MATCH REPORT: 2003/2004 Season

Reading: -
Rotherham United:
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 14,047

DIVISION ONE  25 Aug 2003
Pos Team P Pts GD
2 West Brom 4 9 2
3 READING 4 8 4
4 Stoke City 3 7 4
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Williams, Brown, Murray (Daley 73), Sidwell, Harper, Hughes (Butler 67), Goater (Tyson 58), Forster. Subs not used: Ashdown, Mackie.
Rotherham United:
Pollitt, Scott, Minto, Swailes, McIntosh, Sedgwick, Mullin, Talbot, Monkhouse (Hurst 81), Byfield, Richard Barker. Subs not used: Jones, Robins, Warne, Daws.
Reading: Murray.
Rotherham United:
Mullin, Sedgwick, Talbot.
Referee: D R Crick (Worcester Park)

Reading struggled to find a way past Rotherham United at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon as the two teams played out a 0-0 draw in front of the Sky TV cameras. The result saw Reading continue their unbeaten start to the season but the Royals will be disappointed at their inability to find the back of the net. Reading got off to a good start and looked likely to be on their way to the three points when Steve Sidwell forced an early save from the Rotherham keeper after an excellent Reading move.

Reading continued to look the most likely team with a decent opening period - TV replays later showed that we should have won a penalty on twenty minutes when Forster was taken down in the area. Nicky Shorey put in a great shot from distance that curved all the way as it flew just over the crossbar with keeper otherwise beaten. At half time Reading had enjoyed four shots with no reply from Rotherham - and the pattern continued throughout the second half with the visitors restricting Reading to long-range efforts. The Royals struggled to increase the tempo of the game and started to rely on long balls that reaped little result.

Tyson was introduced as Reading changed to a 4-5-1 formation, and then Butler and Daley came off the bench as Reading changed tactics again. Reading certainly had the most of an un-exciting 0-0 draw but Rotherham deserve credit for a strong display against the Royals who have had no problem hitting the target so far this season. Rotherham safely held on and even threatened to take the points themselves with Hahnemann needing to make a save in the closing minutes of the game.

Following report from John Wells
Reading started this game full of confidence and in the opening minutes looked likely to make an early breakthrough. A direct run by Forster in the second minute put the visitors on the back foot and Goater set up Sidwell for a good strike from outside the area which was well saved by Pollitt. Apart from a long range effort from Shorey that was about as close as the Royals came to scoring.

Typically Rotherham were well organised and determined, and eventually got what they came for - an away point. They had little to offer and Hahnemann didn't have much to do apart from gather deep crosses until he was forced to block a shot near the end. If Rotherham had scored it would, as even Ronnie Moore admitted, have been an injustice.

Reading looked weary in the second half with Murty, Goater and Murray in particular looking a bit jaded. Murray drifted infield far too often in the first half. The lack of width made the job of breaking down a resolute Rotherham defence even more difficult. Pardew did his best to freshen up the attack by bringing on Tyson, Butler and Daley, but they made very little difference. I'd like to see a bit more of Daley. He tried a bit too hard to make an impression at first but looks to have pace and the ability to take players on. Tyson on the other hand is still looking very raw indeed and not quite ready to play at this level.

Reading were clearly the better side and I would not be at all surprised if they beat the Millers on their own ground later in the season. We have made a good start and today's performance was merely below par rather than poor. We have yet to concede a goal at home and I feel sure the goals will come this year.
John Wells

worthing royal
We have eight points from four games. I think that this is about what we deserve, but possibly, we got them in the wrong matches. We should have won at Ipswich, and but for a tired, inept referee, we would have, although in my opinion, we were a little fortunate to get all three points on Saturday at Derby. We destroyed Forest, and itís probably best to forget the bore draw yesterday.
We are a better team than last season though. Pards continues to sign players of real quality. I really donít think I can find a bad signing at all, since he took the job. Sidwell is an absolute steal. The only problem is, I doubt we will hold on to him if we donít get promotion this season. He is destined for the Premiership, and full international honours, with, or without Reading. Quite how Sky gave Fozzy man of the match yesterday is beyond me. Sidwell was far and away the best player on the park.
Yesterday, to keep it brief, was pretty awful. It reminded me of seasons gone by, when we were totally unable to break down teams who came to Reading intent on resolute defending. Rotherham got what they came for, and we had no answer to their negative approach. I worry about Harper. He huffs and puffs around, turning one way, then the other, but rarely makes a telling pass or contribution. Watson made the difference against Forest last week. It was a tragedy that he got injured at Derby, although I did see him leaving the Mad Stad yesterday, and he was walking freely.
We are very close to being the finished article, and we could conceivably do the unthinkable, and get promotion this season. We still need a play maker to unlock defensive formations though, and I am not sure Harper is the man. Fat and lazy as he was, I wonder what Caskey would have done with the talent that is there now, around him? We will never know. URRZZZ!!!
nick newbury
Once again the TV curse strikes, with the golden chance to go top of the league, a mixture of dogged defence from Rotherham, yet another bent corrupt cheating useless tosser of a so called referee and a lacklustre performance from the Royals saw a boring 0-0 draw. Keep the faith though, eight points from four games is a great start and if we average two points a game as we are so far, we'll win the championship! Early but very exciting days, the team has matured over the summer, and although hard to believe on todays performance is very close to being a very good football team. The Goat and Murray will prove to be great signings and this will be the coming of age for Sidwell, Harper and Forster. We are going to have to get used to teams coming to the Mad Stad and grinding out 0-0's, it's up to us to break them down, good teams do and that's the difference between the rest and the best. We'll win at Wombledon and the coming fixtures look very winnable, let's see how things stand at the end of September before we get too carried away. Tell you one thing, we'll go better than last season, how far not sure, happy days... .URZ.
caversham royal
Missed the Forest game due to being on holiday and wished I'd been away this week instead after what I saw..... This was something I've seen many times at the Mad Stad; unfashionable spoilers like Rotherham come to kick the crap out of us and put 9 men behind the ball every attack, and Reading find themselves unable to crack their resistance. Result; a coma-inducing afternoon where we never really looked like scoring. We still must learn to deal with the teams that will come to our 'mighty home' and play like this. Their performances up to this game have shown what worthwhile signings Murray & Goater are, so I won't comment on their respective quiet showings, but Sidwell amazes me. The only polite term I can think of to describe him last season is lightweight. This one?? Wow, different guy. He seemed to cover every inch of grass, was always willing to put his foot in, and then stick to his task until he'd won the ball pretty fearlessly. Was this the same guy I saw made to look so poor by the 'mighty' Paul Ince in the home league match vs Wolves last season?? What a transformation (this prob condemns him to be rubbish in the next few games!). And credit to Butler for his positive approach when he came on, I hope he keeps this up & gets some reward for his efforts this season. Despite this bore-draw, we DO look a much better team, and have made a good, solid start to the season, especially compared to last year. COME ON........
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