Wednesday, September 14, 2005

EAGLES SORE Reading 3-2 Crystal Palace


Palace manager Iain Dowie claimed after this sensational match that his side had been the better team in the first half and the first ten minutes of the second. It obviously wasn't a good night for Mr Dowie; not only was he totally wrong in his post-match analysis he was also sent to the stands by the referee after a little hissy fit over the retaking of Reading's twice missed penalty. Dowie obviously still believes the hype surrounding him and cannot comprehend being beaten by little old Reading after his side were rubbign shoulders with the Premiership elite last season. Floyd on Football begs the question that if Dowie is that good a manager, his side wouldn't even be playing us this season never mind losing to us.

This game was the footballing equivalent of using a yo-yo whilst sat on a see-saw and, given the striking talent on show, certainly delivered the promise of being a memorable night. For Reading, Leroy Lita has already made a big impact after his big money move. Palace have Morrison, whose recent transfer was for even bigger money, and of course England hopeful Andy Johnson. These three big names duly hit the target once apiece last night but were largely overshadowed by Lita's strike partner, the young Irishman Kevin Doyle. The Eire U21 striker showed at least as much quality throughout as his full international countryman Morrison and Doyle it was who threatened first. His firmly struck drive when put through by Hahnemann's opportunistic punt was spectacularly kept out by the leg of another internationalist, Palace goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly. The pyjama-clad shot-stopper clearly wasn't half asleep as he also denied Lita and Doyle once again before the young Irishman finaly made the break through midway through the first half. Following a challenge from the industrious Gunarsson, DOYLE made it three goals in as many games with an accurate low effort from twenty-yards after cutting in from the flank past a couple of Palace challenges.

Palace, who were agonisingly minutes away from retaining their Premiership status last season, are a handful and they were on terms very shortly after the opener. Give Andy JOHNSON a little too much room in the area and he'll score. Fortunately we didn't have to contend with him for too much longer as he limped off injured before half time, but at 1-1 in a game in which Reading had richly deserved to lead he had clearly played his part. Indeed, when MORRISON pounced decisively following a long throw and flick-on to move Palace ahead moments in to the second half, it seemed for a while that the Eagles much vaunted strike-pairing were going to win the day for a side hoping, nay expecting, to bounce back to the top flight at the first attempt. for a little wile Reading lost their way; Hahnemann crucially stopped Michael Hughes minutes later and it seemed we wre up against it.

The equaliser came at a crucial time just as Reading had been getting back on top midway through the second period. An astonishing goal it was too; Little's cross wasn't cleared and it finally fell invitingly for LITA with his back to goal who despatched the ball overhead past a goalkeeper of immense quality in Kiraly. Moments earlier, the Palace fans had been taunting the glum Reading supporters but now the boot was on the other foot and for the final quarter the large visiting support was mute as the home fans roared the team home. It seemed as if there would only be one winner from this point on and the script was written with 15 minutes left for Lita, who generally had a quiet game, to make up for failing to score from the spot at Coventry as Reading were awarded a penalty after Doyle was grounded by Boyce. Lita saw his kick saved and he stabbed the rebound wide, but to the joy of the jubilant Reading supporters Glen Little was given a chance to make ammends as referee Curson ordered a retake. Little's kick was brilliantly held by Kiraly the second time, but the winger made up for this indiscretion with just three minutes to go. A freekick near the corner flag in the north-west corner was delivered with pace an accuracy straight onto the bonce of unlikely hero Ibrahima SONKO. The ball arrowed past Kiraly to send the crowd potty and claim three topsy-turvy points for Reading.

Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Makin, Ingimarsson, Sonko, Little, Gunarsson, Harper, Convey (Hunt, 88), Lita, Doyle. Subs not used: Stack, Oster, Obinna, Baradji.

Floyd's Favourite: Gunarsson. Like Parky, with passing.

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