MATCH REPORT: 2007/2008 Season

16 September 2008: CHAMPSIONSHIP
Reading: Doyle (5 mins, 9 mins, 62 mins), Bikey (30 mins), Noel Hunt (50 mins, 64 mins).
Sheff Wed: -
Half Time: 3-0
Attendance: 18,159

Pos Team P Pts GD
3 Preston 6 14 +5
4 READING 6 10 +6
5 QPR 5 10 +3
Reading: Hahnemann, Rosenior, Bikey, Pearce, Armstrong, Kebe, Harper, Karacan, Stephen Hunt (Convey 67), Doyle (Long 63), Noel Hunt (Kelly 77). Subs Not Used: Federici, Sodje.
Sheff Wed: Grant, McMahon, Wood, Spurr, Gilbert, Johnson, O'Connor, McAllister (Smith 62), Esajas (Small 55), Burton (Jeffers 69), Tudgay. Subs Not Used: O'Donnell, Clarke.
Reading: -
Sheff Wed: Gilbert.
Ref: Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire).
This evening Reading demolished a below par Sheffield Wednesday with a devastating display of attacking football. Kevin Doyle helped himself to a second hat-trick in successive home games, and Noel Hunt seized his chance to claim a place in the starting eleven with a fine display of attacking play which included two well taken goals. Wednesday were guilty of some sloppy defending and were severely punished by a Reading side full of energy and purpose. The Royals swarmed all over their shell-shocked opponents. Everyone was looking to get forward, passes and crosses were delivered quickly and Wednesday simply could not cope.

Doyle gave Reading an early lead when Kebe and Rosenior combined to put Noel Hunt into a good position in the box. His pass was perfectly delivered and Doyle obliged with a composed finish. Wednesday almost equalised immediately when the referees assistant allowed Burton a run at goal from an offside position. Hahnemann saved the official from further embarrassment by coming off his line the claim the ball at the forward's feet. Further comedy in the Wednesday defence allowed Doyle to pounce and the ball ended up in the net after a deflection. With Wednesday constantly falling into the offside trap Reading continued to dominate.With barely half an hour gone Hunt curled in a free kick which Bikey met to head home powerfully.Wednesday desperately needed a goal before half time and Burton came close with a well struck shot. Unfortunately for him Hahnemann was alert and made a great save at full stretch low to his right. It was all too much for Wednesday manager Laws. When an extra ball was removed from the pitch he childishly knocked it back causing play to be stopped. Noel Hunt was foiled by an equally good save by Grant shortly before half time.

The result was put beyond doubt with a route one goal confidently tucked away by Noel Hunt. Reading were now surging forward and looked likely to add more to their tally. Karacan was getting through an amazing amount of work. His energy and pace gave Reading a real edge in midfield. The fifth goal soon followed as Doyle spun and smashed a shot inside the near post from the edge of the box. A large number of away fans decided that was enough and headed for the exits. With the job done Coppell immediately withdrew Doyle and Hunt.Convey made an immediate impact skipping past his man down the left before finding Noel Hunt with an incisive pass, who finished superbly. There could and should have been more. Karacan placed his header well, but another excellent save kept it out, and Long hit the bar with a header from a Hunt cross. The few Wednesday fans remaining resorted to humour, chanting 'we want one', but in truth they must have been bitterly disappointed with their team' performance.

With some good players coming back soon to compete for places, things are not looking too bad for the Royals at the moment but they can't afford to keep losing away from home if they are going to make a serious bid for promotion. Wolves and Birmingham have made an ominously good start. The visit to Molineux at the end of the month will give us a good indication of our prospects this season.
John Wells


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Reading manager Steve Coppell: "We prepare the same way for games and there's not much difference between the build-up to one match and another and yet some games it just sparks for whatever reason. It is really difficult for me to put my finger on it. It was chalk and cheese from the way we played on Saturday. We had a mentality to make amends and the start was important. I think it's important to get your noses in front in this league."
BBC Sport

Doyle could hardly have been more productive against a Wednesday side reeling from a nightmare journey south. The Owls were stuck in two motorway pile-ups and were forced to snack on service station food at lunchtime. They were then given another bellyful by Doyle and Co. Laws admitted: It was hardly the best preparation but we cant blame the coach driver, can we? Id like to say Reading played like Real Madrid but 50 per cent of that performance was down to us. We gifted them two early goals and our reaction was panic. Reading smelt it.
The Sun