Sunday, August 27, 2006

PIERLESS Wigan Athletic 1-0 Reading

It was rather appropriate that the weekend on which the town of Reading hosts its world famous music festival that the football team should be sent to the home of Northern Soul. Unfortunately, this was a turgid match in which neither team managed to make sweet music.

Reading made one enforced change to their line up. Calamity Sam Sodje stepped up in place of Ibrahima Sonko who was banished from the Villa Park pitch on Wednesday and would serve a one match ban. The podgy barm-pot put in a midly eccentric display and ocassional looked as comfortable as Mel Gibson holidaying in Tel Aviv, but credit where it is due - by and large (and Sodje is nothing if not large) he fared remarkably well.

It looked like a Reading Festival in the early stages as we settled well, Lita extended Kirkland from the edge of the area but with reinforcements not coming the chance goalkeeper's spillage was easily mopped up by a Kleenex-esque Wigan defence who, truth be told, were rarely unduly threatened throughout. At the other end, Emile Heskey was doing his usual Norman Wisdom impression for Wigan, spending more time on his backside than Abi Titmuss at a John Leslie gang-bang. However, it was the expensive flop who went close with a header from a Valencia flag kick which thudded the crossbar and then shortly before halfime Reading were undone ball a simple ball over the top which Sodje failed to cut out following McCulloch's flick into the path of that man HESKEY and even 'the black Chuckle Brother' doesn't miss chances like that. Poking past Hahnemann, he chose to celebrate gleefully with the Reading supporters behind that goal rather than hunt out a home fan in a frankly embarassing JJB crowd of 14,636.

Reading were a little better after the break, although that in itself is much like saying that Douglas Bader felt much better after the amputation, for this was still uninspired stuff for the most part from a rudderless looking side who lacked inspiration. We won a series of corners throughout which were mostly taken short and wasted; the reasoning presumably being that a straightforward into the mixer delivery would bring us little joy with the short-arsed combination of Doyle and Lita stooping well below the giants of De Zeeuw and the excellent Fitz Hall. Unfortunately our crossing throughout was indeed enough to make Floyd on Football rather cross; Convey and Seol had mediocre games it must be said and both were withdrawn in favour of Hunt and Oster, who looked the part when he came on. Indeed, it was an excellent cross from Oster which Lita missed by inches - you couldn't help but feel that chance would have been meat and drink for the 6 foot plus ginger frame of Kitson - and a brainy piece of play from the welsh subtsitute to put Lita in clean through with a matter of minutes left. Kirkland somethered, Reading never recovered.

At the other end, Heskey's ambitious attempt at a lob sailed all too obviously over the goal and substitute Kavanagh was denied by the chunky cheeseburger legs of Hahnemann when clean through. Truth be told, save a late Reading rally at the end, Wigan were comfortable value for the victory although this was achieved with time wasting tactics which started with more than twenty minutes to go and which went unpunished by the otherwise fussy Mike Riley, the Hyacinth Bucket of referees who would be far better suited to umpiring Basketball matches such was his dislike of the meerest contact upon a Wigan player by a Reading man. The wiry Stephen Hunt twisted and turned his man in the box only to be denied by Valencia as he pulled the trigger in the dying embers of the match, but for the most part for Reading this was the footballing equivalent of taking a long walk off a short pier.

: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Ingimarsson, Sodje, Seol (Hunt, 69), Sidwell, Harper (Lomg, 87), Convey (Oster, 64), Doyle, Lita. Subs not used: Stack, Gunnarsson.

Floyd's Favourite: Oster. Belatedly arrived to add some quality which was so lacking.


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