LEAGUE DIVISION TWO
READING 1 PETERBOROUGH UNITED 1
(Half Time: 1-0)
Reading Scorers: Cureton (24 mins)
Peterborough Scorers: Lee (54 mins)
Date: 17 February 2001
Attendance: 10,342

Reading: Whitehead, Newman, Viveash (sent off), Whitbread, Murty, Parkinson, Caskey (Hodges), Igoe, Cureton, Butler, McIntyre (Robinson). Subs not used: Howie, Rougier, Jones.

Peterborough: Taylor, Hooper, Rea, Edwards, Drury, Williams, Hanlon (Clarke), Forsyth, Oldfield, McKenzie, Forinton (Lee). Subs not used: Gill, Green, Macdonald.

Bookings: Igoe, McIntyre, Viveash (Reading); Hooper (Peterborough). Sent Off: Viveash (56 mins)
Referee: M J Jones (Chester)

After last week's thoroughly enjoyable away win at Brentford this was a huge let down as Reading returned to the Madejski Stadium and failed to take the full three points. With teams above us drawing and a couple out of action this was a great opportunity to move as high as fourth place in the table - but Reading found Peterborough much harder opposition than perhaps they should have done. Before the game there was no reason not to think we'd make it four straight league victories, and at half time it seemed even more likely with Jamie Cureton giving Reading the lead mid-way through the first half. However, by the final whistle a point seemed the best we could hope for.

The game certainly wasn't a spectacle of great football, but at least there was some spirit on show from Reading as they continued to look for victory after being reduced to ten men with just over ten minutes of the second half gone. Peterborough have ex-Reading player Martin Williams to thank for helping earn an away point - not due to any footballing skills the player might have, but for his contribution in getting Viveash sent off for his second yellow card of the game. Viveash will be extremely disappointed - especially after a decent first half performance helped Reading keep it very tight at the back.

With Reading in the lead Viveash picked up a deserved yellow card just over five minutes into the half for a challenge near the corner flag down the Peterborough right. The resulting free-kick led to Peterborough's equaliser as the ball was crossed deep into the area to find Peterborough substitute Jason Lee umarked in the centre of the box. Lee had plenty of time, and with Whitehead and the defence nowhere, headed it back across the goal and into the back of the net just inside the near post to make it 1-1.

Viveash would have been annoyed enough already but then, not long after the game restarted, Martin Williams went on a run down the right wing and found Viveash ready to make the challenge. Viveash went in, although it wasn't clear if there was contact, and Williams stumbled before regaining balance only to then throw himself to the ground. Viveash was called over by the refereee and shown his second yellow card of the game. He clearly couldn't believe the decision as he marched off the pitch and down the tunnel. The resulting free kick was way outside the area - probably by 15 yards - yet Williams had finished his dive well inside the area, clearly showing he'd put his best effort in to get Viveash sent off. That was probably Williams' biggest contribution to the game - he spent the rest of the game failing to control or pass the ball and generally looking a bit crap much to the amusement of the Reading fans who booed his every touch.

The equaliser meant that Peterborough looked the most likely side for the first time in the game. Reading had looked the better side throughout the first half, without ever really setting the game on fire. Although there were some lovely moments of football the game seemed to be dominated by long hoofs up the park again and far too many misplaced passes from both sides. Compared to Saturday, and the away win at Brentford, Reading looked rusty. It was the same team but it just wasn't as effective. Perhaps it wasn't helped by another nearly dead atmosphere in the Madejski Stadium compared to last week's amazing atmosphere with the travelling Reading fans roaring the team onto victory.

After an unexciting opening twenty minutes Jamie Cureton had Reading's first real chance of the match by sticking one well wide. Moments later Cureton linked with Sammy Igoe down the right wing to put Reading ahead. Cureton prodded it wide to Igoe who crossed it in towards the middle of the box. The ball never got across though, with Cureton sticking his head on it for a beautful goal. If he meant to score it like that then it must be one of the best he's scored - if not then some great initiative to stick his head on it as the ball came to him just inside the box on the right - well out from goal. The ball looped over the keeper and fell a treat into the far left corner. 1-0 to the Royals.

A couple of minutes later and it looked like Reading were 2-0 up after Cureton was again involved to play the ball to Martin Butler down the left. Butler ran through and cut into the box before crossing to the far post where little Sammy Igoe was steaming in to stick the ball into the net. We were all celebrating while the linesman was busy signalling for offside. Assuming it was offside it must have been close. But at 1-0 up Peterborough looked well out of the game, unable to break through the Reading defence and starting to lose out in midfield with Parky winning loads of balls all over the place. We were doing fine for posession but seemed to be finding it hard to string any passes together to create some chances to stretch the lead.

The second half was a different story after Peterborough pulled level and then Viveash got his red card. After looking comfortable enough at the end of the first half, Reading found themselves in all kinds of trouble as Peterborough kept threatening to take the lead. After a period of solid Peterborough pressure, in which they did everything but score, Reading recovered to go on the hunt for the win themselves. Cureton almost scored with a powerful effort from the edge of the box which was saved by the keeper, Igoe almost followed up the rebound - but it wouldn't have counted as he was offside anyway. By full time it seemed the game was destined to be a draw - lets hope we don't end up missing out on something by two points later this season.
Graham

Following report by Neil Cole:
Reading’s winning run came to a disappointing end, as the Royals were forced to hold out for a point at home against Peterborough. After taking a first half lead Reading were strong favourites to get their fourth win in a row, but a lapse of concentration in the second period allowed the visitors to leave Madejski with a well earned point. Reading’s cause wasn’t helped by the dismissal of Adi Viveash, which forced them onto the back foot for the final third of the game.

Viveash was sent off for two bookable offences, both of which were within a disastrous five minute spell at the start of the second half which also saw Peterborough score the equaliser. The second booking was questionable, as it appeared that former Reading player Martin “Skittles” Williams tumbled some time after Viveash supposedly made contact with him. However, Viveash can’t have too many complaints as there is no denying both of his challenges were late, and failed to win the ball. As well as ending our chances of winning today’s match, the loss of Viveash through suspension for two games could prove to be very costly. The last time he was missing from the side we were stuffed at home by Millwall, showing what an important part of the team he is.

One positive note is that at least we now have Adrian Whitbread at the back, and the Portsmouth man had another good game on loan for us. Ricky Newman was forced to play centre-back with him after the dismissal of Viveash, and he too played well in this unfamiliar position. This game also saw the return of Matt Robinson, the second half substitute making his first appearance since the Millwall game in January. His return to fitness should allow Newman to return to the right-back position on Tuesday, a position currently filled by Graeme Murty. Murty had a poor game today, and was once again proved to be out of position when played at the back. After his successful run in January at right-midfield, there must be a case for moving Murty back there on Tuesday and allowing Newman to play right-back.

The first half went according to plan today, and Reading held a deserved lead at half-time. Jamie Cureton had a number of chances throughout the game, and was unlucky to only find the net once. Shortly before his goal, he nearly scored with a superb turn and volley from the edge of the area which went narrowly over. The goal came on 24 minutes, as Cureton headed a Sammy Igoe cross over the Peterborough keeper to give Reading the lead. It was a superbly taken goal, and got Cureton his 19th of another great season. Igoe had the ball in the net himself shortly afterwards, but the linesman had already flagged for offside and the effort was ruled out.

Peterborough didn’t threaten at all in the first half, and managed only two shots at goal. The second half was very different though, as it soon became apparent that Barry Fry’s half-time talk was a lot more effective than Pardew’s. Ex-Forest striker Jason Lee was brought on to give Posh more attacking options, and within ten minutes he had brought them level. Viveash’s first caution resulted in a free-kick for Peterborough, which Williams swung in for an unmarked Lee to head home. It got worse just a minute later, as Williams’ tumble saw Viveash sent off. Reading were forced to re-shuffle, and it was all Peterborough for the remaining half hour.

Barry Fry made another very effective substitution, as Andy Clarke was brought on. The introduction of the ex-Wimbledon forward meant ‘Borough had four strikers on the pitch, and it became clear that Reading would be on the defensive for the rest of the match. There were some worrying moments for the Royals fans, as a Lee effort hit the side netting, and then a last minute free-kick flew narrowly over.

Reading came close to what would probably have been an undeserved winner, as Cureton hit a long range shot which forced a decent save out of the Peterborough keeper. The final whistle went, and the disappointment of dropping two points was mixed with relief that we had held out for so long with ten men.

With Stoke and Wigan also recording disappointing home draws, we didn’t lose too much ground on those above us. However, we really should have beaten a struggling Peterborough side at home, but instead we threw away the chance to move up to fourth in the league. It’s hard to know what to expect from Tuesday’s game at Oldham, with Reading performing so inconsistently at the moment. With a full programme of games though, it’s vital we take something from the game at Boundary Park.

Post Match Opinions

Don't blame the ref! Sure he had a crap game but once again the Royals let two priceless points slip away. How many times do we get the chance to leap up the table take advantage of opponents results and blow it! Too many bloody times, that's how many! Once in front we should have taken the game by the proverbials and gone on to an easy win, but hey, this is Reading FC! That aside, we done well to hold on to the point following the sending off of Ade Viveash. Looked like Williams scored 5.9 for the dive. I thought we defended very well with 10 men and up front they looked very dangerous. So the lads didn't do too bad. Parky played well and Butler and Cureton worked hard and Igoe threatened without producing that final touch. If the second goal had not been disallowed I think we'd have got a few. Heard Pardew after the game extolling the virtues of the long ball game and asking the supporters to be more tolerant! Ten points from the last twelve is good form, if we'd have won today, a draw at Oldhamwould have been a good result now we have to win . We can do it!
-- Nick Newbury

At the end we were glad of a point. It was a game that showed us for lacking a solid professional attitude. The desire may be there, the ability certainly is, but we give away too many free kicks, get too many yellow cards and continue to play tunnel vision football. The result is that we are not creating enough chances to put away poor teams like we saw today. The key moment in the game was obviously the sending off. From high in the North Stand, I couldn't say if Viveash made contact with Williams or not.
What it did cause was panic in the Royals. Before that however we were in control of the game. We had sufficient control to have been two or three up if we had shown a bit more subtlety. Whilst we still play well as individuals, the coherence is not there. In the first half the defence looked solid, the midfield competent and up front Cureton was sharp.
The only disappointments were Caskey, who never got going, and Butler who still has not got it back. (I still believe that these two are our key players and it is when they are really on top of their game that we look a good side). The other worry was Whitehead. He demonstrated that his distribution with his hands was as poor as when he kicks it. When we went in one nil up at half time I think we all expected us to go on to a comfortable win. Barry Fry's teams do not settle for a draw however. He only knows how to attack. Their equaliser showed a complete lack of marking at the centre of our defence, a surprise to everyone. That gave the opposition belief. The rest is history.
Individually there were some good points to the match. I thought that Murty did well, and Newman showed some good defensive qualities. Igoe had a good game, though should have been able to hold his position for the disallowed goal. Cureton was sharp and Parkie was Parkie. Our game still lacks width. Whilst when things are going well we can play nice patterns in and around the box, we do not do that enough, and we certainly do not get around the back sufficiently. The positives. 10 points from 4 games. Other teams are stuttering. we need 10 points from the next 4 games, then it will start getting tense!

-- Ken

I was one of the cheapskate fans who sat in the 2 seats in the West Stand for the filming of the Lucozade Sport advert. The advert will feature an Emile Heskey lookalike being berated by a Victor Meldrew lookalike coach with binoculars. The "coach" was a polite version of Mad Dog Allen, he was very animated and passionate, and the "player" could have been useful for Reading in the second half - very tall and athletic, probably able to win more in the air than Butler did. Coming to a TV screen near you soon!
The first half was OK, Reading the better team and they deserved to be in front. It was disappointing that the second was disallowed for offside. Why didn't he (Igoe) look along the line? The only threat to our fairly solid looking defence was the impressive McKenzie down the left for P'boro. The second half P'boro played to their strengths using their pace and their height advantage. They raised their game and Jason Lee coming on was a good substitution by Barry Fry. Any corner or free-kick looked a real threat and it was no surprise when they scored. The sending-off turned the game. If it was a dive by "Skittles" then why was it not spotted by the refs assistant? Viveash got sympathetic applause as he walked off, but it cost us the game. Reading did well to hang on for a point.
Why were Reading unable to raise their game when the chips were down; where was the fight? They often say a team of 10 men are harder to beat, sadly this was not the case today. They did well to salvage a point!

-- Telford Royal

I think the Royals did extremely well yesterday considering for most of the 2nd half it was 10 against 12 - that was the worst display of refereeing I have ever seen - really! Whilst as a Royals fan, I know I am partisan, it seemed that Boro got all the decisions in the 2nd half and I had 2 neutrals friend with me who thought the same. I seriously hope that the club will complain to the FA about that Ref - he was really crap.
-- Paul

A sort of report on the game! I wasn't actually at the Madejski today and had to listen to Radio Berkshire.
Three comments - After last weeks sterling performance this was a massive letdown, especially as we knew before the game we could go fourth. If you can't go 1-0 up and make it stay that way with that as the prize you will be a team that reaches the play offs, not automatic promotion.
We seem to be incapable of coming back in to a game when the opposition score. I was able to listen to the last 20-25 minutes on the radio. We seemingly created 1 chance with Sammy Igoe missing a good chance. No team that can only do that will survive in a division higher. Teams like Walsall can go two behind at in form Bournemouth and still achieve a result. To do this you need to create 4 or 5 chances and you might get 2 - a bit like we did at Brentford.
Thank goodness I go to games and don't have to listen to those insufferable buffoons on the radio. Their commentary was absolutely pathetic. 'Joel' must have told me 10 times about the Adi Viveash incident. His co-commentator kept adding a bit a bout it being Martin Williams a 'former Royal' etc. It was completely irrelevant by that time. Terrible stuff. Dissapointed - but I'll probably go to Boundary Park on Tuesday as I've got the day off.
We often bounce back well after these sort of games.

-- Crowthorne Royal.

I don't care what anyone else has to say, we were cheated out of two points by someone we got rid of for being a lazy cheat - and he still plays the same way. Viveash is innocent!
-- Pete

Whitehead may be a decent shot stopper, but like Howie his distribution is AWFUL, especially yesterday. I lost count of the number of times in the second half he put the defence under pressure with pointless misdirected hoofs up to Peterborough players on the halfway line. Short goal kicks? sound like a good idea to me.
-- Ian

At one nil in the first half, I thought we might go on to get a hatful without really trying. Sadly so did the players at the start of the second half - we seemed to think we would walk it and didn't get going and ended up paying for it. The sending off might well have been a dive but having just been booked I think Viveash should have stayed on his feet and not given Williams the chance to make anything out of it. With 10 men a draw was a reasonable result but we should be beating teams like Posh, so this was points dropped.
After Brentford I thought we might get on a roll, this is a setback but we can go on from here - Oldham is now very important. But whilst I've still got the faith, my head tells me, and this might be harsh, we might not be good enough. If we get to the play offs, are we really going to beat the Bristol City's and Stoke on current form? I think we need a bit more and waiting for the injured to return might be too late. So someone wide, someone tip top in midfield needs to be added - we need more quality. Given the games ahead and that promotion is entirely in our hands - why not make sure - it doesn't seem such a gamble to me and can we take another year in Div 2. At the moment if we do get up, I feel at best we will only have scraped it, and that's too close for comfort.

-- Chris.

Having called for Caskey to be put in the middle all season he goes and performs like the invisible man in a game we should have walked. He really was very poor. I still feel his mind has left the club but the body is still here. He can open defences with passes sometimes but too often picks the ball up in front of the back four and passes it sideways or backwards (or to the opposition!). I was glad to see him substituted and even with 10 men Hodges made more of an impression.
Why not try Rougier behind Cureton and Butler with Parky, Hodges And Igoe in midfield? Especially in games at home where they come to defend. Peterboro were poor, although once they brought former Pineapple Head on they did have some threat. Now we must go on to take six points away this week otherwise we will struggle to pip Stoke/Bristol City to the play offs!

-- David, Ascot Royal

Viveash was a bloody idiot. Whether Williams dived or not is irrelevant, having just been booked the last thing you do is lunge in again. You have to stay on your feet. Viveash slid in, didn't get the ball, and deserved to be sent off. It would be good to see a Reading team using their heads and actually try to pass the ball, instead of the aimless long ball stuff we have all become accustomed to over the last few months. We got what we deserved.
-- Alex

I was in the lower West stand, south end - roughly level with the penalty spot and I had an excellent view of Viveash's first "yellow". As the Posh player (McKenzie) chased the ball towards the by-line Adi came out to challenge him, the ball seemed to bounce awkwardly and McKenzie had his left leg raised trying to control it. Adi seemed intent on planting the ball somewhere in the Upper Tier but missed and only succeeded in kicking McKenzie hard on the raised left leg. This produced such a loud crack sound that my daughter thought he'd broken his leg. The more likely cause was contact with his shin pad. Because it is inevitable if you kick someone standing on one leg that he will fall over and, coupled with the sound, I feel the referee was hasty to book Viveash for what was a clumsy challenge rather than a malicious foul. Having booked him once then, as "Skittles" launched himself into his dive, it was inevitable that he would book him again. Even referees can remember back 3 minutes. He obviously thought Adi was a violent homicidal maniac and failed to note exactly how far the cheat managed to get after the "foul" and his only problem was to get his cards out in the right order! But lets face it no ref. changes his mind once he's made his snap decision and we just needed to get on with it. I think Pards did a fair job of re-organising the side and after a while, when the players realised they could hold 'Borough they did put together a few promising moves. With maybe a bit more adventure - bringing on Rougier towards the end to run at their defence - we might have won the game. Still on the brighter side we did get a point on a day when few other teams around us won. The best entertainment of the day was provided by a Rotund Royals Supporter (RRS) in the lower West stand (seen standing by the exit in a blue & white top in the picture of Adi walking off on the Reading web site). He moved down towards the front later on and, as he attempted to head a ball coming his way, pitched over the seats in front of him. If the ref. is going to be consistent he should have not just booked the offending seats but had them removed. Then again maybe not as there is always the chance the RRS might do it again some day to brighten up a dull match.
Eddie - Salop Royal.

I have watched the highlights on ITV last night and it shows clearly the second yellow card incident. Viveash was tussling with another P'boro' player for possession of the ball as it rolls away from them both, Williams runs past, kicking the ball forward as he goes. Viveash stretching to reach the ball appears to make contact with the side of Williams' right foot, which is on the ground. Williams lands on his left foot and leans towards his left as though about to push off to run after the ball. Williams then throws his weight to his right, falls and rolls onto his back. If sufficient contact was made to up-end Williams then he would have probably fallen to his left or flat on his face. I think Viveash should cite this video evidence to support his case against the sending off. Justice may even catch up with Williams - we can dream can't we?
Eddie -Salop Royal.

I thought Viveash's first booking was thoroughly deserved for a dreadful tackle and the goal from the resulting free-kick was probably what we deserved. In the present climate I think most referees would have tried to give him the benefit of the doubt for the second bookable offence - and there must surely have been some doubt. But this is all part of life in Div 2 ( how many decent refs did we get in Div 1 ! ). All this really illustrates is the fine line between success and failure on any given day. I was largely pleased with last weeks performance at Brentford but other than the result what makes it better than Saturday's which less supporters appear happy with ? At Griffin Park we sat back on our lead and nearly lost it, against boro, facing four strikers, tremendous pressure and a man down for 35 minutes, we were still trying to win it. We all want promotion and Pardews approach to those 35 minutes is almost as encouraging as the win at Brentford. Having watched Millwall on Friday I think we are as good as the other half a dozen decent sides in this division but its going down to the wire. On Saturday the mucky stuff hit the fan but over a 46 game season the luck should even out, keep the faith.
Woodcote Royal

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