MATCH REPORT: 2003/2004 Season

24 October 2003: LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
Reading: Williams (7 mins), Forster (43 mins).
Sheffield United:
Ward (10 mins).
Half Time: 1-2
Attendance: 20,651

DIVISION ONE 24 Oct 2003
Pos Team P Pts GD
7 Norwich 14 25 +5
8 READING 15 24 +5
9 Millwall 15 23 +4
Reading: Hahnemann, Newman, Ingimarsson, Williams, Shorey, Murray, Sidwell, Harper, Salako, Hughes, Forster. Subs: Watson, Goater, Savage, Ashdown, Tyson.
Sheffield United:
Gerrard, Kozluk, Jagielka, Morgan, Whitlow, Ndlovu, Brown, McCall, Tonge, Ward, Lester. Subs: Armstrong, Montgomery, Peschisolido, Allison, Rankine.
Reading: -
Sheffield United:
Referee: S Tomlin (E Sussex)

Steve Coppell claimed his first away victory - at the first attempt - as the Royals frustrated Sheffield United with an excellent defensive performance to win 2-1 last night. After a poor performance against Walsall earlier in the week Reading bounced back with an all round impressive team showing to make it 3 wins from 4 for Coppell. The home side had a chance to go top of the table but instead Reading moved up to eighth - just three points behind United. The game got off to a frantic start with Reading taking the lead after seven minutes when Shorey's corner from the left was headed firmly home by Adrian Williams. United pulled level just three minutes later when Harper failed to block a cross and it was slid home at the far post. Sheffield United enjoyed most of the possession for the rest of the game but struggled to find a way through. The Royals grabbed a half time lead, against the run of play, with a quick break - Hahnemann played the ball out to Shorey who passed to Forster. Forster ran at the defence before firing in a superb shot from well outside the area that flew into the top corner of the net to make it 2-1 to the Royals. Reading's defence held firm throughout the second half to earn Reading the win with Ingimarsson making an excellent debut in the centre of defence alongside man of the match Adrian Williams.


As we were lurching from one traffic jam to another on the M1, I was beginning to regret my decision to go to the game. Why didn't I stay at home, and watch Sky? At 9.35 last night, I realised why. An away win at one of the best teams in the division was worth all the hassle of getting there. Two great goals, one from a corner! It's probably true that Hughsey blocked Adie's marker for the first, but it didn't take anything away from the header. A good equaliser from Sheffield, but we did not fall away as we had done prior to Coppell's arrival. One of the strikes of the season from Fozzie, and 2-1 up at halftime. The second half saw one of the best defensive displays I have witnessed from Reading in recent years. Sheffield passed the ball sweetly, and tried everything to break us down. They didn't really get through though, and the Royals defence held firm. At the final whistle, Warnock was jumping up and down like an an demented Mr Punch. Coppell on the other hand, was cool, calm, and totally controlled. A very warm feeling on a chilly night, and a Saturday with the job already done was the probable reason for his calmness. A thoroughly enjoyable trip, and the first signs that we have got the season back on track. I think this was the first game for some time where we were in control of what we set out to do. Sky will never take the place of a live away win, and even the memory of traffic jams can be erased when the final whistle brings three hard fought points. URRZZZ!
Kevin, Worthing Royal.

I don't know what was more entertaining, the 90 minutes on the field or Neil Warnock's post-match interview. "Snow White" berated the referee for failing to penalise Hughes’ blocking tactics for the first goal (what??), some supposed time wasting antics (what???) and the fact that the officials in someway contrived to deny the Blades a deserved victory (what ????), this despite the fact that the linesman had to replace his flag in the second half due to overuse in the first for some extra dubious offside decisions, almost all against Forster. The Yorkshire gob is always good value and indeed I admire his tenacity, spirit, flair and total bias for his team, in that unless you bleed Red and White and say 'ay up, you MUST be wrong or trying to wrong HIS club. Contrast that with Steve Coppell's measured, John Majorisk, deliberate comments made immediately after this stunning win. Feet on the ground, little emotion, well the lads had done the talking on the pitch for him, nuff said, Fossie, what a corker (best yet??), and a defensive display that was really Men against Boys, even 'arry Bassett (unbiased match summariser) was getting a touch of the "Warnocks" at the end, such was the effect of this Royals display. In someways I suppose, I secretly carve a manager like Warnock and Coppell rolled into one and SC would not have been my first choice for the traitors empty seat but thank god has proved me wrong almost immediately. If you can learn from your mistakes and raise your team to produce an away performance like that just 3 days after a home debacle that was Walsall then maybe less really is more (especially mouthwise) so let’s forget all the sh*te that has gone on for now the season has really started. Are you nervous yet in the EastEnd……? Urzzzzzz
Darren Hall

What can you say , this damn team never ceases to amaze , produce surprises and also install such emotional feelings . It may have been the Alomo for most of the game but what a tremendous defensive performance , I thought Eskimo Ingimarrwotsisname had a good debut and along side him a true epic colossus of a game from Ade Williams , awesome . Must mention Fossies goal , maybe just one of those a season but what a time to score it and what a goal . That's supporting Reading for you , lose at home to Walsall the win away at arguably one of the toughest away games all season . Credit to Coppell for dropping Goater who really wasn't missed . Hopefully he'll bounce back but I have my doubts . I've a feeling the Iceman may well be the start of Copp's changes , look out for new players arriving . Great win , great night , why am I still shaking my head ?.............URZ !!
Nick Newbury

Bloody brilliant. My Option Two (see Walsall report) now looking better. Dropping Goater improved things - we had a man over in midfield and for the first time I can remember we HASSLED the opposition. Still worried about USA who looked bloody anxious and didn't always come for balls or pick up when he should. Williams magnificent. Ingwotsit looks good at holding their forwards down (using their own shirts). Still think Harper is a worry and would prefer Watson. Our midfield sometimes needs to stop and think. Too many times in second half we just punted upfield when we could have passed it around a bit. Never mind. Bloody brilliant. Bring on Huddersfield. If we play like that I promise to join in the chants.
Tails of Woodley

As I got to the ground, I was very worried we were gonna get hammered. Yet as the match started,I was in shock. A Reading performence that I could be proud of. Then it was our day,we scored from a corner. Oh Adie what a header,and well done to Hughesy,you deserve praise for your "help". Shame Neil Warnock didn't see it that way,oh well hahahaha But Reading's record of no clean sheets since August carried on as we conceaded yet another stupid goal.But I'm certain with Ivar about he will get more match practice and his class will show even more. But then we seen some good goals like the counter attack at Millwall last season compared to Hughesy's beauty against QPR but this was the best individual goal.Forster passed 1...2...3... Ball in the air>Back of the net! Awesome. Time to do some dancing to Tom Hark. Half time approached and I was satisfied. Then as the 2nd half came, I had that worrying feeling of here we go again, more crap defending and we would lose. How wrong was I!! We were sound with Adie and Ivar our rocks, Ricky Newman and Nick Shorey keeping Tonge and Ndlovu from making the impact they are capable of and we saw James Harper defend and tackle. Brillant. Sidwell was after that ball as if it was a Dog after a stick and Hughesy was constantly using his pace.Salako and Murray protected the full backs and Forster was awesome up front. Overall,a brillant team performence and roll on Huddesfield
Mark Sugar, Reading

Saw this on Sky. After the recent 'performances', I wouldn't have given us an earthly with this one, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The midfield was much improved, with Harper a much better showing (he actually got forward & had some decent SHOTS on goal), Forster was also a whole lot better than before (this had a lot to do with him playing on his own I'm sure as he's incapable of sharing the striking role with anyone other than himself - wonderful goal though, can't take that away from him), and the effort & commitment as a team was there for all to see. The only criticism I would level was that we defended a bit too deep in the 2nd half at times & invited pressure. However, RFC came to one of the top teams in the league on the back of some woeful games, turned in a very solid & committed team performance, & came away with 3 points. I hope this is a sign of things to come. COME ON....
Caversham Royal.

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