OLDHAM 1 READING 2 Attendance: 4,963
Scorers: Gurney, Caskey [pen] Date: 23 October 1999
Team: Whitehead, Casper, Bernal, Hunter, Primus, Gurney (Evers), Parkinson, Grant, Caskey, Williams, Scott (McIntyre).
Audio: Nope / Not yet Match Hero: Scott

Report by Phil up North:

mmmmm, the murky drizzle hovering over most of The North seemed to have clouded the brains of messrs Pardew and Gorman. At first sight our team consisted of: 4 centre backs, 1 full back, 3 central midfielders and 2 strikers..............

Hunter and Primus were in the middle, with Skippy at Left Back and Casper at Right Back, replacing Gurney who moved to........ Left Wing, Parky and Grant in central midfield with Caskey wide right, Scott and Williams up front. But things started well, Oldham kicked off but were immediatetly closed down by Williams wide on the right, with a sliding tackle he won the ball and, spotting the keeper off his line tried one from 45 yards which wasn't far over.

The early exchanges were characterised by the usual ineptitude from both sides, but we mananged to take the lead after 9 minutes. Caskeys ball in from the left was controlled in the box by Scott, who shook off his marker and shot, hitting the post, the ball rebounded across the face of goal to.......... Gurney, who tapped in from 6 yards. wow! an away lead!
From Gurney!
as usual this wasn't the signal for The Royals to go on and control the game. The formation was changed straight away to 4-5-1, with Williams going wide right (were we trying to hold on for 81 minutes?), but the following 20 minutes were once again Carry On Defending.

First an Oldham attack saw the ball played to Allot on the edge of the box, i kid you not, there wasn't a royals player within 10 yards of him, absolutely amazing defending, Whitehead came storming off his line to make a great save, and sighs of relief were breathed not only for the save, but for the fact that he didn't give away another penalty. Dudley then had 2 great chances to score in a couple of minutes, both times he broke free just inside the right of the box, the first time he ballooned the ball 10 miles over, the second time we were saved by a great tackle from Casper, sliding in from the right to win the ball..... just.

Then the inevitable happened, Rickers got the ball on the reading right, waltzed past Casper and Gurney (who had swapped wings with Williams) into the box and fired the ball past Whitehead into the far corner.
1-1, and they should have had more.

But.........The Comedy Defending Show finished early, we switched back to 4-4-2, and took the game back to Oldham. Caskey had a couple of long range efforts, one easily saved, the other deflected just over. We mixed and matched between passing through Caskey and hitting it long to bounce off Scotts head. Neither plan seemed to be reaping much in the way of goamouth action until just before half time. Caskey attempted a thru ball from the edge of the box, only for an Oldham hand to get in the way. The ref pointed to the spot and we all jumped up and down.

Caskey placed the ball 3 times before hitting a feeble penalty low to the keepers left, which was duly saved to send the oldham fans, and team, wild.
ha ha ha.

Referee P.Joslin, clearly not a man to be intimidated by Mad Oldham People and their wacky chicken mascot, ordered the penalty to be taken again, presumably for encroaching into the area before the penalty was taken (?). Caskey went for the same spot, only slightly harder, poor old Gary Kelly went the other way, and it was 2-1. Half time followed soon after , and the ref had to be given a police escort off the pitch.

Oh dear, the second half. Oldham attacked badly, we defended qiuite well, and that was essentially it. Shortly in we really could have wrapped the game up. Caskey floated a free kick into the far post, Oldham, clearly having taken tips from Reading in How Not To Defend, pushed out far too late leaving Williams unmarked with a far post header, which he somehow put wide. That was our only decent chance of the half. To be fair Oldham didn't do much better, and the star of the second half was The Ref. With a series of comedy decisions he upset just about everyone, and after a while it was impossible to tell which way he was going to point after blowing his whistle. Ridiculous fouls went unpunished, slight leanings with shoulders were deemed illegal. His mate The Fat Linesman didn't help either, and for one throw in they simply looked at each other, both unable to decide who had put the ball out despite being only 10 yards away.

Grant got clattered and was replaced by Evers (hooray!), Scott got clattered, limped on and was eventually replaced by The Hapless Jim McIntyre (doh).

The arrival of Mcintyre obviously signalled the end of Reading as an attacking force, but despite a few late moments of ping pong in the box, and the 4th official trying outdo his hopeless mates by awarding 5 minutes of injury time we held on.

Whitehead: did very well, saved a certain goal and made a few important saves right at the death.

Casper: also played well, maybe he's found his niche, also saved a certain goal.

Hunter and Primus: The wall did its thing for the last hour, there were clearly more than a few bricks missing for the first 30 minutes.

Skippy. actually has a left foot, maybe we have a settled defence?

Gurney: oh dear oh dear oh dear, The very definition of inept in his chosen position, so he didn't have a prayer on the left wing, but he scored a goal so we'll let him off.

Caskey: did well, despite changing position 3 times, got lucky with the penalty, but at least he's stopped doing that ridiculous pause half way thru his run up.

Grant: bad hair, a bit fat, Oldham Announcer got him confused with Gurney by telling the world he'd scored the first goal. Surely the ultimate insult.

Parky: bustled about, still not as sharp as before, but getting there.

Williams: battled hard, showed some touches of skill missing from the rest of team.

Scott: The King, won plenty in the air, kept us all amused by occasionally trying to take on the Oldham defence with his natural pace, made the first goal. my MOM.

hooray, 3 points away from home, but until we learn to kick the ball in a straight line we ain't going anywhere.


Post Match Opinions
Whitehead in goal and Hunter at the back were giants for the team, and Parky is back to his never-say-die best. Suddenly after a couple of wins, with Evers returning and Murty back soon, things look remarkably improved!
We need a spare striker on loan while Forster is away - let's hope Pardew gets lucky.
-- Callum MacKechnie
Got an Opinion?
Comment on this, or any Royals match - email opinion@royals.cx
Appropriate submissions will appear on match report pages!