Monday, August 29, 2005

RUSTY Reading 2-1 Burnley

As the unwashed left Reading after the annual Rock Festival, the uninteresting moved in in their place. Floyd on Football sat through 3 hours worth of diabolical goalless football between Reading and the Clarets last season and following on from the plodding performance at Watford, hopes were not high for this one. Burnley, we suspected, would do a Plymouth and come to the MadStad for a point and it is against that kind of neagtive game plan that Reading always tend to struggle.

What we needed was an early goal and remarkably that was exactly what we got. Dave Kitson made a nuisance of himself and Leroy Lita neatly lobbed Coyne in the Burnley goal with a clever flick after 7 minutes. Now Burnley would have to come at us in order to get anything out of the game and we could attack them on the break. Reading's wing duo of Convey and Little were again at their dangerous best but, despite narrowly edging the possession, we failed to create anything and things took a turn for the worse before half time. Firstly, Dave Kitson limped off injured to be replaced by Doyle; Kitson clearly hasn't been totally fit all season and the 12 day lay off we have now due to World Cup qualifiers next weekemd has come at the perfect time.

There was more to worry about shortly before half time as Burnley equalised; Akinbiyi easily turned Ingimarsson following Sonko's misjudgment and fired past Hahnemann. The Clarets had knocked the ball around fairly pleasantly, but hadn't threatened the Reading goal and it was sloppy defending from Ingimarsson and Sonko, who have been a partnership which, despite four consecutive league clean sheets, has looked like an accident waiting to happen at times. Ingimarsson it was who was muscled out again before the break on the right flank, only a hurried finish stopped Burnley from going ahead. A further blow as the teams came out after the break - Shorey injured and replaced by Makin.

The second half belonged to Kevin Doyle, who has impressed in his fleeting appearances so far. Following a left flank corner he put a free header over early in the second half, but he looked much more mobile than Kitson has of late and is showing himself to be a real unknown quantity and a thorn in the side of Championship opposition. Reading had by far the best of the game in the second half, despite a smart close range save from Hahnemann after a rare show of inventive ambition from Burnley, and it was that man Doyle, who had worried the visitors all afternoon with his pace and trickery, who gave us what proved to be the winner with twenty minutes left. Following a short corner, Doyle headed home Convey's cross with ease at the near post having apparently learned a lesson from his earlier miss. Reading continued to dominate into the closing stages and the cause was made easier on 90 minutes when O'Connor was sent off for Burnley for crashing into Convey and despite 5 minutes of added time we held on to consolidate second place in the Championship.

All in all, a satisfactory result and performance by Reading but there are areas of concern still. Not least knocks to Kitson, Shorey and Swidwell, although they will have an extended period of time to recover before the next league action. A real worry was the shoddy goal we gave away and the constant choice by Hahnemann of long ball pumped up to the diddy Doyle/Lita partnertship throughout the second half. The irony was of course that Doyle scored the winner with his head, but you have to wonder sometimes about our tactics. Right now though, we appear to be getting away with moments of slopiness.

Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey (Makin, 45), Ingimarsson, Sonko, Little, Sidwell, Harper, Convey, Lita, Kitson (Doyle, 39). Subs not used: Stack, Hunt, Oster.

Floyd's Favourite: Doyle. Gives us something different up front and a joy to watch.


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