
First, can I say well played Gilksey - he was totally responsible for the 6 minutes of injury time (all valid and for the first time a ref actually played the correct amount of injury time). I never saw him on the floor as often when he played for the Royals and the reasons weren't all for bad tackles. Gilksey was putting himself about a bit in defence and his "injuries" were the result of purely committed tackles by both players involved. I don't know how bad the injury was at the end when he was carried off but the physio signalled for a stretcher and substitution straigt away. He didn't strap his legs or anything though.
Back to the game, W***** were diabolical and according to their fans near me they have played like that all season (they even reckon Bull wouldn't have helped). Their goal looked like a foul on Mautone to me as he didn't even jump for it and it apparently was out of play for a throw in before the ref gave a corner.
The reports on Radio 5 inferred that W***** were the better team and dominated the 2nd half - DID THEY GO TO THE SAME F***ING GAME - What about the 2 chances Quinn missed early 2nd half, the shots from Caskey (one of which missed the post)! etc Even Classic Gold said the same. EITHER I AM TOTALLY BIASED FOR THE ROYALS OR THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THEM BLOKES.
As for the performance, we were dreadful for the first 30 minutes, but improved when Parky went off and Caskey came on. I know I am a Caskey fan but with him out of the team we have no midfield guile. The Barnsley game cried out for him in midfield and I don't know why he was dropped a few games back (just as he seems to get a regular place and starts performing, they DROP him). Still, his performance should ensure he plays the remaining games (hopefully at the expense of Parky who, unfortunately, has just lost it at this level).
We improved again when Quinn went off and Glasgow replaced him. All 3"8' of him (it was funny seeing him try to outjump Curle!). He put himself about upfront and managed to shake the W***** defence out of their stride by niggling away at their ankles. Meaker had a good 2nd half and Lovell definitely got better after Quinn went off.
Mc**** ran on to the pitch after they scored punching the air and shaking his fists to the North Stand. I couldn't see his reaction at the end!! but he apparently shook hands with all the Reading players going into the tunnell and so is maybe trying to forget all the acrimony and get on with life. I hope that this will be the last of it and if he can shut up and not keep going on about us getting relegated, maybe we can turn down some of the vitriol. By the way, Mr Madj was also on the pitch at the end and so it obviously means something to him still.
Still, a f****** marvellous result which guarantees staying up (for the second year running against W*****) and maybe we can play some of the youngsters in the remaining games.
UP THE ROYALS!!!