Sunday, March 05, 2006

WUTHERING HEIGHTS Burnley 0-3 Reading

Out on the wiley, windy Moor we rolled over Burnley. This game was in doubt for a while though, as the stands around Burnley's Turf were subject to a late safety check due to the adundance of ice and snow around Lancashire. There were no such doubts as to the destination of the points however; as soon as Convey's Exocet effort put Reading ahead it was a question of how many against the not-so-vintage Clarets.

When Reading are playing to Premiership audiences next season as we surely will be, Floyd on Football will miss visiting pleasant, understated little venues such as Turf Moor. A hair of the dog pint (or two) of Thwaites Smooth went down very nicely indeed in the Burnley cricket club pavilion before the game. As England's cricketers toiled on the sub-continent thousands of miles from home, we looked out over the pitch upon which James Anderson learned his trade and the conditions were probably unplayable seeing as how a couple of inches of snow covered the outfield. The flying snowballs of the Burnley child-chav army as we emptied our pints and headed towards the ground were as close as we got to a threat from the locals all day and fortunately the kids were about as accurate with their efforts as their home team's strikers are in front of goal.

Not that they got much chance to threaten even if, once again, this was a far from polished Reading performance. Having polished off a rather excellent meat and potato pie (what is it with Lancashire and football pies? Stand up and take a bow Burnley, Preston and Wigan) it didn't take Convey too long to make mincemeat of Burnley. Hahnemann's hoof was headed down by Lita for CONVEY to size up his chance and send a 25 yard fizzer high over the head of Jensen who didn't move - there is, after all a perfectly good net to stop a belting goal such as that. Ten minutes played and every reason to feel very happy and optimistic, particularly given the pessimism of an aged Clarets fan before the game who advised Floyd on Football that one goal would be enough for us to take the points, so toothless are Burnley's attack these days.

For however sublime our opening goal was, the rest of our play in the first half was sloppy and over-complicated at times. The ever-delicate Oster got an early knock and hobbled around doing precious little until being replaced by Little early in the second half. Sonko was attempting to prove himself as the black Beckenbauer with a series of pirouettes and delicately chipped passes; however, these efforts were so poor in their execution that they only served to prove himself as the african Norman Wisdom. Burnley's riposte to our first goal was unconvincing and about as scary as the Chuckle Brothers attempting a Hammer Horror re-make; the home side failing to get even close to the target on their rare purposeful forays forward and they also suffered from the awesome crossing ability of the woeful Frank Sinclair who shinned a couple of crosses hopelessly into the jeering Reading support behind the goal.

The only worry all afternoon was a serious injury to Leroy Lita. The busy Convey fed our England Under 21 international on the edge of the box, and in attempting to carve out an opportunity for himself which was easily blocked, Lita landed awkwardly and was helped off the pitch on a stretcher to sympathetic applause from all four sides of the ground. The initial diagnosis is a broken ankle and Floyd on Football wishes Leroy all the very best with his recovery. The sombre mood was eased somewhat ten minutes into the second half after Harper had already forced Jensen into an excellent save and Gunnarsson had a headed effort hacked away from the goal line following a Little freekick. It was another accurately floated deadball from the ex-Clarets man, who was generously applauded by the locals, which led to that second goal - the home defence had probably earmarked Kitson for attention as SONKO nipped in to bury the header.

This Reading side simply do not waste two goal leads especially against mediocrity like Burnley, and for the rest of the game the vocal Reading support behind the goal entertained themselves by asking various members of the coaching staff for a wave, imploring the Burnley folk to believe us when we say we're going up and also indulging in a chant-a-thon with a pocket of Hereford United fans who had joined us for the afternoon after their own long trek up to Morecambe had fallen foul of the weather. Floyd on Football also enjoyed the pleasant backdrop of snow-topped hills over the roof of the Jimmy McIlroy Stand at the far end from us; a pleasant day in late, late winter and it wasn't even too cold. The remainder of the play was scrappy as Burnley felt almost obliged as the home side to attack in order to get back into the game but for all their huff and puff the only save Hahnemann had to make was a parried effort from Lafferty which was easily gathered at the second attempt. A cool, wintry day in the north had long since erased Floyd on Football's early morning hangover so much so that an injury time third, a KITSON tap in created by Hunt's sharp byline cutback, was celebrated with gleeful jump-onto-seat vigour.

That was that. Not a classic game of football, but a classic Reading performance - we'll mop up your attacks and kill you on the break. With Sheffield United wobbling like a jelly on a trampoline and dropping yet more home points this time to Crewe the night before, Reading are seemingly leaving the Blades behind our wuthering, wuthering, Wuthering Heights.

Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Ingimarsson, Sonko, Oster (Little, 53 (Hunt, 83)), Gunnarsson, Harper, Convey, Doyle, Lita (Kitson, 45). Subs not used: Stack, Makin.

Floyd's Favourite: Convey. US Cruise missile.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home