MATCH REPORT: 2003/2004 Season

30 September 2003: LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
Reading: Forster (25 mins).
Norwich City:
Huckerby (17 mins), McVeigh (87 mins).
Half Time: 1-1
Attendance: 16,387

DIVISION ONE 30 Sep 2003
Pos Team P Pts GD
9 Cardiff City 10 15 +7
10 READING 10 14 +3
11 Burnley 11 14 -2
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Mackie, Williams, Shorey, Murray, Hughes, Sidwell (Watson 74), Newman, Forster, Goater. Subs not used: Ashdown, Harper, Savage.
Norwich City:
Green, Edworthy, Mackay, Fleming, Shackell, Mulryne, Francis, Holt, McVeigh, Huckerby, Crouch (Roberts 76). Subs not used: Lewis, Briggs, Henderson, Easton.
Reading: None.
Norwich City:
Referee: K Hill (Royston)

With the confirmation of Reading's new manager expected this week this was almost certainly Kevin Dillon's last game in charge of the Royals - for now. Thankfully Dillon has already said he'll stay on at the club regardless of the appointment, but if he doesn't get the job he's certain to remain disappointed about the run of form during his short time in charge. This was Dillon's fourth league defeat from five games and his third straight defeat - but there were some positive signs tonight as Reading lost out narrowly to a late Norwich City goal. Dillon was unlucky with his run of fixtures - without the recent departure of a certain ex-manager you'd have to say that defeats at West Ham, Sunderland and Norwich were always strong possibilities. We haven't been that bad and we weren't as bad as another defeat tonight suggests - we could well have come away with a point. The new manager, whoever is appointed, shouldn't have too much difficulty getting the season back on track.

After the defeat at Sunderland, Dillon opted to bring Goater back into the starting line-up alongside Nicky Forster and go back to a four man midfield. With Brown out with a probably injury, Mackie stepped into the centre of defence alongside Williams and didn't have a bad game. Newman got another start in the midfield and after a postitive start from Norwich it was Reading that looked the more likely side during the opening half. Norwich, with a 100% home record so far this season, went close early on and followed it up with the lead on 17 minutes from a corner. The Reading defence failed to pick up striker Huckerby who scored from close in. Reading seemed much more likely to produce something that the trip to Sunderland and quickly went about getting back into the game. We were playing some much better football and it allowed Forster to get in a couple of efforts. Firstly he shot over the crossbar and a couple of minutes later found the back of the net. Forster picked up a loose ball on the left that the defender should have dealt with and cut into the area to score from a tight angle. With Reading on equal terms we were unlucky not to go in ahead at the break.

With Reading playing the ball well they created some good chances to score. Scott Murray did well to work himself into a couple of shooting chances. Firstly he headed over the crossbar from a cross and then went steaming into the area to be tackled by the last defender after Murty played an excellent through ball. Sidwell was having an excellent game in midfield before a knock later on forced him to be replaced by Watson. The second half saw Reading start brightly enough but then begin to lose their pattern. The passing started to break down and once again we were guilty of some poor pointless hoofs up the pitch that failed to find targets. Goater failed to win much put over the top and chances to score were severely limited. Norwich started to get the upper hand and disaster struck with just three minutes left of normal time when a long range effort flew into the back of the net after a deflection from Williams.

With the game entering stoppage time and Reading back to having to chase a point we suddenly went full out attack. We won a corner which saw Hahnemann come forward to the edge of the Norwich box. Sure enough the corner came over and found Hahnemann unmarked - the dream finish for Reading wasn't on the cards though as Hahnemann's header was blocked on the line. Moments later Williams had a last gasp effort but play was stopped for a handball by Nicky Forster. So despite plenty of effort early on in the game we came away with nothing but another league defeat. Saturday's home game against Bradford City will be an ideal opportunity to bounce back - whoever is in charge of the team.


He may be gone but Alan Pardew has had the last laugh, four defeats out of five and lumbered us 500,000 worth of so called striker who gives nothing to the team. Dillon has already shown by just playing this waste of space he's not up to the job. Apart from not scoring he gives the ball away too cheaply, fails to link the play, and seems content to jog around for 90 minutes picking up a nice pay check at the end of each week for doing as little as possible. A better performance tonight and credit to Newman and Mackie but the winner seemed inevitable once we started to give up playing football and humping the ball up to Goater. A lucky goal yes, but you make your own luck in this game and Reading haven't done enough lately to warrant some of there own.
Pete, Woodley

Good game, but a little too negative in the second half for my liking. We came for a draw, and didn't get it. What really worries me, is what happens next. Clearly, Kevin Dillon won't get the job, and the worry is that Mr. Mad, and Nige, will believe that the way forward is for them to dictate to the new kid on the block, the route to the promised land. I really hope that they appoint a manager who is not only better than they might be at running the playing side of the club, but also that they accept that fact. He must be allowed to run the football, even if he succumbs to his bosses' aptitude for business management. I have my doubts that utopia will occur. However, the Goat is not suddenly a bad player. The side generally, is not crap. We desperately need direction, although as said, we were a little unlucky tonight. Our Manager must be allowed, and more importantly, be capable of turning things around. Personally, I am staying in the same crap hotel as last year. The bar shut on the dot at 11 o'clock, and the prison shutters came down. Thank God we only come to Norwich once a year. Having said that, I hope we are playing them again next season. On the face of it, we are capable of being a good Div 1 side, and I'd rather be playing at Norwich than Rushden & Diamonds. URRRZZZ.
Kevin, Worthing Royal

By golly football can be a cruel game at times. Reading were tonight robbed of a well earned and hard fought precious point by a wicked deflected shot in the 87th minute. In rather bizarre circumstances with a couple of hundred loyal Royal fans sat literally along one touchline, those of us that were there couldn't believe our rotten luck as the Tweetie Pie winner went. Reading were far better tonight than recent performances, and after going behind to yet another dreadful piece of defending at a corner got back quickly into the game with a well taken goal by Nicky Forster. We settled down and started to play well and had the majority of the game. I thought Mackie did well at the back as did most of the defence in dealing with the dangerous and pacey Huckleby as well as the gangling beanpole Crouch. Midfield battled well but far to many passes continued to go astray . Being so closed to the pitch it was great to hear the players swearing and having a go at players who mainly warranted the stick. Newman tried hard but his passing let him down and Murrey work his socks off to little effect , shouldn't he be threatening defences the way Huckleby did us tonight? The goat! Well what can I say, he really was totally useless and frankly a liability. His work rate was poor, his control like a bloody goat and his running off the ball more like a huffing cow. Maybe a few more games to show or get rid. Forster can't do it all on his own. Sadly this unlucky result will be the final nail for Dillon in getting the job. He's been a bit unlucky but four defeats in five simply isn't good enough. These are tough times for Reading fans, we are clearly at a low and luck is not going for us , it happens . There should be a new manager come Saturday and lets hope he can work the magic oracle quickly . Unfortunately, I think that's wishful thinking . It's going to be a case of starting again , not rebuilding , just getting the momentum going again under a new manager . Pardew going has now been proven to have been a major set back in our aspirations this season .We will be back and we will be in that promised land , we've waited 132 years to get there , so another year or two shouldn't matter. We played well tonight , we deserved something out of the game , the players in the main gave their all . You can't ask more than that , roll on Saturday. Finally, I was eagerly looking forward to one of Delia Smiths special pies , Steak , mushroom and stilton it was meant to be . All I can say is I wouldn't feed it to my dog.It was bloody awful, burnt, rock hard and full of a mixture that smelt like and resembled hot camel dung ! Just about summed up the night!!
Nick Newbury

What a terrible month! But it's not sooo bad!
This time last season we'd lost 5 league games (a few at home!), were dumped out of the cup by Cambridge and it still turned into a cracking season! We went on to have a great run of results and looking at the upcoming fixtures, we should do the same again this year. This should be a good start for the new boss to build some confidence for the Sheffield meeting, and then we'll see where we are. Hopefully he'll take the cup seriously and we can have the bonus of big draw in the next round!
Good riddance to September, bring on October!
Keep the Faith
The Redroyal

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