MATCH REPORT: 2006/2007 Season

30 January 2007: FA PREMIER LEAGUE
Reading: Ingimarsson (31 mins), Long (51 mins), Lita (88 mins).
Wigan: Heskey (3 mins), Landzaat (90 mins).
Half Time: 1-1
Attendance: 21,954

Pos Team P Pts GD
6 Portsmouth 25 38 +10
7 READING 25 37 +3
8 Everton 24 35 +8
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Ingimarsson, Bikey, Shorey, Little, Sidwell, Harper, Hunt, Lita, Long (Kitson 80). Subs Not Used: Federici, Oster, De la Cruz, Pearce.
Wigan: Kirkland, Taylor, Boyce, Unsworth (Jackson 69), Baines, Valencia, Landzaat, Skoko, Folan, Heskey (Kilbane 58), McCulloch (Johansson 65). Subs Not Used: Filan, Granqvist.
Reading: Long.
Wigan: Folan.
Ref: S Bennett (Kent).
Reading will be more than happy with this victory after falling behind to a fine early strike from Heskey. It was a highly entertaining game but was lacking in quality. Having edged in front soon after half time Reading looked capable of finishing off a Wigan side on a run of seven consecutive defeats. For some reason the game degenerated into a scrappy affair. Reading defended too deep and were guilty of some appalling errors at he back which a better team than Wigan would surely have punished. Wigan enjoyed long periods of possession but offered little threat to Reading's goal especially after Heskey limped off. Lita's sharp finish in the eighty-eight minute secured the win. The sloppy defending which allowed Lanzaat to squeeze the ball inside Hahnemann's near post was too late to save Wigan.

The opening minutes saw Wigan start brightly and with Heskey and new signing Folan timing their runs behind Reading's back four superbly. The visitors looked very dangerous going forward. With Sonko absent Reading looked short of pace at the back. Heskey opened the scoring when he ran onto a diagonal ball over the defence and reaped the reward for striking the ball early. Ingimarsson had allowed him space and Hahnemann was surprised by the pace and venom of the shot. Folan almost made it two soon after with a rasping shot which shaved the bar as it flew narrowly over with Hahnemann beaten. Fortunately for Reading, Wigan were even more shaky at the back. The Royals mounted some pressure and with a bit of lick and better finishing Hunt might have had a hat trick. His best effort whistled just past the post from a wide position. The other two chances were better. One was a woeful miss with his weaker foot and the other was blasted over the bar when he should have at least hit the target.

The deserved equaliser came when Lita flicked the ball over Kirkland to give Ingimarsson the task of nodding the ball over the line from close range. Kirkland looked hesitant as Reading continued to apply pressure. The pace of Long was causing Wigan a few problems and he almost burst through to score but he was forced wide and lost possession. At the other end Hahnemann was forced to make a good stop from a powerful strike. The scores were level at half time and the outcome was by no means easy to predict.

Reading created some good openings in the second half but the ball spent a lot of time in the air as both teams seemed incapable of taking control of the game. Long's goal came about after he had made a mess of a good chance to score with his head. He made amends immediately using his strength to nod the ball over the line after Hunt had intelligently lobbed the ball over the defence to the far post. Kitson came on for the last ten minutes and wasted an excellent chance to secure the win by going for power when accuracy would have been sufficient to put the ball into an unguarded net.

The big difference this evening was confidence and self belief, which just gave Reading the edge, but their attacking play in the first half will surely give Wigan some encouragement in their imminent relegation battle. Reading will want to forget most of this performance especially Sidwell who had one his poorer games. Bikey gave a gutsy performance but you could never quite predict where the ball was going to end up when it came off his head or foot.

Since the beginning of 2007 Reading have now scored nineteen goals in six matches so it has not mattered that the defence is leaking goals too easily. No matter how they performed tonight, the table doesn't lie, and Reading are comfortably in the top half. In spite of Coppell's refusal to even consider it, a couple of wins and the talk will be switching from avoiding the drop to challenging for a place in Europe!
John Wells.

Onwards and upwards, yet another three points and another 3-2 score line, though a score that really flattered Wigan and down again to dreadful keeping from Hahnemann. With 37 points in the bag wouldn't be a bad idea to give Federici a run in the team. A real scrappy game with us missing a hatful of great chances but all in all a happy night. After giving Bikey the kiss of death by saying he had a great game Saturday he promptly produced a performance that was reminiscent of Sonko in his early days hoofing it all over the place and heading like he had a pineapple on his head. All churlish though when you consider what happy days these are, we can now look forward to remaining games with a wonderful content feeling and no need to worry or fret. Let's all just enjoy every precious moment from here in to the last game at Blackburn. Finally, great to see a new "big " signing in Greg Halford, sends out a massive message to us fans the club is serious about the future , good news . Not sure how Murty feels mind, though the way he's playing this season , he'll take a lot of dislodging. Playing out of his skin like most of our players, that's what makes us special... URRZZZ
Nick Newbury

Another great day for Reading FC. A useful 3 points against a demoralised Wigan side and two more exciting signings. Halford and Bennet are good signings for Reading, young skilful players who will improve. Much better to buy this sort of player than “golden oldies” who want a quiet life. On this evenings performances it is a relief that Bikey is only on Loan from which ever Moscow side he plays for as he looked shakey most of the evening. After the match Steve Coppell put this down to lack of familiarity with team mates, I would put it down to lack of familiarity with a football. Still it cannot be easy to arrive in Reading (not speaking English) from Cameroon via Moscow.
The game was rather scrappy as were most of the goals apart from Wigans surprise first goal. Wigan started well, scored and had some good chances to score again as Reading seemed to stand back and watch for the first 10 minutes. After that Reading ground their way back into the game and created some good chances before Ingimarsson equalised. Once Reading had gone ahead after the energetic Hunt setup Long for a far post header following a mix up in the Wigan defence Wigan lost heart. Their frustration was cruely represented by their supporters who chanted “One nil and you f***** it up”. After that Reading added to their lead before Wigan pulled a goal back at the death.
My man or men of the match were Hunt who covered the whole pitch and was a handful for Wigan all evening and Long who was quick, imaginative and skilfull.
Adam Kirkwood, Crowthorne Royal

Got an opinion? E-Mail us at
Appropriate submissions will appear on match report pages