Home against Sheffield Utd
27 April 1996
Division One League Game
Att: 9,700

Mihaylov, Gilkes, Hopkins, Bernal, Booty, Gooding, Caskey, Parkinson, Meaker, Williams, Quinn

Utter shite. Again. Without doubt there's need for real change at Reading next season. If we survive the drop this season what does next season bring?

Reading were beaten by a Sheffield United team who were really nothing special. Losing at home 3-0 against a team that's nothing special when you need every point you can muster just isn't on. Anyway, enough winging. Actually, maybe not.

The Royals played with a flat back four. Gilkes took left back, Booty on the right, with Hopkins and Bernal in the middle. The midfield was Gooding, Caskey and Parkinson. Up front Meaker and Williams took the wings with Quinn in the middle. And it didn't work.

Reading never looked like scoring. We never got close enough and never really put the pressure on. The United keeper only had to make one real save which came from a 35 yard Gilkes drive during the second half. Williams who drifted into the middle to join Quinn definately tried quite hard but lacked the skill to get into shooting positions. He kept falling over instead. Quinn playing as a central striker, er, didn't actually strike. He didn't have shot all game. Reading's player of the season, as voted by everyone in the ground the week before, Mick Gooding put in all the usual effort and had a couple of long range shots that didn't trouble the keeper. There seemed no way Reading were going to score.

The first twenty minutes of the game was when Reading looked the brightest. Reading had the better start and made a few chances by legging it forward and putting over lots of crosses from Meaker and Gilkes. However bad positioning meant they came to nothing. There was a quick goal mouth scramble but overall the United defence was tight. As Reading couldn't threaten they began to fade. The longer the game went on the more it was United's and the less Reading looked like they could do anything.

Reading went in 1-0 down at half time. The occasional run forward during the last 45 minutes saw United come forward stronger on the break and the Royal's defence look defenceless. Sheffield United sealed their easy victory with 2 goals in the last ten minutes, including one right on the final whistle. Bobby Mihaylov in between the sticks for the R's couldn't be blamed. The defence in front of him could.

Luckily for Reading all the teams around chose to lose as well, except for Oldham who grabbed point. Two games left and we need 3 points. If we stuff Wolves on Tuesday night then we're safe, if we lose both games we're down. I can't see us stuffing Wolves though on this form.


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