Wednesday, December 28, 2005

OUTFOXED Reading 2-0 Leicester City

Reading are an animal rights nightmare. Having slayed Wolves on Boxing Day, the Old Berkshire Hunt went Fox Hunting and tore up the carcass of a dumb East Midlands animal last night at the Madejski.

Leicester City came seemingly intent to spoil and they certainly did spoil the game as a spectacle in the first half with a series of niggly fouls and unambitious football, resorting to toe punting the ball up to the muscular frame of Mark de Vries. It was dire viewing in a chilly MadStad on an evening more suited to log fires and slippers than watching Championship football. You can see why the visitors are struggling as they looked a diabolical side tonight and they should be looking over their shoulders at the drop zone on this evidence.

Still, that is of no concern to Reading flying high at the top of the league, but you have to say that Leicester did manage to drag us down to their level for the most part. Floyd on Football is of the opinion that the loss of Glenn Little through injury sustained on Boxing Day is a real blow and that showed tonight as his ready-made replacement John Oster totally failed to shine. Leicester were more than content to sit back and Reading, missing the imperious Little, totally failed to display the guile and craft to break their unambitious visitors down. That said, if referee Wiley had not bottled a decision to award a penalty for a foul by the Foxes 'keeper Douglas on Kitson midway through the first half perhaps Reading might have gone on to win quite handsomely. Unfortunately Wiley dismissed the appeals with an air of incompetent arrogance on a night of bizarre decisions. The Premiership official booked 6 players in all, 4 of them wearing Reading colours which in itself was remarkable given that the visitors won the foul count - the only thing they'll be winning for quite some time.

Can there be a more despicable underhanded snivelling cheat in the Championship than Leicester's Joey Gudjonsson? Floyd on Football had already marked the card of the little Icelandar with the attitude problem after witnessing his gamesmanship in each of the three encounters between the clubs last season, but the Foxes number 16 was on top form tonight. After a controversial first half incident when Doyle was dragged back when clean through only to be flagged offside, Gudjonsson flung himself to ground after a flare up off the ball with Sidwell as if he'd been the victim of a happy-slapping incident, only to spring to his feet when the officials saw no reason to take any action. In the second half, Gudjonsson went right through Sidwell on the touchline and was deservedly cautioned yet had the sheer check to make diving gestures. You reap what you sew in this life and, in a similar way that Robbie Savage is targetted in the Premiership, Gudjonsson may soon begin to find himself on the receiving end and you suspect that, like Savage, he will struggle to take the same kind of treatment that he dishes out.

Thankfully, Reading snared the Foxes in the second half to send Gudjonsson and his cronies back home to Leicester empty handed as they deserved to be for their cynical gamesmanship throughout. The first goal came after the otherwise solid Gerrbrand slipped to allow the ever-willing DOYLE to skip clear and finish cooly under Douglas for the break-through. After a flurry of substitutions which saw Shane Long make his debut, fellow substitute Bryn GUNNARSSON flicked a looping header over the Leicester 'keeper from Shorey's set-piece delivery following a foul on Doyle. That came with barely 5 minutes remaining and Reading wiped the metaphorical Foxes blood over their faces with a tenth straight league win. Sometimes, blood sports don't quite seem as cruel.

Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Ingimarsson, Sonko, Oster (Gunnarsson, 83), Sidwell, Harper, Convey (Hunt, 71), Doyle, Kitson (Long, 80). Subs not used: Stack, Makin.

Floyd's Favourite: Sonko. Towering. Leicester's long-ball tactics were meat and drink.


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