MATCH REPORT: 2005/2006 Season

Reading: Kitson (46 mins, 78 mins).
Coventry City: -
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 22,813

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 READING 29 72 +46
2 Sheff Utd 29 63 +27
3 Leeds 28 51 +14
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Sonko, Gunnarsson, Little, Kitson, Harper, Ingimarsson, Convey (Hunt 71), Doyle (Lita 87). Subs Not Used: Stack, Oster, Makin.
Coventry City: Fulop, Whing (Hutchison 59), Hall, Williams, Duffy (Impey 81), Doyle, McSheffrey, Scowcroft, Jorgensen (Adebola 74), John, Shaw. Subs Not Used: Ince, Morrell.
Reading: Murty
Coventry City: Williams, Shaw.
Referee: T Bates (Staffordshire).

Reading deserved their win today but City played well enough to give the Royals an anxious period in the second half before Dave Kitson secured the points with a second goal. The game followed a now familiar pattern with the visitors prepared to scrap for every loose ball and close Reading down quickly. There were numerous free kicks with neither side able to make anything of them as City did their best to prevent the Royals from getting into their stride by fair means or foul.

The first significant strike on goal was a downward header well saved by Hahnemann. City were trying to get at the Reading back four but as usual Reading defended as a unit and with some very slick passing gradually took control of the game. For the last twenty minutes of the first half Reading bombarded the City defence with crosses without really creating a clear chance. The best scoring opportunity of the half was spurned by Kitson. Doyle played him in behind the City defence but the big striker opted for a lob when a low shot would probably produced a goal. Fulop saved comfortably. There were several tempting crosses which nobody seemed to anticipate and City were allowed to clear.

Anyone opting to stay in the queue for a pie at half time and returned to their seat late missed a real treat. Having dominated possession in the first half without finding the killer touch Reading immediately took the lead in the second half. Convey deceived his marker and went on a run into the City half before releasing the ball to Kitson. Showing tremendous composure and awareness he beat one man and, as Fulop came out and committed himself, he calmly lifted the ball over him into the empty net.

The goal prompted a City revival and for brief spell Reading struggled to retain possession as City surged forward in search of an equaliser. Adams brought on more attacking players and it took some outstanding saves from Hahnemann to keep City out. In the space of a few minutes Reading's 'keeper had to get down smartly to save a well struck free kick from Hutchison and then make a world class save from Scowcroft. As the ball looped towards the top corner the big American launched himself backwards and flicked the ball out from under the bar for a corner. Remarkable agility for anyone, but amazing for someone with such a huge frame. Seconds later City smacked a long range effort against the bar. That was enough to convince me it was going to be Reading's day again.

A weary Convey went off and Hunt provided his usual injection of energy. This time he created the crucial second goal. Showing great tenacity he got past the full back at the second attempt on the wing and crossed low for Kitson to tap in from close range. Doyle nearly added a third with a snap shot from outside the box but Fulop saved well, and Hahnemann had to make another smart stop in the last minute to keep his eighteenth clean sheet of the season, but the second goal knocked the stuffing out of City.

It is very hard to play a against Reading this season. They are very organised defensively but incredibly flexible in attack. Players switch positions, take players on, and when required they keep possession with good touch and quick accurate passing. If teams sit back they concede under intense pressure. If they go on the offensive, they are punished with swift counter attacks. What impressed me today was the way everyone was involved in attack. With Harper prepared to drop really deep when required, even Ingimarsson was able to make a significant impact moving into midfield. Shorey and Convey combined superbly at times today, and Little continued to embarrass defenders with his close control and trickery. Kitson was back to his very best today, not just because of his goals but he was getting in some great blocks and tackles too. Yet another fine team performance but if I was pushed to select a man of the match, Hahnemann would just edge it.
John Wells


That was close! Had all the possession in the first half with some good chances but nothing to show for it. An excellent and breathtakingly simple goal at the start of the second half - but then Coventry piled on more pressure for 15 minutes than any other team has done all season. We survived thanks to some good work from Marcus, but as importantly, quite some luck - with no Coventry player being in the right place at the right time when our goal was open. Great work by Hunt gave us the second and then it was plain sailing. To round it off - Leeds and Sheffield United failed today... so another big step forward.
Crowthorne Seb

Things are changing at the Madejski as were seen by the crowds queuing to get into the game before kick off yesterday and the huge queue for tickets for West Brom after another precious victory against a resilient Coventry team. Talk about a game of two halves, if it had been a boxing match the ref would have stopped it in the first half such was our dominance but as soon as we scored almost immediately after the kick off for the second half Coventry came to life and if was us penned back for twenty minutes or so and thanks to the brilliant Marcus in goal we held out and went on to a well deserved victory. Such is the confidence of entire squad we seem to have that wonderful ability at the moment to be able to step up game when ever we want to produce chances and ultimately score goals and win games. Convey, Little, Doyle, Shorey, Murty, Kitson and Harper were all again quite brilliant, with Kitson's tackling back typifying the spirit in the team, such joy to see our players putting so much effort in. After nearly a month away it was really fantastic to see us playing as well as when I last saw us and playing even better. These really are special times and after the game with our so called challengers dropping points we all agreed the situation is almost surreal quite unbelievable. We are the best team in the league no doubt and I've now no doubt we'll go up as champions. You don't achieve what we have this season and be a staggering twenty one points clear of third by luck, we are simply playing with such consistency and with such flair that we really are that good. Palace on Friday will be the biggest test to date, yet we find ourselves in such a position that a draw would be a fine result and one I'd take now but the way we are playing who knows, don't forget we have the Sky curse to contend with too. Before that lets enjoy the cup game against West Brom, play the reserves and beat them, thinking about it how about the double this year!
Nick Newbury

At last! We have finally beaten Coventry at home!!! I have family up there who have always seen our games with them as an easy 3 points (which they usually have been), so it was very satisfying indeed to not only beat them, but to also keep a clean sheet against them for the first time. Although Reading rode their luck more than a little when at 1-0, thanks to some excellent goal keeping, poor finishing & a slice of good fortune with their effort that hit the bar, the usual way games pan out vs. Coventry didn't materialise for once. The 2nd goal was essential to ease the nerves & great credit to Hunt for the way he set up Kitson. Thankyou Reading, I can hold my head high in the Midlands for once!
Caversham Royal

Good honest match report, as reviewed by a Sky Blues fan. I thought your keeper was excellent on the few occasions we got on target, and Doyle looks a class act as well. Only one question, why was there so many empty seats (must have been between 500 & 1,000) in the Royals areas of the ground, when the match was a "sell out" for Reading fans?
Chris - Basingstoke

Once again a solid all round performance and a real threat going forward.However Coventry demonstrated an inspired determination to break our dominance in the League and the brilliance of Marcus denied them even one goal.As acknowledged by our friend Adie Williams his team would have almost certainly taken something from this game against any other team in the Division. As long as the team spirit prevails the squad WILL win the League and the lads will benefit both financially and more particularly will have achieved something that as a loyal supporter I have waited over 50 years to experience! Keep it up lads.
Terry, Isle of Wight.

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