Sunday, March 12, 2006

I JUST CAN'T WAIT TO BE KING Reading 0-0 Watford

It was typical of our season really. Reading drop home points for the first time since October and yet none of our closest rivals made any ground on us and we actually increased our lead at the top to 15 points with Warnock's mob being sent to Coventry and beaten. At full time, both Reading and Watford supporters joined in with the chants of Neil Warnock is fucking it up -that's your song, Colin - as the Hornets themselves closed to within 6 points of Sheffield United after a nil-nil draw which in truth suited both sides.

Fair credit to Watford, the first team in a while to come to the Madejski with a real positive attacking attitude. They fielded abbrasive ex-Royal Darius Henderson, who did not endear himself to the Reading faithful with his usual aggressive game, in a three-pronged attack with those nippy little pinball wizards Ashley Young and Anthony McNamee. Watford's go-ahead young manager Adrian Boothroyd also had Championship top scorer on the bench and with such attacking riches it was easy to see why the Hornets carry such a deadly sting as divisional second top scorers behind the mighty Royals.

Floyd on Football was of the opinion before the game that any result other than a defeat would be great business for us, and given that his hard fought 0-0 kept Watford 21 points behind us in the table on a day in which Leeds could only draw at home with schizophrenic Norwich this result felt like a a win so I'm still standing by that opinion. Just like the goaless draw at Vicarage Road earlier this season this was a game short on clear cut opportunities and neither goalkeeper was greatly troubled as two decent sides cancelled each other out.

Reading played some neat stuff in the early stages of the game. Kitson had an effort blocked and Doyle went crashing to the deck under the challenge of MacKay. Convey was unfortunate as the ball wouldn't drop for him and he crashed a volley well over the bar which and Watford's Spring was not to be outdone with two efforts of his own high wide and not very handsome. Kitson had a variation on the theme, taking a Doyle flick-on with a leaden first touch and then lashing well over the top from a tight angle. The pace became frantic - Convey was astonishingly cautioned for taking a freekick too quickly whilst Henderson escaped punishment after seemingly shoving Gunnarsson into touch. It was becoming that kind of game, not a quarter asked or given and threatening to boil over as after all Saturday night's alright for fighting. The sides exchanged chances at either end within a matter of moments before the break as Sonko failed to get his head to Convey's inviting centre and McNamee had a decent opening deflected for a corner.

The second half saw even less by way of chances but there was plenty of decent football being played and the match was being played at a fractious pace. Ingimarsson was forced off the pitch with a head injury but returned, bravely bandaged. Eagles and Spring threatened for Watford without causing Hahnemann to break sweat whilst Oster created a rare opening for himself before thumping well over from outside the box. Oster was again a disappointing replacement for Little and it was no sacrifice when he was withdrawn in favour of the far livelier Hunt. Shorey put a promising free-kick into the South Stand and later tip-toed into the box but was again unable to find a finish. Defences were dominating and messrs Mackay, Sonko and Ingimarsson all enjoyed splendid games keeping the wealth of attacking talent on either side in check.

The whistle finally blew on the inevitable 0-0 after Marlon King was denied easily by Hahnemann with the final half-chance of the game. For a goaless fixture, it was entertaining, end-to-end fare with a lack of cutting edge. Both sets of supporters were cheered by the full times displayed by the MadStad scoreboard, particularly the news of the further demise of The Blades which moves Reading a step closer to the title and Watford to within touching distance of automatic promotion. I guess that's why they call it the blues, eh Mr Warnock?

Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Ingimarsson, Sonko, Oster (Hunt,76), Gunnarsson, Harper, Convey, Doyle, Kitson. Subs not used: Stack, Halls, Makin,Long.

Floyd's Favourite: Ingimarsson. Unflappable and unfussy.


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