Saturday, December 03, 2005

FLYING Reading 3-0 Luton Town

We didn't exactly cruise to victory this afternoon at the Madejski, but after a terbulant 90 minute flight the RFC promotion Airbus touched down safely as twinkle-toed Wing Commander Little left visitors Luton needing oxygen.

Luton themselves are flying. Up from League One last season and they have found themselves at altitude in the Championship again this season. They have already done the double over those highly fancied aviators, the Eagles of Crystal Palace and despite this loss are still tucked in nicely in the play-off undercarriage. The manner of the defeat was harsh on the visitors from that grubby little town next to the M1 for they dominated large chunks of a second half as leaden Reading looked to have swallowed a metaphorical half-time in-flight meal. But it is the sign of a good side to show that quality to take chances when they come along and score yourself a flattering wing. And if you listen to Hatters manager Mike Newell pre-match then it's almost time for the Premiership seat-belt sign to come on.

This was a lively game between two high flying teams in the first half. Reading just about shaded it on chances, Sidwell plunging to direct a header at the body of Beresford early on after being picked out by Convey's corner. At the other end Luton were keen to push forwward and as fairly fresh-faced Championship upstarts they almost nicked an impudent goal when Hahnemann's eccentric chested clearance caused Shorey some flight sickness and Carlos Edwards was able to nip in and drive the ball towards goal. Fortunately Hahnemann was retreating and able to pluck the ball out of the air as if he was playing Ultimate Frisbee. Down the other end it was Doyle's turn to be denied following a corner, Beresford's outstretched arm foiling the Irishman. Lita was crowded out by the Luton defence after Little glided his way to the byline and Convey connected beautifully to volley Little's well worked corner only to be denied by a deflection. Vine almost caught Hahnemann unawares with a neat volley from ex-Royal Morgan's cross but just when it seemed that an entertaining half would end goaless, the footballing god's intervened.

After good work by the lively Shorey down the left, the ball was only cleared to SIDWELL who let fly from 25 yards. The delicious slice of luck only enjoyed by league leaders intervened at this point as a firmly struck effort seemed to be covered by Beresford before taking a large deflection off a Luton defender and arching into the net over the 'keeper. Glory be. The second half was a different kettle of fish though. Luton pinned Reading back for long periods and whilst not exactly creating a string of threatening chances, they did bother Hahnemann once or twice. The moody Morgan headed firmly at the far post and was denied by the huge Yank, whilst Showumni shot wide as the Hatters forced a string of dangerous corners. Ingimarsson should have perhaps down better with a free header from a Reading corner and his opposite number in the Luton back four Perrett was denied by Hahnemann after a looping header. At this point, Floyd on Football had grave concerns that Reading could hold on for their 6th league win in a row.

No worries. A generously awarded freekick was floated in by the ubiquitous Little and substitute KITSON stole in to head over the advancing Beresford. That knocked the stuffing out of brave Luton and Reading eased home in the final fifteen minutes, finally playing the sort of football which has been so familiar and enjoyable from the boys in Blue and White this season. After a succession of quick-fire half chances and testing crosses, it was left for Glen Little once again to pull something magic out of the hat; his accurate floated ball following Murty's good work was thumped home by the soaring DOYLE. 3-0 was empahtic and even more gratifying as Runway leaders Reading had struggled to get off the ground for much of the game.

Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Ingimarsson, Sonko, Little (Oster, 90), Sidwell, Harper, Convey (Hunt, 66), Doyle, Lita (Kitson, 58). Subs not used: Stack, Makin.

Floyd's Favourite: Little. Two moments of quality swung the game back in our favour.


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