Tuesday, September 12, 2006

LOOK BACK IN ANGER Reading 1-0 Manchester City

Manchester City are MASSIVE. Not necessarily a MASSIVE club as their supporters would have you believe - their last trophy was the highly prestigious League cup some thirty years ago - but certainly a huge, muscular team in stature. And on a bad tempered night marred by four City bookings and one sending off , Reading refused to be bossed by a brusque City outfit packed with experience.

Only SKY tv presenters would talk of six pointers in September with the season in its infancy, but there is no doubt that this was an important result for us. On Saturday we visit winless Sheffield United before a tough run of home fixtures kicks in. We need points to cling onto during what could be a rough ride over the next few weeks and this second home win in succession, built on the foundations of our Wonderwall of a defence, doubled our points tally for the season and catapulted us into the top half on the league where we look down upon Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.

It was a less than certain start though as we were pulled over the park in the early stages by a City side who moved the ball around with Champagne Supernova football, the scouse crook Joey Barton at the hub of things. Hahnemann won the battle of the Americans by smothering Reyna's early effort whilst Reading were caught out down the left hand side by Richards, later caught out by the referee for some quite disgraceful play acting, with Marcus again rescuing us by getting behind the dislikable Dickov's resultant shot. Much like the Boro game on the opening day, Reading looked slugglish and almost too respectful of their visitors as the opening timid blows were exchanged but Sidwell and Harper, who covered every inch of the pitch, began to exert some much needed control of the midfield and City's indisciplined defence began to get tied in knots by Doyle and Lita's relentless running. A foul by Distin on Lita earned the first yellow card and a freekick expertly dispatched by the quiet but willing Convey. INGIMARSSON piled in and earned a goal and a bump on the head for his troubles.

Reading tails were up now and they began to make a previously proficient looking City side look like a Cigarettes & Alcohol pub side. Immense Ivar Ingimarsson was foiled by a stupendous save by Nicky Weaver after lashing a loose ball at the top corner whilst Seol Ki Hyeon's header from a corner quite simply should have given us two goal breathing space. It didn't, and half chances for Coraddi and Sinclair before an interval which everyone needed served menacing notice. Equally menacing was a two-footed tackle from the tempustuous Sinclair on Convey at whom he also threw an elbow at later on during a second half which City dominated possession and territory wise but which Reading won handsomely on chances created. Substitute Samaras forced Hahnemann to Roll With It into a couple of safe saves otherwise it was all over the cross bar the shouting. Talking of shouting, an excellent atmosphere had built up throughout the night with the Reading teamed urged on continuously by a passionate home support.

The Reading back four stood firm as Superman Sonko and Immaculate Ingimarsson effectively carried out The Masterplan of defensive coach Wally Downes and at the other end Sidwell belted a freekick some way wide, Convey sliced an attempt wide which failed to trouble Weaver whilst thunderbolt efforts from Gunnarsson and Doyle following a clever backheel from Long earned the City 'keeper his wages. Doyle was denied by a desperate goal line clearance from Trabelsi in the closing stages after a strident City outfit - the original Dirty Northern Bastards - were reduced in numbers with ten minutes remaining as Dabo introduced Sidwell to his forearm in the style of his club colleague Ben Thatcher who recently knocked a Portsmouth player unconscious during a match. The fact that Reading comfortably saw out the remaining minutes against ten men should Cast No Shadow over a fine win.

Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Ingimarsson, Sonko, Seol (Gunnarsson, 76), Sidwell, Harper, Convey, Doyle, Lita (Long, 75). Subs not used: Stack, Little, Hunt.

Floyd's Favourite: Ingimarsson. Ten out of ten.


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