Match Report: 2010/2011 Season

Reading: Kebe (87 mins).
Portsmouth: Ciftci (8 mins).
Half Time: 0-1
Attendance: 16,497

Pos Team P Pts GD
16 Leicester 2 1 -1
17 READING 2 1 -1
18 Middlesbrough 2 1 -2
Reading: Federici, Griffin (Rasiak, 83), Williams, Pearce, McAnuff, Howard, Kebe, Karacan (Antonio, 68), Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Church (Hunt, 72). Subs not used: Hamer, Davies, Robson-Kanu, Taylor.
Portsmouth: Ashdown, Sonko, Dickinson, Brown, Utaka (Ward, 17), Mullins, Hughes, Wilson, Ritchie, Ciftci, Nugent. Subs not used: Pack, O'Brien, Gregory.
Reading: -
Portsmouth: -
Ref: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire).

Reading probably deserved a point yesterday at Fratton park, where going there takes you back to Elm Park particularly the men's toilets! I couldn't make the Scunthorpe game and apparently this was a much better performance, so god knows how bad we were against them. Back four looks decidedly dodgy and we appear to lack that sharpness up front though nobody could complain about work effort. It's very early and it looks like a season of mid table mediocrity based on this showing but will be a lot worse not if but when Sigurdsson leaves. He's different class to the rest and his wonderful free kick which hit the post would have only added more pounds to his value as the vultures in the stands representing the big boys look on. We have a team of two halves , grafters like Griffin, Gunnarsson, Pearce and Howard always put 100% in but the likes of Kebe, McAnuff and Rasiak blow hot and cold like an English summer. I think we're lacking leadership on the field and a good strong centre half would fit the bill nicely, Mills could do it but I fear he thinks he's better than he actually is. Still, one point we have, after playing the two favourites for relegation, so being Reading that means we'll beat Forest next week who are one of the favourites for promotion... as always keep the faith, but don't expect too much. Nick Newbury

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Jimmy Kebe was hailed as "Premier League quality" by Reading striker Simon Church after the Mali winger salvaged a draw at Portsmouth. Kebe bundled the ball over the line past former Royals keeper Jamie Ashdown in the 86th-minute to rescue a point at Fratton Park after Nadir Ciftci put Pompey ahead in the eighth-minute. The 26-year-old was by far Reading's best player... Royals had limited chances in the first-half with Kebe and opposite winger Jobi McAnuff in and out of the game. Church also had a tough time leading the line on his own. He explained: "It's all part of playing as a striker and I love battling away. I knew it would be a bit of a dogfight up there and you get that in the Championship. It's great experience for me and the point we got made it even better... Having 2,000 fans like that behind you drives you on even more and it makes a difference to us on the pitch. After conceding early we always believed in ourselves and knew we could get a point."
Sigurdsson rattled Ashdown's post with a stunning free-kick from 25-yards out in the 52nd minute as a resurgent Royals fought for a way back into the game. Time and time again Kebe beat his man Dickinson, but all too often his final ball was wasted due to a lack of numbers in the box. However, Brian McDermott didn't mess about as he sensed an opening and the 49-year-old manager threw on winger Michail Antonio and strikers Grzegorz Rasiak and Noel Hunt in the second-half. McDermott's gamble paid-off as Kebe was first to poke home Sigurdsson's corner with four minutes to go in a crowded penalty box as Pompey buckled under the pressure.

Reading Post

Jimmy Kebe's 87th-minute equaliser denied Portsmouth victory in their battle for survival on and off the pitch. Manager Steve Cotterill was so short of players that he could only field four substitutes and, against a Reading side that was tipped as one of the pre-season favourites for promotion, they were forced to spend large periods defending. But they showed commendable resilience, rode their luck and almost held on for a victory that would have given them a lift.
They had a slice of luck with the opening goal which came in the eighth minute, when Nadir Ciftci, 18, burst into the area following David Nugent's backheel and blasted in a low cross which hit Reading's Gylfi Sigurdsson and bounced into the net past a stranded Adam Federici. Such an early goal caught Reading by surprise and they took a long time to settle. But after Pompey had suffered another blow, when striker John Utaka limped off after only 17 minutes. A dreadful error by stand-in centre-back Brynjar Gunnarsson let in Nugent, but his pass across the area evaded everyone and the chance was gone. It looked like it might by Pompey's day when Sigurdsson was denied the opportunity to atone for his own goal, as his 25-yard free-kick came back off the inside of the post with Jamie Ashdown well beaten. Nugent had a wonderful chance to settle the contest for Portsmouth but side-footed wide from 15 yards. And that was to prove a costly miss when Reading manager Brian McDermott rang the changes by bringing on three forwards, Michail Antonio, Noel Hunt and Grzegorz Rasiak in a bid to go for broke. With former Reading centre-half Ibrahima Sonko leading the resistance, Pompey held out until three minutes from time when, finally, Icelander Sigurdsson had his moment of joy, supplying the corner from which Kebe equalised. In the end, this was a fair reflection of the play and handed each team their first point of the season - one that could be a long-drawn out affair for both of them.

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