Match Report: 2011/2012 Season

20 March 2012: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Hunt (20 mins).
Peterborough: Boyd (25 mins), Barnett (34 mins), Taylor (82 mins).
Half Time: 2-1.

Attendance: 6,717

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 Southampton 38 75 +35
2 READING 38 70 +20
3 West Ham 37 68 +21
Reading: A Federici, I Harte, K Gorkss, A Pearce, J McAnuff, M Leigertwood, H Mullins (A Le Fondre, 68), J Kebe, J Karacan, N Hunt, J Roberts (S Church, 84).
Subs not used: J Tabb, H Robson-Kanu, M Andersen.
Peterborough: P Jones, G Zakuani, C Alcock, S Brisley, L Frecklington, T Rowe, G McCann, L Tomlin (D Ball, 83), G Boyd, P Taylor (E Sinclair, 89), T Barnett.
Subs not used: J Lewis, M Little, D Kearns
Reading: -
Peterborough: -
Ref: Simon Hooper.

Dear oh dear, what a shocker. We were second best all over the pitch tonight. Peterborough had pacy and skilful players in midfield and attack, passed it around on the deck to each other Swansea style, then in Barnett, had a centre forward who looked a constant threat, in short, everything that we were not on the night. In Paul Taylor they had a player of good skill who controlled the ball, always passed to one of his own players, drew our defenders in, then released it to one of their dangerous looking wingers. Why Taylor isn't playing for a bigger club I just don't know on that evidence, by far and away the best player on the pitch, confirmed by his MOM rating at the ending. Karacan and Leigertwood were overrun time and again in midfield, Jobi had an off night, Gorkks had an absolute mare (two goals conceded from corners with little or no challenge) Pearce was only slightly better but exposed for pace. Roberts looked good in patches but by the end his attempts at drawing fouls, although it worked on occasion, became tiresome, and was eventually sussed by Peterborough's centre half who returned his muscle with some interest, all culminating in Peterborough's third goal when Roberts lost out on the edge of the Peterborough area trying to draw the foul. The ball was then hoofed straight back up the pitch for the perhaps inevitable exposure of our defence and the third goal.

The real enigma was Kebe again. I took a mate with me, a Spurs fan, who spotted with no prompting that Kebe must be carrying an injury, which we know he is of course. But he kept asking why Kebe was on the pitch in that case. A good point as in the second half he should really have been taken off as we had HRK on the bench. I can only imagine Kebe stayed on in the hope that he would produce a piece of magic, as indeed he did for the first goal. But that never happened so perhaps a misjudgement there. So did any of our players come out of that with any credit? Well, yes, Noel Hunt. He was our best player by a large margin and was noticeably the one who looked most gutted at the end by our tepid display. He fought all night and well done for that.

Harte looked tidy at times but his set pieces were not up to their usual standard, which was disappointing. There was a brief period in the second half when we were 2-1 down when I felt Leigertwood did at least get his foot on the ball a few times and start to impose himself. That lasted for about 15 minutes before Peterborough got hold of it again. One can only imagine that Peterborough must be inconsistent, noted by their manager after the game, as playing like that they should be in a much higher position in the table. We were well beaten by the much better side on the night so dust ourselves down and move on. Some consolation that West Ham failed again with Middlesborough's late goal and obviously we can do better than that.
Norfolk Royal

Coming straight off the back of the second half at Barnsley, it was extraordinary how they suddenly collectively fell apart last night. The contrast between Posh's balls to feet and our balls into touch was stark, exemplified by Legs passing the ball straight out of play from the re-start after we went 2-1 down. From Feds kicking straight into touch, through Harte overhitting free-kicks into the stands, to even Roberts knocking a simple lay-off out for a throw-in, we looked utterly out of touch in every department. The opening goal should have been enough for us to take hold of the game and close them out at our will, but it seemed to be the catalyst for every piece of poor ball control ever invented.

Conceding the first two from corners was very poor - no-one reacted inside the six yard box for the first one when it bounced loose and the second couldn't have been more of a free header if they tried. The third was utterly avoidable as it took less than 10 seconds to get from the edge of their box to the back of our net. There was no lack of effort from any player last night, but the skill and application had been left in the changing room and Posh, to be fair, took full advantage and thoroughly deserved their win.
The damage was limited by WH and Boro taking points off each other and Birmingham falling apart at Pompey, so let's put this in a box, stop comparing McDermott to some kind of blithering idiot after one defeat, and look forward - it's a game of football and we lost. Boo-hoo.
3 veesinarow

Well i guess it had to come at some point, three tough away games in a row and perhaps we were doomed to fail against the Posh. That's the third time i have been there and come away with absolutely zilch, not sure i can stomach a 4th time!. We do really seem to struggle against a more passing side - Swansea, Arsenal in the Prem we just seem to get caught on the counter a lot. However Peterborough's two goals came from corners which was particularily irritating given our solid shape at the back. Pearce and Gorkss had a real off day against a very impressive Tyrone Barnett, not winning the headers (Pearce at fault for the equaliser) and looking cumbersome and off the pace. I have only seen him for the 90mins but i wasn't overly impressed with Mullins he looked a bit of a carthhorse at rb, surely he is best in cm and whilst Cummings doesn't set the world on fire he is solid?.

We were overun in centre midfield, when Ledge has a poor game he really does, passing across the pitch like its Brazil except he never looked up and it went straight to the opposition. I was particularily impressed with MCann and Boyd always seems to score against us. Kebe looked rusty tonight after time off injured, a brilliant piece of skill to set up the opener but that was largely it. We really need to get the full backs to push the ball on to Kebe to run at more rather than Kebe collecting it and running against the defence as his control lets him down. The forwards battled hard but you could tell they were frustrated, particularily Roberts. I just hope his hamstring is not too bad as he has clearly galvanised this team and we are then back to short sized/mis matched forward pairing. I generalyl think it was blip against a tough Posh side away from home, however Blackpool next and as Negative Jeff alluded to they are another team who knock it around nicely so we really need to do our homework to get back amongst the points.
holsgrove breaks a leg

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Reading lost ground to Southampton at the top of the Championship as their 10-match unbeaten run came to an end at Peterborough. The second-placed Royals looked set to continue their good form when Noel Hunt put them ahead after 20 minutes. But George Boyd equalised within five minutes, and Tyrone Barnett scored for a third successive game to give Posh a half-time advantage. Paul Taylor scored on the break late on to secure victory for the hosts. Reading had the best of the early exchanges, Jobi McAnuff and Mikele Leigertwood both firing narrowly wide, before they capped off their early pressure with a goal. Jimmy Kebe's deft turn set him loose on the Peterborough goal, Paul Jones was only able to parry his shot into Hunt's path, and the striker finished with ease. Jones was called into action again shortly afterwards, tipping away Jem Karacan's drive from outside the area. However, Peterborough were to turn the game on its head from two corners in quick succession. Shaun Brisley nodded Grant McCann's centre across the area for Boyd to lash home, before Barnett powered another McCann ball past Adam Federici.

Federici then saved well from Lee Frecklington and Lee Tomlin as the home side finished the half brightly. Reading pressed for an equaliser in the second half, Ian Harte's free-kick being diverted wide before Leigertwood missed from inside the box. But it was Peterborough who struck the killer blow, Paul Taylor breaking past Harte to collect a long ball, before slotting in under Federici.

Reading boss Brian McDermott: "I can't fault the lads in the slightest. We have been on a terrific run to get ourselves into a great position and nothing has changed. We were 20 points off the pace at one point so the players deserve great credit for what they have done. We didn't have the best of nights but we'll certainly bounce back and I don't want to take anything away from Peterborough who played very well."

BBC Sport