Sunday, November 06, 2005


The only people in Berkshire who, following that opening day loss against Plymouth, would have confidently predicted that Reading would then go unbeaten until fireworks night and beyond would have been inmates at Broadmoor Hospital. However that is exactly what Reading have achieved and yesterday's fine win in Shepherd's Bush stretched that unbeaten run in league and cup to 20 games. There were only fleeting fireworks in this latest win and the game, although full of commitment, was no sparkler - but if we are celebrating come spring time it'll be wins like this which we can look back upon with some satisfaction.

Reading should have led this game as early as the first minute. Kevin Doyle has been a revelation for us since coming from the anonymity of the League of Ireland but he looked the proverbial gift Hercules in the mouth after barely 30 seconds, putting a low drive against the legs of the advancing Simon Royce. Floyd on Football, although delighted with Doyle's continued progress, is of the opinion that the young Irishman needs to be finishing this kind of chance.

Despite this early scare, Reading were on the back foot early on; Hahnemann flapped at a corner and Gallen headed wide, George Santos (acting, for the most part, as a highly ineffective emergency centre-forward for the injury-hit hosts) set up Langley to blaze dreadfully wide. It is the sign of a good side that soaks up pressure and scores on the break and that is exactly what Reading did after 10 minutes. Sidwell's ball in to Kitson on the edge of the area, his back heel to HARPER who finished cooly and decisively.

Decisive certainly wasn't the operative word as Rangers, who dominated the rest of the half, flashed a couple of headers harmlessly wide of Hahnemann who was largely untroubled. Once ahead, Floyd on Football tends to fancy Reading to hold out, our defence had only shipped 9 goals in the league prior to yesterday. Unfortunately the goals-against column is now in double figures - substitute Ainsworth's good work, Sidwell failed to cut out the pass and Lee COOK beat Hahnemann with an accurate low angled effort barely two minutes into the second half. A rare lapse in concentration from Reading.

The goal against was in many ways what we needed. Reading began to consistently make inroads on the QPR defence from then on, stung by conceding and hungry for the win. The goal lifted the home crowd and in turn the large travelling support who responded as their team poured forward. Reading took the lead in rather ironic circumstances. Glen Little, earlier cautioned, must have been close to being dismissed with the home crowd baying for blood after what was deemed as a bad tackle on Doherty. The QPR fans jeered as Coppell wisely withdrew our right-winger, who was being targetted by some very obvious QPR gamesmanship, in place of John Oster. And Oster it was, three minutes after coming on, who took a second corner after an initial poor effort was cleared - this time his delivery was perfect, as was INGIMARSSON's timing to thump a superb header into the roof of the net with the Rangers defence caught napping. The celebrations behind that goal were raucous; Floyd on Football had a superb view of what proved to be the winner from the front row of the upper tier of the School End, as the chap sat immediately to the right celebrated in style by climbing rather foolishly on to the ledge, precariously balanced above the lower tier several feet below.

Reading never looked like relinquishing that reclaimed lead and should have furthered it. The ball fell once again to Ingimarsson from a corner, this time at his feet and he poked the ball high and over when scoring seemed easier as far as Steve Sidwell, head in hands, was concerned. Despite forcing a few harmless corners and Gallen's lob which landed on top of the Reading net, Rangers never really caused any palpitations and it was Reading who went closest to scoring again late on as Hunt burst through with the ball not falling kindly for him. Full time whistle brought further raucous celebration as the players and supporters showed their mutual respect. There is a belief amongst supporters in this Reading team these days, almost an arrogance as chants of we are unbeatable rang out. Pymouth Argyle would take issue with that of course - but Brighton, Preston, Millwall, Swansea, Watford, Burnley, Coventry, Crystal Palace, Crewe, Luton, Norwich, Southampton, Ipswich, Hull, Stoke, Leeds, both United and Wednesday of Sheffield as well as QPR might just concur.

Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Ingimarsson, Sonko, Little (Oster, 63), Sidwell, Harper, Convey (Hunt, 71), Doyle, Kitson. Subs not used: Stack, Makin, Obinna.

Floyd's Favourite: Ingimarsson. Back to his best.


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