MATCH REPORT: 2005/2006 Season

Reading: Sidwell (25 mins), Doyle (56 mins, pen), Halls (62 mins).
Stoke City: Rooney (59 mins).
Half Time: 1-0
Attendance: 22,119

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 READING 44 102 +66
2 Sheff Utd 43 85 +29
3 Watford 44 77 +23
Reading: Stack, Shorey (Golbourne 64), Makin, Sonko, Halls, Ingimarsson, Sidwell (Dobson 54), Gunnarsson, Hunt, Doyle (Cox 71), Long. Subs Not Used: Hahnemann, Kitson.
Stoke City: Simonsen, Hoefkens, Dickinson, Duberry, Hill, Mbuyi, Kopteff (Rooney 45), Brammer, Russell, Sweeney (Gallagher 51), Bangoura (Henry 71). Subs Not Used: de Goey, Broomes.
Reading: -
Stoke City: -
Referee: S Mathieson (Cheshire).

Against a crude and physical Stoke side lacking any attacking flair or imagination the Reading machine rolled on without half their first choice players. City were unable to prevent the Royals from passing the 100 points mark in spite of their negative approach. Experimenting with a 4-3-3 formation in which Hunt featured as a third forward alongside Long and Doyle, Reading dominated the first half but only had a single goal to show for their efforts. On twenty-five minutes Ingimarsson floated over an excellent free kick from the left, and with nobody interested in marking him, Sidwell nodded past Simonsen from close range. For all their dominance Reading made very few openings. Sidwell had a shot deflected wide on four minutes, Long made a good penetrating run which eventually came to nothing, and Hunt and Shorey whipped in a couple of good crosses. Stack had virtually nothing to do.

The second half was better. Stoke were more positive and Darel Russell was presented with a clear chance three minutes after the interval but Stack made a good save. Reading's second came when Doyle's pace and determination was again the key to success. As he broke through he was brought down. He still had a bit to do however. Having wrestled the ball away from Simonsen he had to fight off Makin for the opportunity to add to his season's haul. As the crowd pointed out, only Murty was perhaps more deserving of the opportunity but he wasn't even on the bench. He must have been kicking himself for not being out there!

That might have been the cue for another rout but City rallied briefly when Rooney pulled a goal back after Ingimarsson had headed against his own post in an attempt to deal with difficult cross. Any lingering hopes of getting back were completely extinguished a couple of minutes later as Reading provided yet another stylish goal. Shorey delivered an outstanding little pass down the left for Hunt who, not for the first time, delivered a superb cross. As Simonsen floundered, stranded by the quality of the cross Hall slid the ball in. I was pleased for him but in fact he had a poor game overall. It could be he needs more time to settle but he seemed to find even the basics difficult today. He did look a little more comfortable when moved out wide on the right late in the game. Long once again demonstrated how to get on the end of a cross with a powerful header which flew just over the bar. But in the end it was comfortable win for the Royals.

Hunt's work rate was outstanding throughout. For him there is no such thing as a lost cause. Goldbourne came on for brief spell and in my opinion looks to have all the qualities required to make a solid Premiership full back. As highly as I rate Shorey as a footballer I worry about his ability to cope with pacy, strong and skilful Premiership forwards. No doubt Shorey will be given ample time to prove himself, as will the rest of the squad, and deservedly so. Finally, just a word about the referee. Rubbish!
John Wells


Quite a surreal game as a Reading team all be it a reserve side ran out very comfortable winners against a poor Stoke team who had nothing to play for. Maybe the points record is keeping us going but to be honest the season is over and with the final two games having no impact on anything league wise let's hope all players end the season injury free. We all know that these final games as Champions are precious times and moments to saviour as we play games in an almost friendly way but the new world in just around the corner and starts around August 19th. Looking at the team who took to the field today it's hard to see beyond Doyle, Sidwell and Shorey on who will play a part in the Premiership nest season. That's in no way deriding the outstanding season Sonko, Ingimarsson and others have had just facing facts. But that's another topic to discuss later, as we smash through the 100 point barrier it really is hard to keep coming up with eulogies and words to describe how good we are and what a season it has been. We simply are the best in this league and all of us who will be going to Sheffield next week and those at QPR last game of the season will be witnessing the final games of the best Reading side without doubt in our long long history, keep enjoying every moment.
Nick Newbury

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