MATCH REPORT: 2007/2008 Season

29 September 2007: FA PREMIER LEAGUE
Reading: Hunt (45 mins), Kitson (48 mins), Long (79 mins), Shorey (90 mins).
Portsmouth: Mwaruwari (7 mins, 37 mins, 70 mins), Hreidarsson (55 mins), Kranjcar (75 mins), Davis (81 mins), Muntari (90 mins, pen).
Half Time: 2-1
Attendance: 20,102

Pos Team P Pts GD
16 Fulham 8 7 -2
17 READING 8 7 -9
18 Tottenham 7 5 -2
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty (Long 77), Duberry, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Rosenior, Gunnarsson (Fae 77), Harper, Hunt, Doyle, Kitson. Subs Not Used: Federici, Lita, Bikey.
Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Utaka, Davis, Diop, Muntari, Kranjcar, Mwaruwari (Nugent 80). Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Taylor, Pamarot, Pedro Mendes.
Reading: Duberry.
Portsmouth: Taylor.
Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).
Reading managed to score four goals away from home but were still soundly beaten at Portmouth in a record breaking score-line. In a bizarre afternoon of eleven goals Reading perhaps could have clawed their way back into the game before being stuffed out of sight and then grabbing another late consolation. It was an afternoon of plenty of defensive mistakes with Reading taking the prize for being the most shambolic in a very entertaining open fixture. Portsmouth looked good for a two goal half time lead and probably should have been further ahead but for an impressive Hahnemann save. However, Hunt gave Reading a glimmer of hope with a header not far from the line that pulled a goal back before half time. After the break Kitson made the most of some poor goalkeeping to pull the game level.

With fifty-five minutes on the clock, Portsmouth restored their lead, only to conceed a penalty. Had Nicky Shorey put it home then the game may have taken on a different complexion with the scores level at 3-3. Shorey's penalty was simple for the goalkeeper and a potential life-line was wasted. Instead on 75 minutes the score was 5-2 to the home side and the game appeared out of reach of the Royals. But the goals continued to come. Shane Long, off the bench, got the final touch from a James Haper attempt on goal to make it 5-3 and set up a possibly dramatic finish. Portsmouth had looked the better side and made the score-line reflect that when they added two more goals making it a ridiculous 7-3, with the second of those from the penalty spot. There was still time for another goal deep in injury time when Shorey made up for his penalty kick by scoring a deflection to make it finish 7-4.

Can't really think what to say or where to start. Have you noticed how every time a manger or player gets interviewed after a defeat and they always talk about positives. Well scoring four goals at Pompey is certainly a positive but having a defence and a keeper that isn't just leaking goals, more like a tidal wave, it's painfully clear we are in a deep black hole at present. The team and everything that was good last season is unrecognisable from last season. Unfortunately and sadly, those players that heroically exceeded their expectations last year, like Murty, Ingimarsson, Gunnarsson, Shorey even Doyle have been found out and are being cruelly exposed by our opponents. The lack of investment in the club and inability of so called directors not signing new players has created a situation that has put the club and it's small squad under severe pressure this season, which in turn has resulted in a total confidence breakdown in the players who take to the field. After Derby next week the fixtures look daunting to say the least and it's hard to see where we are going to pick up points. In a way due to the transfer window closed till January, we're like a very sick patient at present who is in desperate need of medicine to perk us up and help us get better. Unfortunately there's no medicine till January and by then it may be too late.
Nick Newbury

This was a game where we were unlikely to pick up any points and so it proved. The manner of the defeat will be the concern i.e. what itís done to our fragile confidence. And confidence is the key, weíve had it in abundance for the past two seasons, for now itís gone and it looks like being a long hard season. Defence might be the problem but Gunnarson in midfield had a poor game, which is a pity after his heroic efforts last season. I wonder if he might do better dropping back to central defence where on occasions he played well last season. I think the time has come away from home that we go one up front and attempt to stifle the opposition to get a point out of the game and treat each game as if it was our first i.e. the away game at United. We might need to do this at home as well against some teams. The January window might, or might not, be our salvation. My concern here for all the talk of our wage structure and team spirit, is whether the right players for us, or even any decent players, want to take a risk on Reading. In other words, did we even get close to finding and tempting players that would improve us. Loan signings might be a better bet. A final word about Pompey. Letís not forget that for a few seasons they have flirted with the lower reaches of the Premiership and only now have begun to buy in a decent team and produce some good results. Itís about hanging in there and seeking to improve step by step. The prize of promotion was hard won and is not one to throw away lightly. I had felt that our safety was going to be three teams worse than us, Iím now not so sure.
Nick Tilehurst

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The official attendance for this game was 20,102 but over time that number may well increase. As Jack Charlton once said, if everyone who had told him they had seen England beat Germany in the 1966 World Cup final had actually been there, then the official attendance would have been nearer 500,000 than the official figure of 93,800... This was certainly not a match on a par with that famous occasion but it was historic in its own way. It was the highest-scoring game in the 15 years and two months of the Premier League's existence, eclipsing the nine-goal tallies achieved six times, most recently three years ago in the north London derby... Match of the Day's highlights were a joy to behold as well. The old adage about them "only showing the goals" in matches between the Premier League's lesser lights was never more appropriate. There was no time for anything else. Even Steve Coppell, in defeat, was moved to praise the game for its entertainment value and felt he could take some positives from scoring four goals against a team that had not conceded any in three games... Yet the Reading manager has now seen his side let in 11 goals in two matches...
Conrad Leach, The Independent

It was the best of games, it was the worst of games... Nicky Shorey, the Reading and England left back, called it ďan embarrassmentĒ... Matches such as this are supposed to be treats for supporters but nightmares for managers. Not quite true. The winning manager wakes up from the nightmare afterwards, pockets the three points and talks up the goalscoring prowess of his players and his own commitment to attacking football, as Redknapp had every right to do. The tongue-lashing for his back four could wait until Monday morning.
Afterwards, though, Steve Coppell, the Reading manager, still seemed to be stuck in a bad dream as he attempted to make sense of what he had witnessed on Saturday. In fairness, no one else had been able to explain how two sets of experienced defenders, including three recent members of the England squad, had conceded 11 goals between them Ė a Premier League record - and it could have been more. Coppell not only has to explain it to himself and his chairman, but also to do something about it.

Bill Edgar, The Times

Benjani Mwaruwari struck a hat-trick as Pompey won an incredible match... All the pre-match signs pointed to a home win, with Pompey unbeaten at Fratton Park this season and the Royals yet to win on the road and without a win over Portsmouth in 10 years. Immediately, that streak looked set to be extended as Pompey opened the scoring after only seven minutes... But, having got back on level terms, Reading then handed the initiative back to the home side.
BBC Sport