MATCH REPORT: 2007/2008 Season

26 August 2008: LEAGUE CUP ROUND 2
Reading: Noel Hunt (11 mins), Stephen Hunt (15 mins), Pearce (54 mins), Karacan (55 mins), Henry (76 mins).
Luton: Charles (80 mins).
Half Time: 2-0
Attendance: 7,498

Pos Team P Pts GD
11 Sheff Wed 3 4 0
12 READING 3 4 0
13 Watford 3 4 0
Reading: Federici, Kelly, Pearce, Duberry (Ingimarsson 21), Golbourne, Henry, Karacan, Harper (Sigurdsson 59), Stephen Hunt, Noel Hunt, Long (Mooney 59). Subs Not Used: Andersen, Kebe, Convey, Rosenior.
Luton: Logan, Gnakpa, Keane, Pilkington, Davis (Jarvis 46), Plummer, Nicholls, Watson, Emanuel, Parkin (Charles 64), Martin (Hall 82). Subs Not Used: Brill, Roper, Asafu-Adjaye, Spillane.
Reading: Noel Hunt.
Luton: Martin.
Ref: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire).
It was a real pleasure to watch a youthful Reading side sweep aside an admittedly poor Luton side to progress to the Third Round of the Carling Cup. Reading's home grown youngsters seized their opportunity to impress Steve Coppell with some crisp passing and movement to create numerous scoring opportunities. New signing Noel Hunt was also in impressive form, opening the scoring with a firm header from his brother's cross and creating three of the other four goals with perfectly weighted crosses. However for all the fine attacking play it was Alex Pearce who is the most likely candidate fro a starting place in the next league fixture. He hardly put a foot wrong, looked very assured in possession, and capped it all with powerfully headed goal from a corner. With Sonko suspended and Duberry limping off with a calf strain in the first half Coppell may not have any choice.

It was good to see the Reading fans give former Royal Kevin Watson a generous round of applause before the kick off. The Reading players were in less charitable mood rattling in two goals in the opening quarter of an hour. Henry set the tone wriggling through two Luton players in midfield and racing through to set Long up with a clear run on goal. Unfortunately Long lifted a it over the bar with only the 'keeper to beat. Within the space of four minutes Noel and Steven Hunt had combined twice to put Reading in the driving seat. The second goal was particularly well constructed with Harper and Henry exchanging passes to release Noel Hunt to cross for his brother to slide the ball home. In spite of their dominance Federici was forced to make a double save on the stroke of half time to keep out Martin's volley.

Reading killed the game off within ten minutes of the restart. Pearce's header from Henry's corner and Karacan slid in to covert Noel Hunt's cross. From such a comfortable position Reading were able to experiment further bringing on Mooney for Long and Sigurdsson for Harper. The final nail in Luton's coffin came in the seventy sixth minute when everyone switched off apart from the tireless Noel Hunt who ran onto a through ball and picked out an unmarked Henry for a tap in. Luton grabbed a scrappy consolation goal ten minutes from time which probably should not have been allowed after Kelly had his arm dislocated in a challenge which had nothing to do with the ball, but the referee failed to acknowledge the infringement. The decision was in keeping with a poor performance from the man in charge. He also failed to punish several bookable offences by Luton players saving his card to pounce on Noel hunt late in the second half much to the annoyance of the home fans.

It is unlikely that many of tonight's team will immediately break into the first team, but what they might have earned, if Coppell keeps to his policy in recent seasons, is the opportunity to prove themselves against tougher opposition in the next round. It was announced before the kick off that left back Chris Armstrong had been signed from Sheffield United. With Scott Goldbourne looking very good at left back, that position looks well covered now. Well that was fun. Now back to the real business on Saturday and the unwelcome return of Neil Warnock.


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