MATCH REPORT: 2006/2007 Season

26 August 2006: FA PREMIER LEAGUE
Reading: -
Wigan: Heskey (38 mins).
Half Time: 1-0
Attendance: 14,636

Pos Team P Pts GD
12 Wigan 2 3 +0
13 READING 3 3 -1
14 Newcastle 2 3 -1
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Ingimarsson, Sodje, Shorey, Ki-Hyeon (Hunt 69), Sidwell, Harper (Long 87), Convey (Oster 64), Doyle, Lita. Subs Not Used: Stack, Gunnarsson.
Wigan: Kirkland, Boyce, Hall, De Zeeuw, Baines, Valencia, Scharner, Landzaat (Kavanagh 78), McCulloch, Camara (Connolly 20), Heskey (Chimbonda 76). Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Jackson.
Reading: Ki-Hyeon, Sodje.
Wigan: Heskey, Scharner.
Referee: M Riley (W Yorkshire).

Having been spoilt all last season, it's a strange feeling suffering a second straight league defeat - something we avoided all of last season. This was Reading's first Premiership game where they failed to score and were also comfortably beaten. We were better than Middlesbrough and nearly matched Villa despite playing with ten men. However, Wigan comfortably won this game despite the scoreline showing a narrow victory. The Royals were without Sonko, missing after this sending off at Aston Villa, allowing Sodje to make his Premiership debut in the centre of defence. The Reading defence were to have a tough ride ahead of them. Reading struggled to prevent Wigan playing and the home side could have been ahead in the opening few minutes through Heskey. The same player then headed against the Reading crossbar from a corner as he continued to look strong up front. Heskey scored the only goal of the game as Wigan moved ahead before the half time break when a pass into the box was flicked on allowing Heskey to score. The pressure wasn't over and Reading would have been glad for half time. There was no faulting Reading's effort in the second half as Oster and Hunt came on to try and give some more options. The Royals were struggling to find a way through and the home side still looked more likely to seal the win with a second. However, the effort so nearly paid off in the last minute when Oster did well to cross to Lita. Lita found Kirkland in the Wigan goal up to the job to prevent the Royals snatching a point.


The most disappointing of our three performances so far and yet we still might have had a point. Lita had a golden chance in the 88th minute but Kirkland, who looked good all game, thwarted him. If we were going to score today it was going to be through Lita. Our wide men struggled with Convey being worryingly inconspicuous for much of the game. The real problem was that they were more powerful than us and there isn't much you can do about that unless you are at your best and passing the ball well. Today we weren't. Harps and Sidwell did not have their best games and Sol could not get the better of his full back. Basically they took one of their chances and we did not and so we lost. So who emerges with credit. All of them for effort. The player who made the difference for us was Oster. It was he who put in the best cross of the game (from our viewpoint) and he who seemed to have time on the ball. I suspect he may be given his chance next time with Bobby on the bench and he will have to do well because Little is about ready! Today was a reality check. We looked good against Villa but had to work hard and that may have counted against us today given that Wigan did not play, but we are not a strong side physically - thank goodness it wasn't Bolton today!
Ken C

There has never been any doubt in most Reading fans minds that this is going to be a tough season and we will possibly get beaten more times than we will win. However, we will learn and we will hopefully adapt. It was brilliant against Middlesbrough and we all know about the Villa game but I thought we might have got a point at Wigan. They are a big, hard and physical team and we just couldn't cope. We lacked a bit of ingenuity and I was disapointed in the way we kept pumping long balls down the park - their big and tall defenders dealt with them so easily every time. Everyone will say that Lita should have scored an equaliser and he probably should have, but in the end we were just not quite good enough. But of course we have only played 3 matches. We will beat other teams in the future and we will get enough points to stay in the Premiership, but we do need some new players which hopefully we will have by the time you read this. I have opted for all away tickets and so far it has been an adventure and I'm looking forward to visiting many new grounds with my Royals shirt on. Villa took ages to get to and home from. Apart from the result - I had a good day out in Wigan - if we ever go there again then make sure you get to The Anvil - everything a good pub should be. If you are going to away games then make sure you book your train tickets well in advance - you can get cheap prices if you get in quickly and make sure you have a copy of Stedders Guide to the Pubs in The Premiership - great reading and valuable information for all well-behaved away fans. Finally - Mark Lawrenson on BBC said the Royals were prime candidates to go straight down. Well if we ever needed a reason to play well and stay up then that is it. Come on URZ -just to prove the pundits wrong....
Dave McKerchar

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