MATCH REPORT: 2008/2009 Season

Reading: Long (46 mins (pen), 67 mins).
Charlton: Bailey (16 mins), Hudson (85 mins).
Half Time: 0-1
Attendance: 17,875

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 Wolves 38 71 +22
2 Birmingham 38 68 +12
3 READING 36 64 +30
4 Sheff Utd 37 60 +16
Reading: Federici, Rosenior, Duberry, Pearce, Armstrong, Little (Harper 83), Cisse (Noel Hunt 87), Matejovsky, Stephen Hunt (Tabb 60), Long, Doyle. Subs Not Used: Hahnemann, Bikey.
Charlton: Elliot, Butterfield, Ward, Hudson, Youga, Soares (Ambrose 77), Spring (Dickson 71), Racon, Bailey, Zhi (Holland 87), Kandol. Subs Not Used: Randolph, Burton.
Reading: Long, Armstrong.
Charlton: Kandol.
Ref: Anthony Taylor (Greater Manchester).
Reading continued to underperform at home in spite of two confidence boosting away performances last week. Royals fans had to endure yet another frustrating evening as they saw another golden opportunity to gain ground on the top two slip away. Charlton picked up point but they look doomed to relegation already. Boosted by the return of Glen Little and the imminent signing of Dave Kitson the home crowd were in buoyant mood from the kick off. Their optimism however is just as fragile as the team's confidence at the moment.

Charlton, in contrast to the Royals, looked low on confidence from the start and Long ran straight through the centre of their defence but was unable to get his shot away. The first moment of real quality came from Stephen Hunt who whipped in superb ball to the far post which Long almost converted into a goal with a volley from close range. After a scrappy opening fifteen minutes the mood suddenly changed as Charlton outwitted the left side of the Reading defence and Bailey put the visitors ahead when he got on the end of a low cross. Without really finding any rhythm Reading proceeded to carve out chances and Stephen Hunt hit the post and soon after the ball squirmed agonisingly wide from a deflected cross with Doyle unable to apply the finishing touch. Doyle also came close with a free kick which clipped the bar just before half time. Little was dropping deep and combining well with Rosenior but the quality of the crossing was generally not good enough. Long's weaknesses were evident in the first half as his touch let him down at crucial moments. There better things to come from him in the second half.

The equaliser came from a move straight out of the playground. From the kick-off Matejovsky fed Long who again ran straight through the middle of the Charlton defence only this time he was halted by a strong challenge which the referee deemed to be a foul. Long got up and smashed it into the net. Charlton responded positively and the referee became whistle happy for a spell as the game was broken up by a stream of free kicks. Charlton appealed loud and long for a penalty but the referee was tending to give Reading the benefit of the doubt at that stage. Tabb replaced Stephen Hunt after sixty minutes and made an impact almost immediately when his corner was met with a powerful header by Long which should have secured all three points. Having managed to rediscover their scoring touch Reading have now started leaking goals and a conceded a soft goal form a set piece. This time it was Duberry's failure to defend effectively at the back post (Just as he did against Bristol City) which allowed Charlton to salvage a point. There is a strong case for Bikey to come back into the centre of the defence.

If Reading miss out on promotion they will look back on the last two home games as the point where it all went wring, but unbelievably after such an awful run of home results, they are still in with as good a chance as anyone. Buried in the disappointment of dropping points at home it almost went unnoticed that Cisse actually had a decent game winning the ball with some well timed tackles and giving Matejovsky the license to roam and create. The best result of the night was a defeat at Norwich for Cardiff. We could do without them snapping at our heels.
John Wells

After a glimmer of hope in the last two games, Reading, back on home soil once again produced a performance in front of their home fans that defies belief against rock bottom of the league relegation doomed Charlton. We've become a pathetic laughing stock. Football is supposed to played on a pitch not a 100 feet in the air. We literally couldn't string three passes together in the second half, we know because we were counting. We've now dropped twelve points against Forest, Southampton and Charlton and that deserves nothing which is more likely what we'll end up with at the end of the season with this lot. Against Bristol City, Plymouth and last night Charlton Duberry has cost us three vital goals with pathetic donkey marking on the far post. This typifies Readings woes at present. It's rubbish, absolutely rubbish.
Nick Newbury

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A Mark Hudson goal for Charlton denied promotion-chasing Reading a win after they had come from behind to lead. Athletic went ahead when on-loan striker Tresor Kandol crossed from the right for Nicky Bailey to tap in. Shane Long equalised for Reading from the penalty spot after the striker had himself been fouled by Darren Ward. Long grabbed his second, heading home a Jay Tabb corner from close range to give the home side the lead, before Hudson headed in the equaliser.
Reading boss Steve Coppell:
"It seems to be the promotion nobody wants. It's down to us to take the initiative at home. We have to be better. We can't wait for things to happen, we have to make them happen."
BBC Sport