Sunday, September 17, 2006

COLIN IV: SEOL DESTROYING Sheffield United 1-2 Reading

The only man in Britain who thought that Championship runners up Sheffield United were a better side last season than the Reading team which finished a mere sixteen points ahead of the Blades last season is United's manager, the 'charismatic' Neil 'Colin' Warnock. Presumably, he must have thought that his side had their best chance yet of winning a Premiership match yesterday afternoon, but his hopes were dashed with sixteen seconds in a match in which Reading led from start to finish with the eventual scoreling flattering the home side.

Colin had commented pre-match in the media that Sheffield United with their large fanbase and crowds of 30,000 would be better equipped for the Premiership than Reading. You'd have thought by now that the Blades boss would have learned that this kind of nonsense basically writes the opposition team talk for them, gives your opponent a bit more of an edge and a will to beat you. You only had to look at Convey's performance yesterday; one of our less impressive performers in our opening Premiership encounters, Bobby will have no doubt remembered Colin's stinging rebuke of our young American after last season's Brammall Lane penalty incident. It was Convey's long ball over the top of the woefully inadequate Blades skipper Morgan which allowed DOYLE to run clear and slot home past debutant 'keeper Bennett in front of the dancing Royals fans with barely a quarter of a minute played. What is more, it was Sheffield United who had kicked off!

Warnock had spoken of the importance of the home crowd at Brammall Lane (barely 25,000 by the way, Colin, nothing near the 30k you'd hoped for an expected) and Reading had silenced them immediately, indeed for the first hour of the game all the noise was made by a gleeful travelling contingent who took great delight in taunting the Blades manager - he just makes it so easy for you to do so. Reading took the game to the home side in the first half and it should have perhaps been three or four before half time. Seol's stinging effort warmed Bennett's palms for his second touch in United colours (his first had been to pick the ball out of the net), Harper danced through at the end of a classy move to angle a shot onto the upright and Lita's first time effort from Sidwell's cut back was deflected behind.

United were all over the shop, Colin remained for once impassive on the touchline and the veteran porker David Unsworth was booked for flattening a scampering Doyle. This was at times embarassing stuff in the first half as a young, fit and hungry Reading made Sheffield United look like a struggling Sunday league outfit let alone a top flight side. Premiership, you're having a laugh indeed. In fact it was the Reading support who were laughing twenty five minutes in; Shorey's measured ball into Lita, lay off to SEOL one touch and bang from the edge of the box for 2-0. Happy days, we were watching an inevitable piece of history in the making - RFC's first ever away points in the top division.

The second half was just as one sided in terms of chances as Ingimarsson's by line pull back was met by Lita who should have scored and his foiled by Bennett with a smart header from a freekick with Ivar inches away from gobbling up his second goal of the week from the loose ball. So it was disappointing and surprising in equal measure when United pulled one back; Sonko allowed HULSE to spin onto the wretched Ade Panicbiyi's flick to rifle past Hahnemann, who looked as stunned as anyone that the home side had finally managed to put together a move of some fluency. This momentarily lifted the home crowd with half an hour left but Reading made a series of changes, withdrawing Lita who got through plenty of hard work and introducing Little for a welcome return to first team action along with the likes of Gunnarsson and Hunt. The rest of the game descended into a bit of a scrap truth be told and Reading rolled their sleeves up to hold out for the points with Hahnemann spilling a long range Gillespie effort around the post late on. This was as close as United, for all their toil, came to taking what would have been an underserved point.

The final whistle signalled the start of a boozy party for the travelling contingent as much alcohol was acquired back at Sheffield station and on the buffet car on the homeward bound train. Back in London on the final leg home, King's Cross/St Pancras station rang out to the familiar strains of Always on my mind, Small town in Berkshire and Bill Oddie as the travelling army celebrated our place in the UEFA Cup positions. Europe may be a pipe dream perhaps, but for Sheffield United it seems even thoughts of mere survival would be far fetched. Poor old Colin; four defeats and one draw for him in the last five Brammall Lane encounters with us. They are still the better side though, honest.

Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Ingimarsson, Sonko, Seol (Gunnarsson, 65), Sidwell, Harper, Convey (Hunt, 71), Doyle, Lita (Little, 65). Subs not used: Stack, Long.

Floyd's Favourite: Seol. Best yet in his short Reading Korea.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home