MATCH REPORT: 2008/2009 Season

Reading: -
QPR: -
Half Time: 0-0
Attendance: 20,571

Pos Team P Pts GD
2 Wolves 13 28 +10
3 READING 13 24 +15
4 Cardiff 13 22 +5
Reading: Hahnemann, Rosenior, Bikey, Ingimarsson, Armstrong, Kebe (Long 80), Gunnarsson (Harper 73), Karacan (Cisse 73), Stephen Hunt, Noel Hunt, Doyle. Subs Not Used: Andersen, Kelly.
QPR: Cerny, Leigertwood, Stewart, Hall, Connolly, Buzsaky, Mahon, Rowlands, Cook, Di Carmine (Blackstock 60), Parejo (Balanta 86). Subs Not Used: Delaney, Tommasi, Cole.
Reading: Rosenior.
QPR: Parejo.
Ref: Chris Foy (Merseyside).
The celebrations of the Rangers fans and their caretaker manager at the end of the game put this game in perspective. For them, having sacked their manager earlier in the week, it represented a significant achievement. Reading fans will feel slightly disappointed with their team's performance, and justifiably argue that, with a competent referee, would have won. Rangers are a big physical side with a few players capable of playing decent football, but they never really expected or attempted to win the game. Reading are going to have to get used to this type of performance following their excellent run at home since the beginning of the season. Players and fans will need to learn to be patient because the crucial early goal required to open up the game will not always be that easy to come by.

It was a keenly contested game from the start with neither side able to establish a grip in midfield. The ball frequently played long and there was a lot of scurrying around in midfield. Gradually the Royals began to settle into their game and get into threatening positions on both flanks. Doyle, after a slightly sluggish start began to create problems in wide positions with his pace. Kebe broke through and got behind the defence but inexplicably declined the opportunity to get a cross in and ran on until he was dispossessed. It was typical of his day, and underlined a weakness in his game which is increasingly infuriating home fans.In spite of Rangers crowding midfield Reading were looking more threatening with Rosenior and Armstrong eager to support the attack at every opportunity. The best chance of the half came when Karacan made a good run into the box and nodded the ball to Kebe who blasted into the side netting. With half time approaching Reading were denied a clear penalty when Cerny dropped a cross and Kebe was pulled over as he went for the loose ball. Noel Hunt had a header theatrically saved by Cerny but it was clear that it was going to be tough for Reading to find a way through.

Reading started the second half brightly forcing a series of corners and Karacan flashed a half chance wide from the edge of the box after the ball had bobbled around as Rangers struggled to clear. After this initial spell of pressure Reading seemed loose their composure and suffered a spell of self inflicted pressure. Bikey was guilty of some absurd risk taking, but the sloppy passing was evident throughout the team. There was a worrying lack of composure as the team lost its defensive shape. The jitters spread to Hahnemann and he spilled couple of fairly routine saves to give the visitors further encouragement. Even through this spell Rangers were reluctant to commit players forward to take full advantage in this collective lapse in concentration. It would be easy to blame Karacan and Gunnarsson for the failure to break down rangers defence but when they were replaced by Harper and Cisse it did not look significantly better.

Reading then pulled themselves together for the final push for a winner. Cisse came closest with a header which was acrobatically saved by Cerny, and Bikey headed powerfully wide from a corner. The game should have been won when Reading were again denied a clear penalty when a Rangers defender cut out a cross with a raised arm, but it was clearly not going to be Reading's day. Coppell, as always, managed to keep everything in perspective, and I'm sure we will not see him celebrating a goalless draw away from home this season in the way Ainsworh did today - he has higher expectations for his team.
John Wells


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"A 0-0 draw is not the end of the world. As people famously say, we can extract the positives. We tried to win the game... We can criticise some of the things we did but as long as I have that kind of effort every game I won't be too disappointed."
Steve Coppell