MATCH REPORT: 2007/2008 Season

27 September 2008: LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Noel Hunt (19 mins), Doyle (26 mins, 90 mins), Stephen Hunt (40 mins).
Swansea City: -
Half Time: 3-0
Attendance: 20,093

Pos Team P Pts GD
2 Birmingham 8 19 +6
3 READING 8 14 +10
4 Preston 8 14 +1
Reading: Hahnemann, Rosenior, Bikey, Ingimarsson, Armstrong, Gunnarsson (Cisse 70), Karacan, Stephen Hunt, Kebe (Henry 80), Doyle, Noel Hunt (Long 76). Subs Not Used: Andersen, Kelly.
Swansea City: De Vries, Rangel, Williams, Monk, Bessone, Gomez, Bodde, Britton, Pintado, Scotland (Brandy 46), Butler (Gower 46). Subs Not Used: Tate, Orlandi, Tudur-Jones.
Reading: Gunnarsson.
Swansea City: Bodde.
For the second home game in succession the Royals gave their opponents a real mauling. There was a highly charged atmosphere from the start. The vociferous Swansea fans matched by the home fans made the pre-match call to 'back the boys and make some noise' redundant. Reading went for Swansea with pace and energy and a fluidity of passing and movement which at times completely overwhelmed the visitors. Not that Swansea played badly. They passed the ball well but could not penetrate the home defence. On the other hand their defence was run ragged by a rampant Royals attack. As a contest it was over by half time.

Reading were quick out of the blocks with two attempts on goal from Karacan and Armstrong in the first two minutes. Gunnarsson, in for the injured Harper, almost opened the scoring on nine minutes getting to the near post to meet a good cross from Noel Hunt. The inevitable goal came on nineteen minutes when Noel Hunt made good contact with corner from his brother to powerfully head past De Vries. A second was equally inevitable. Hunt came close with a free kick outside the box which De Vries scrambled away low to his right. The Hunt brothers combined well to set Armstrong free on the left. His deep cross was nodded back by Kebe for Doyle to hammer home. Swansea continued to try to break out with neat passing and Gomez came close with a volley which flashed just wide. Another slick move put Kebe into a scoring position but he opted for power and his effort was well saved by De Vries. The third goal came five minutes before half time when Armstrong kept the ball well before releasing Kebe who cut the ball back for Steven Hunt to stroke into the net. It had been a breathtaking half and it was hard to imagine what Martinez could say to his team during the interval.

Swansea made two changes at half time but it made little difference. To their credit they did not roll over although for a while it looked as if they might. Reading were happy to contain their opponents who simply did not have the fire power to threaten Reading's lead. Midway through the second half Gomez hit the bar with a free kick from well outside the box but apart from that Hahnemann had nothing to do except catch a few crosses. Henry's performance in midweek earned him a brief league debut. Kebe entertained the crowd with a couple of good runs, one of which might have produced a goal but for a very heavy touch which resulted in lost possession. In the last minute, a superb exchange of passesand a thrusting run from Stephen Hunt through the heart of the Swansea defence gave Doyle the chance to make it four. The clinical finish reflected the confidence of a striker with seven goals in his last three home games. He was denied his third consecutive home hat trick in the dying seconds by the onrushing De Vries. The final whistle blew with Doyle lying injured from the challenge.

This was a result which pushed Reading into third spot and the recent glut of goals at home will probably discourage teams visiting the Madejski from playing open attacking football in the near future so goals may be harder to come by. It was a fine performance all round today but it was pleasing to see Gunarsson back, and Rosenior having the best game I've seen him play in a Reading shirt. Tuesday night's game promises to be a cracker and it will as big a test of Wolves' promotion credentials as it will be for the Royals.
John Wells


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Stephen Hunt, the Reading midfield player, inspired his side’s comfortable victory over Swansea City at the Madejski Stadium and was hailed by Steve Coppell, his manager. The Ireland player was on the scoresheet alongside brother Noel, and a brace from Kevin Doyle heaped further misery on the Welsh side. “Stephen was fantastic, he has no respect for his opponents,” Coppell said. “It just doesn’t matter who he is up against. He plays flat out in an old-fashioned way and the fans love that. It was a good win for us and obviously we are very pleased with the home form at the moment. ”
The Times