MATCH REPORT: 2004/2005 Season

21 September 2004: LEAGUE CUP ROUND 2
Reading: -.
Cox (penalty, 14 mins), Bouazza (90 mins), Ingimarsson (og, 90 mins).
Half Time: 0-1
Attendance: 8,429

Royals Exit League Cup
Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Williams, Ingimarsson, Hughes (Harper 78), Brooker (Morgan 70), Convey, Sidwell, Newman (Owusu 70), Kitson, Goater. Subs Not Used: Sonko, Young.
Watford: Lee, Doyley, Cox, Demerit, Mayo, Young (Ardley 90), Blizzard, Gunnarsson, Darlington (Ferrell 84), Dyer (Fitzgerald 76), Bouazza. Subs Not Used: Chamberlain, Smith.
Reading: Sidwell
Referee: C Penton (Sussex).

We were all expecting a poor game tonight - but this exceeded all expectations as Reading were soundly dumped out of the League Cup by a Watford side that never really got going themselves. Reading made a couple of changes from the side that impressed so much on Saturday with Shorey and Forster both rested. Harper started from the bench and Goater, Newman and Convey all made starts. It was to be a bad night for Reading across the pitch but especially in defence with Williams and Newman having poor games. Williams probably should have put in a decent tackle fourteen minutes into the game but instead went in late to conceed an obvious penalty that was firmly put past Hahnemann. Reading spent the rest of the game attempting to get on level terms. There were some glimmers of hope in the first half with Kitson putting one just wide as he shot across the face of goal, and Goater forcing a close range save from the keeper. Both strikers had a couple of chances in the first half but opportunities faded away in the second half along with any hope of a Reading recovery. The Royals struggled to put together more than a couple of passes with the Reading midfield looking seriously out of sorts. Watford defended well to close Reading down quickly - but the Royals did little to put any pressure on the Watford keeper who looked like he might be capable of making a mistake. Owusu and Morgan were put on as a last ditch attempt and Owusu had a rare shot for Reading - but put his shot just wide. With Reading pushing forward, with little effect, Watford polished the game off with two goals right at the death - Ingimarsson having the dubious honour of making it 0-3. The thrashing flattered Watford but Reading deserved the defeat - we'll need to drastically improve on this performance at Vicarage Road to take anything away.

Following report by John Wells:
With both clubs fielding slightly under strength sides and a very poor attendance, this cup tie had a very subdued feel from the outset. Reading's success this season has been largely due to keeping a settled team and this evening the pattern was broken. The outcome was a disjointed performance and a psychologically damaging defeat. Watford looked vulnerable in the first half and clearly were treating Reading with a great deal of respect. Judging by Goater's post match comments, that respect had diminished to the point of ridiculing Royals players as they left the field. That might backfire on them come Saturday. We hope! However, it will take a significantly better performance at the weekend to put the Hornets back in their place. Nobody has said much about Watford this season, but a glance at the table shows that winning their game in hand would put them level with Wigan at the top of the league.

For most of the first half Reading looked more likely to score and Kitson and Goater combined well on several occasions to create chances. Goater, although lacking pace has a knack of being in the right place at the right time, and was unlucky not to score a couple of goals before the interval. Mid way through the half he got his head to a corner and saw the ball come back off the post with the Watford 'keeper Lee well beaten. Just before half time, Lee got in a tangle with his own defender and lost the ball. Goater took the ball away from the stranded 'keeper and struck the ball well enough to beat the covering defenders on the line, but his shot smacked against the bar. Brooker followed up and had his shot charged down. Kitson and Convey also came close to scoring and it seemed only a matter of time before Reading would score. It was Watford that led at half time though, from a Cox penalty. Dyer's pace deceived Adie Williams and his ill-timed lunge brought him down for clear cut penalty.

The second half started promisingly with Newman's free kick forcing Lees to save at full stretch. Soon after the Watford 'keeper than made another rash decision and misjudged the bounce, and although Goater got behind him, there were two covering defenders to compensate for his error. As the game wore on Reading became desperate and the team lost its shape. Watford soaked up the pressure of the long ball game and broke away in sharp controlled counter attacks. Coppell threw caution to the wind taking off Newman and Brooker, replacing them with Owusu and Morgan. With Owusu joining Kitson and Goater up front, Convey dropping back to left back, and Morgan wide on the left, the Royals went for the equaliser. It didn't work because the passing was poor and Watford were closing players down quickly.

Hughes who looked completely out of his depth in central midfield was replaced by Harper with just under a quarter of an hour left. Coppell did not like the negative way reacted to Hughes, and I am pleased he publicly supports his players as all good managers should, but I only hope he now appreciates his error in using him in that role. What is more worrying is the way Sidwell seems to be losing the creative edge to his game. He is as solid as a rock defensively but he also has tremendous potential as an attacking midfield player which is not being fully developed at present. Harper found it hard to get into a game which was slipping away and the midfield became ineffective as an attacking unit.

To make matters worse Owusu missed an absolute sitter after some clever play by Goater presented him with the opportunity. Watford took full advantage of Reading losing the plot and clinched the win with second goal from a fine strike from Bouazza. To rub salt into the wound Ingimarsson deflected s cross into his own net to give Watford a very flattering three goal victory. We have a chance to put it right on Saturday and from what I saw of Watford tonight, a full strength Reading in the right frame of mind are capable of taking three points.


What is it with us and cups? I have been following this club for 25 years and when it comes to major cups we have achieved nothing! Swindon and Oxford have both won this competition and even Wycombe have managed to reach an FA cup semi final. It would be just nice if for once we could progress and cause a major cup upset like nearly every other league club. Tonight quite frankly we were poor against a side who dropped 5 first teamers and had only played 48 hours prior to tonight's game. I think what tonight's game showed is how important Forster is to us, Kitsons neat play and touches were wasted with Goater's lack of pace along side him. Hughes had a poor game it has to be said, but that is no excuse for the disgusting reaction by some so called fans when he was substituted, by all means have a moan on the message boards or phone in to the local radio station, but no player no matter how bad his performance should receive a reaction like that.
Pete, Woodley

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