Saturday, August 06, 2005

ARMADA Reading 1-2 Plymouth

Reading created a piece of club history today, managing an impressive third defeat in seven days to a Plymouth side for whom the word mediocre was designed. Our opening day loss is the first ocassion on which we have failed to win the season league opener at the Madejski and after it took until the fourteenth home league game to lose our unbeaten home record last season, Nick Chadwick's added time goal ridded us of that kind of albatross as early as possible this time around.

Legend has it that in 1588 Sir Francis Drake insisted on completing his game of bowls in Plymouth before tackling the Spanish Armada. A game of bowls would have been better entertainment than last season's 0-0 draw at the MadStad between these teams, but this enciunter was a whole lot more interesting. Plymouth, roared on by 4,000-odd people bedecked in green shirts decorated in livery for the utterly awful tasting Ginster's Pastys, were on the back foot from the off as debutants Lita and Doyle looked lively without Reading really working any chances. Doyle was booked after only ten minutes which set the pattern for referee Mr Taylor's day; a truly eccentric performance which was so clueless at times you almost felt embarassed for him. Nicky Shorey had Reading's first effort on goal with a freekick but Argyle took the lead somewhat against the run of play after 21 minutes.

Argyle worked the ball out wide and Rufus Brevett's cross from the left was turned in at the near post by Mickey "hasn't he retired by now?" EVANS for a goal so soft to be almost marshmallow-like in consistency. EAS-AY chanted the visiting supporters; too right it was, but they have no idea how ridiculous they all loooked doing that banal seal-clap thingy which seems to greet any goal scored by any team these days. All very unoriginal, although Reading supporters responded in kind when we equalised - Floyd on Football only joining in for satirical purposes, you understand. Reading were back on the offensive soon after with Doyle the main threat, particularly with a header he nodded over from close range when well placed to do much better. Half time, 1 down, harsh on Reading.

Second half started with Reading showing a bit more penetration at last and it only seemed a matter of time until clear cut chances would be created and therefore goals. A goal for Reading did come, but only after Hahnemann had saved heroically - like some balding, glove wearing Francis Drake - from Buzsaky who was clean through on goal. Doyle fired a retaliatory slavo at the other end before the merited equaliser came shortly afterwards; Convey's quick free kick set Murty away and his cross was buried by Leroy LITA who glanced the ball past Larrieu with his head. EAS-AY when you know how. Lita was running on a full tank by now and had a chance midway through the second half which was well worked by Little; Leroy's shot from an angle was deflected and cleared relatively comfortably by the Pymouth defence. He had the ball in the net shortly awfterwards, larroping the ball home from an angle with such ferocity it was fortunate that the net (and indeed, the North Stand) was in the way otherwise it could have seriously damaged some medium density fibreboard in the back yard of B&Q in the retail park. Offside.

Shortly before the impressive Convey was replaced by Hunt, Coppell brought Kitson on for Little and moved Doyle out wide on the right. Kitson looked sluggish and unfit and by isolating the lively Doyle out wide the manager appeared to have made a right hash of things. Despite that, Reading had a chance in the final ten minutes to take three points we would narrowly have deserved. It was miss, so guilt-edgedby Sonko, as to require a full written apology; the big centre-half crashing a header wide, unchallenged in the six-yard box when he had time to set the timer on his video recorder and still nut home the easy chance. Plymouth took full advantage of this in the first minute of injury time. Referee Taylor gave another soft freekick decision, the ball was worked out wide and a soft cross was converted by CHADWICK with an even softer finish. It was an Andrex goal. It was a freekick decision, goal and, ultimately, result so criminal it deserved to have an ASBO slapped on it. The result leaves Reading deep in relegation trouble, 21st in the Championship as we approach the nervous run-in of the final 45 games.

Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Ingimarsson, Sonko, Little, Sidwell, Harper, Convey (Kitson, 74), Lita (Hunt, 76), Doyle. Subs not used: Stack, Makin, Oster.

Floyd's Favourite: Bobby Convey. If only because he is finally beginning to look the part for us now.


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