(Theres a couple of reports from different people here...)

Division One

26 November 1994


Reading began the game without Adie Williams at the back and it showed. Also theloss of both Parkinson and Holsgrove in centre midfield was costly for Reading.

Reading began the game badly and got worse. The first half display was one of the worst seen at Elm Park since Mark McGhee took over. The back four looked as if they had never played together before and the offside trap was a joke. On at least four occassions in the first half they got it badly wrong with at least one player not pushing out and playing everyone onside.

Tranmere opened the scoring in about the 13th minute (ish!) with their first shot of the game. They had a free-kick on the edge of the area and with Reading failing to pick up Brannan (or someone) just outside the six yard box, who sttod there free for at least thirty seconds before the kick was taken, he had acres of space to blast the ball past Shaka. What made it even easier is that Bernal and Hopkins both pushed out whilst others stayed in. Even me mum could have scored that one. Reading got worse and their attempts to play the offside trap were not even of Swindon standard. It didnt help matters that the linesman also forgot that he was supposed to wave the flag occasionally. However he did remember after half- time when Reading were on the attack.

The second goal was extremely predictable with Reading playing as they used to under the guidance of Ian Porterfield, basically absolute CRAP. To make it worse Tranmere were hardly the best side you'll ever see and in fact were pretty poor although they were missing John Aldridge which was pretty lucky for Reading as otherwise they would have been further behind at half-time than the England first innings. In the 20th minute Tranmere once again decided to venture into Readings half and were again rewarded with a goal. Once more the defending was of a standard where you would actually add a Spurs defender to strengthen the defence. By this stage the crowd actually began to make some noise although generally directed at the linesman.

Bernal had lots of room and ball down the right but Reading failed to put any decent crosses in during the first half. The team wasnt even fighting for the ball with the exception of Hopkins (who tended to take man instead of ball) and Sir Jimmy up front. After his recent problems with sciatica he looked back to his best and was the most mobile I have seen him for 18 months. There werent really any other points of interest in a pretty drab first half and neither keeper had to make a save.

After half-time Reading re-shuffled with Hopkins going off, Jones moved to rightback and Bernal moved into midfield. The balance of the team looked a lot betterand Kerr began to make a lot of breaks down the left whilst Jones and Taylor linked well on the right. However it was Tranmere who almost added to their lead when immediately after the restart Nevin should have scored but his deflected shot looped just wide. After this it was the Alamo revisited and it was at least 20 mins until Tranmere launched another attack.

Wave after wave of attack from Reading opened up the Tranmere defence and it was only a matter of time. Quinn headed powerfully from a Kerr cross and had Nixon not been unable to get out of the way it would surely have gone in. Barnard, on loan form Chelsea and a local lad at heart, had a glorious chance which he blasted over from 7 yards. Quinn too missed one he would normally have buried and Mick Gooding somehow fired over with a volley. Barnard was unlucky with a second effort which again flew just over. In the 64th minute Reading got a corner on the left and it was swung in wickedly. Barnard poked it towards goal where Nixon could only push it out to Jones who from two yards away stuck it home. There was a general belief that Reading could now go on to get a point at least. However chance after chance went begging and you felt Tranmere could always get another.

It came with Reading pressing and a counter from Tranmere. Johnny Morrissey who was a pain in the arse for Reading all day played a great ball down the wing, it was crossed in and Ian Muir added his second of the game five minutes from time. After this Tranmere could have added a fourth but a weak shot allowed Shaka to save comfortably, notably his first save of the match. It is amazing that in a game where he let in three, the keeper rumoured to be saught after by Man.Utd and Newcastle, had probably his quietest match ever. Jamie Lambert came on with 15 mins to go and looked sharp and lively but could not produce a goal. A disappointing result against a very average team saw another home defeat, but you feel when Lovell especially comes back from injury the Royals will again begin to turn defeats into victories. The first half performance though was far too poor for this division and if we had been playing a better side or a fit John Aldridge it could have been a real drubbing.

There seems to be very little news still at Elm Park about the possibility of a new ground, it is needed urgently as are some new players. Reading cannot survivr in this division without a much stronger squad and loan players are not the answer. Madejski needs to pump some of his millions into the club quickly if the ambition of becoming a Premier club are to be realised. Unless he does this then it is hard to see Mark McGhee and Colin Lee staying for long, already there was a rumour in the nationals about McGhee taking over Villa, and the Celtic job has also been mentioned in the past. Reading have to show that they have the ambition they keep talking about and the only way to do this is with money.

That report by Rich.... and here another one...

Reading 1 Tranmere 3

Att. 7800 plus 2000 tax free

Reading completely pissed all over Tranmere and lost. (Sounds like last week?). The Reading defense, sensing a South-African rugby score decided it would be a little less embarrassing to Tranmere if they were given a two goal head start, so they parted in a manner that would make Bruce Grobbellar cringe and gave them two goals after twenty minutes.

The second half was just like the first twenty minutes - all Reading - and it was Tom Jones that got one back after a Quinn header was saved.

Lambert came on with 25 minutes left, and was presented with an open goal about 15 yards out. Sensing a lifetime of fame and fortune, he tried to break the net but instead managed to clear the Tilehurst End.

More c**p defending gave Tranmere their third.

.... If only the Yanks could get their way and raise the crossbar by a foot, the Reading would have won this one 8-3.

Man of match: Scott Taylor

Shots on/off target: Reading 246 Tranmere 3

Report By: JULIAN ROBINSON (SGLJMR@cardiff.ac.uk)

And this extra information comes from Neil Hardie....

The team on Saturday against Tranmere was:
Bernal (Lambert 76)
Hopkins (McPherson 45)

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