MATCH REPORT: 2003/2004 Season

Reading: Forster (83 mins).
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 11,892

Through to round four:
Reading, Crystal Palace,
Arsenal, Southampton,
Man Utd, Man City, Wolves,
Reading: Hahnemann, Newman, Shorey, Williams, Ingimarsson, Salako, Murray (Goater 69), Watson, Sidwell, Hughes, Forster. Subs not used: Ashdown, Harper, Savage, Tyson.
Gray, Yates, Clarke, Sodje, Carss, Holdsworth (Brown 84), Schofield, Worthington, Fowler, Stead, Booth. Subs not used: Senior, Mattis, Holland, Mirfin.
Reading: -
Referee: D J Gallagher (Banbury)

Reading made hard work of removing a very ordinary third division side from the Carling Cup, but in spite of the scoreline it was comfortable win. Playing with a back five Huddersfield restricted Reading to two decent scoring opportunities in the first half. They were content to allow Reading room to play the ball around in midfield and wait for the attacks to break down just outside the penalty area. Most of the Royals moves were breaking down when the ball arrived at Forster's feet where he was either slow to meet the ball, failed to control it , or simply misdirected his pass. To make matters worse, Hughes, who was supporting Forster up front was demonstrating even poorer touch. Reading were also trying to play Salako in behind the Town defence with long crossfield passes that were easily cut out. Salako often creates room for a cross with clever footwork but he is no longer capable of going past his man using pace. Murray was finding it equally difficult to go past players. With few crosses coming in and a packed defence in the middle Reading were not creating any pressure on the away team.

Town were so preoccupied with defending in numbers they did not even offer a threat with a quick break. They had one clear shot at goal which Hahnemann deflected away uncomfortably for a corner. Reading's best two chances came shortly after. Salako blasted over when they ball dropped invitingly to him from a deep cross, and Murray found space for left foot shot that was easily saved by Gray. It was a fairly dull first half rounded off with a very slick break by Reading which was terminated by Hughes ballooning a cross into the crowd when he had plenty of time and several options in the middle to aim for.

The second half began with a brief scare when Salako neglected his marking duties from a corner allowing Town a free header when shaved the top of the crossbar. After that I felt the outcome was inevitable as Reading increasingly mounted the pressure. The passing improved and Goater's presence seemed to help focus the attack when he replaced Murray. Shorey and Salako were beginning to open up the Town defence down the left and Hughes almost got on the end of great cross from Shorey that only needed to be touched over the line. Adie Williams volleyed just over. (Our best effort up that point!) Then Goater put a powerful header just past the post. With seven minutes left the two players who had probably put in the worst performances of the night combined to produced the winning goal. Hughes cut back a good cross and Forster nodded the ball into the corner of the net. Reading finished with some good moves breaking out of defence as Town pushed forward without producing any threat to the Reading goal.

It was the first time I had seen Ingmarsson and I was very impressed with his skill, composure on the ball and willingness to carry the ball into the opposition half. He hit his passes well and won the ball when needed to. If this is example of Coppell's signings, lets have a few more. Bring on Man.Utd. in the next round!
Report by John Wells


We weren't good,we weren't bad but we got the result which is vital for any side who are looking for a good cup run.Started the game probably second best but gradually as the game went on we were getting better and finally we got our rewards with Fozzy scoring again. "Same old Fozzy,always scoring". Might be greedy but he is massive to this club. Was surprised to see Kevin Watson start but then when Coppell said it was because of Sidders suspension then it made sense.The team looked solid from the back, Marcus kept a clean sheet finally (oh what joy) the back 4 was solid together as a unit and as indiviudal's.Great to see Ivar get another 90 mins under his belt and hopefully he will stay injury free. Shorey and Salako were linking up well again today,that is the biggest advantage having Salako starting out wide. For me biggest dissapointment is Scott Murray. Can anyone explain where he has been last few weeks? Ever since Pards left he has gone from being brillant to awful. Goater turned it round and it was deserved, I heard some fans booing when he came on but perhaps they will shut up now. Overall a good result,bring on a decent Premiership Side.
Mark Sugar, Reading

No doubt in my mind that 4-5-1 was the correct system to play last Fri vs. Sheff, but equally no doubt it wasn't in these circumstances as was quickly proved as Huddersfield did a good job man-marking Forster & generally making things pretty difficult. Reading looked better when the change was made & Goater's introduction meant someone else up front for the opposition to worry about. The move that led to the goal was excellent & it's a shame the team didn't do more of that during the game. However, having seen him on the pitch for a full 90, I think Watson did more than enough to earn a start vs. Crewe. Well as Harper did on Fir, Watson showed calmness, organisation & was constantly talking to those around him, directing the play & his fellow team mates. This is something the midfield lacks when he's not there. Also positive was that Forster & Goater actually started to show signs of working TOGETHER as a partnership. Crewe will be a test though & it will be interesting to see the formation & personnel Coppell goes for. COME ON.....
Caversham Royal.

We certainly didn't send the shudders through the Hudders with this performance. OK so we won, and at the end of the day that's what counts, especially as with a bit of luck the next opponents in this competition could well benchmark us against the Premiership. But the performance for me left an awful lot to be desired. If I had been watching this on the telly I might have been flicking channels after the first few minutes. Boring & frustrating was a good summary of the first half. In fact I was half hoping Huddersfield scored, to liven things up. Nothing wrong with our spirit or tenacity, but desperately short of flair. 2nd half only got better with about 25 mins to go. Not sure whether it was the arrival of Goater or Huddersfield tiring. Even then there seemed to be an awful lot of huffing & puffing before we finally got the ball in the net. On the positive side we defended well - Ivar looks a quality signing, and er... um.... that appears to be it.
C'mon URZ lift your performance out of the 'mediocre' category and give the fans something to get excited about.
Merv, Wimbledon Royal

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