MATCH REPORT: 2002/2003 Season

Reading: Forster (16 mins).
Ipswich Town:
Gaardsoe (1 mins), Holland (31 mins), Magilton (70 mins).
Half Time: 2-1
Attendance: 24,108

DIVISION ONE  18 Mar 2003
Pos Team P Pts GD
3 Sheff Utd 36 65 +18
4 READING 38 64 +10
5 Wolves 38 60 +24
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Viveash (sent off 58), Brown, Shorey, Chadwick (Watson 78), Sidwell (Newman 62), Harper, Hughes, Tyson (Salako 55), Forster. Subs not used: Ashdown, Henderson.
Ipswich Town:
Marshall, Naylor, Gaardsoe, Makin, Wilnis, Wright, Holland, Magilton, Reuser, Counago (Darren Bent 71), Marcus Bent. Subs not used: Bowditch, Pullen, Richards, Westlake.
Reading: None (Viveash sent off).
Ipswich Town:
Referee: C R Wilkes (Gloucester).

Reading's recent up-and-down run continued tonight with a 1-3 away defeat at play-off rivals Ipswich Town. With Leicester City recovering their form to win again tonight it's now safe to assume that the Royals outside chances of an automatic promotion spot have entirely disappeared. Finishing in the play-off positions this season will of course be a massive acheivement, and although we're still looking good for a top six finish, it's teams like Ipswich that are threatening to catch up. This victory for Ipswich saw them move within two points of the play-offs and within just seven points of the Royals. This was a disappointing result but certainly not a devestating result so long as we can bounce back on Saturday when we visit Bradford.

A recent concern for Reading boss Alan Pardew has been the lack of available central defenders for selection. With Mackie out suspended and Williams still injured Pardew was forced to pair up Viveash and Brown in the centre of defence. It would be another set-back for Pardew when Viveash put himself up for suspension by picking up an immediate red card early in the second half for what appeared to be a rather stupid head butt. Viveash ran a good distance before flying into the Ipswich player, sending him to the floor after clear contact with his head. You wouldn't really expect something of a such a seasoned professional - and it was the point at which there was no way back into the game for the Royals. Reading trailed 1-2 at that point and the lack of a stable defence resulted in the Royals letting in another before full time for a clear Ipswich win.

Despite the disappointing second half there was still some positive signs from the Royals during a strong period in the first half. However, we got off to the worst possible start, going a goal down within the opening thirty seconds. The game had only just kicked-off when Reading conceeded a free-kick on the right well outside the area. The free-kick was perfectly placed into the left side of the Reading box and saw Hahnemann come dashing out of his goal but fail to claim the ball. Instead Ipswich defender Gaardsoe rose through the crowd of players to put a decent header firmly into the back of the Reading net.

After the early set back Reading quickly got into the game. First Nicky Forster and then Andy Hughes got shots in as Reading started to enjoy the better of the game. Reading's recent run of dangerous corners continued when Nathan Tyson put in a decent effort. Reading's increased pressure on the Ipswich goal saw Andy Hughes nearly pull the Royals level after twelve minutes when he hit a shot from the right that dipped onto the Ipswich crossbar. However we didn't need to wait long for Reading to get the equaliser. A long ball was played down the right wing and Andy Hughes did well to run onto it, past his man, and put over the cross to Nicky Forster who was legging it towards goal through the middle. Forster's first shot wasn't the best - low but straight at the Ipswich goalkeeper. Thankfully the keeper couldn't hold the shot and Forster popped the rebound home from close range. 1-1, with Reading looking the stronger side.

Reading threatened to pull ahead a few minutes later when Nathan Tyson got in a shot that needed the Ipswich keeper to tip the ball over the crossbar. However, it was a signal for the home side to come back to life - and they reclaimed the lead on the half hour mark when a free-kick not far inside the Reading half was nudged forward and then driven home from well outside the area dipping into the back of the net. An impressive goal that made it 2-1 to the home side at the half time break.

The second half burst into life with the Viveash red-card incident just over ten minutes into the half. Murty was brought down resulting in a Reading free-kick near the half way line and an Ipswich player appeared to kick the ball away. Viveash came storming along and flew into the player eventually resulting in his straight red for violent conduct. It signalled the end of Reading's hopes of turning the game around. Reading rarely threatened the Ipwich goal from this point onwards and instead the home side extended their lead with twenty minutes left to play. An attack down the right was cut out in the middle but Ipswich made the most of the extra man to drive it home from the middle of the box.

james hilliard
Despite the three hour journey to Suffolk, this was a journey well worth it to really take a look at the Ipswich threat and hopefully see Reading nab a point or three. Rousing away support from the Royals fans was immediately stifled with the early goal that was poorly defended. Gaardsoe the claimant. The remainder of the first half saw Reading play some very good "football" with Harper making Magilton and Holland look pedestrian. Hughes and Forster were both very lively whilst Tyson worked hard against the impressive Wilnes. 15-20 minutes of continued pressure saw Reading gain a deserved a equaliser, fumbled home by Fozzie after a good smother save from Marshall.
The second goal was a strange affair. A free-kick 25 yards or so from goal was put away by Holland with consummate ease. Hahnemann stood arms outstretched claiming he couldn't see for the wall of players in front of goal. My Ipswich supporting colleague admitted it was lucky. So 2-1 down at half time but the body language of both sides told the story of the half. Reading trotted off with a spring in their steps to the changing room whilst Ipswich mooched slovenly to Big Joe who was sure to roast them on their midfield performance.
The second half started modestly with Reading in the ascendency once more. I was convinced Reading could get something from the game. The fans were in full voice throughout and we continued to dominate in midfield. However, the game swung on one moment. My personal opinion of the sending off is this - Viveash ran flat out into Gaardsoe without rhyme or reason. As for a head butt, no way, this was a brash attempt to unsettle the Ipswich players. Naturally, Gaardsoe went down like Tyson (Mike, of old, that is) had bludgeoned him and the bewildered ref and linesman gave Viveash his marching orders without even seeing the incident. I doubt, in fact, that many more than 100-200 in the 24,000 saw it. You could tell plainly from the players' reaction that it wasn't a violent assault. Magilton was shaking his head at Viveash's dismissal. I stand to be corrected by TV evidence!
By this time, we were floundering and desparate to regroup. Newman came on in centre defence and Salako had replaced Tyson. The remainder of the game saw Holland, Magilton and Jermaine Wright stroke the ball around midfeld with Harper, Hughes and Salako trying desparately to win the ball back. Ipswich had plenty of opportunities to go for the jugular but failed dismally in killing us off 4 or 5 to 1. The third goal saw Reading's industrious performance off. Simply put, the defence were at sixes and sevens.
Royals man of the match Harper did all he could to salvage something but the game was gone. Pards bought Kev Watson on for the final ten to keep the ball and, hopefully, get a goal back. It was all too far for a Reading side that doesn't like being behind this season. In summary, a solid passing display with some poor "set piece" defending costing us the game. Ipswich looked sluggish and couldn't match our pace, but if you don't defend you ain't gonna win nout. Harper was a sensation last night. I'm ever impressed by his performances this season. A far cry from reserve team football last year.
I was pleased with our effort, the fans never waning support and general play. I was less pleased with Murty's efforts. He wasn't at the races!
10 points will do it! URZZZZZZ!!
emmer green royal
Not a good result last night but once we had 10 men there was unlikely to be any other outcome. We have now lost 14 games this season and despite the euphoria which has been the result of some of our wins, (there have been some very good performances) that shows that we are just not good enough for the Premier league.
Why exactly was Sidwell playing last night?? He has been awful in the last few games and when he has been replaced by Watson we have looked a better side. Flexibilty seems to be a real Problem for Pardew. If a player plays well then keep him in the side, and if a player is looking poor drop him. Sidwell seems to have joined a group of untouchables in the squad who play whatever their form.
I have to mention Forster again. Without a doubt he has won points for Reading but he has also definately lost us points. He has now had five 1-on-1's with a keeper in the last 3 games and has only scored 1. That is not good enough. His work rate might be high but if he doesn't start converting the chances he is getting then we are going to continue to lack goals. I've heard Liverpool have got Ian Rush in to help their strikers with their finishing and if we are going to continue with the lone striker maybe we should do the same.
caversham royal
Last time I had a moan about Forster he scored next game, and after the Palace match I moaned about him, and what does he do vs Ipswich? So before Bradford, I'd just like to point out that Nicky Forster is an overated, greedy, little weasle who couldn't score if he was playing against only the goalie and the goalie was Simon Shepperd. Hope that does the trick for Sat. Pity about the result Tues, but hopefully not a reason to panic just yet. COME ON.......
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