READING 1 BRENTFORD 2 (Half Time: 0-0)
Butler (53 mins, pen).
Brentford Scorers: Ingimarsson (69 mins), Price (73 mins).
27 October 2001
Reading: Whitehead, Murty, Viveash, Williams, Robinson, A.Smith, Harper, Parkinson, Hughes, Cureton, Butler. Subs: Ashdown, Mackie, Rougier, Forster, Shorey.
Gottskalksson, Price, Anderson, Ingimarsson, Powell, Hunt, Mahon, Sidwell,
Gibbs, Owusu, Burgess. Subs: P.Smith, McCammon, Hutchinson, Williams,
Only to be expected really. The two away victories at Notts County and Oldham built up some massive expectations which were always going to be far too hopeful. Brentford had already won five league games on the trot to go top of the league, meanwhile Reading hadn't won at home since beating Wycombe well over a month ago. Brentford have been playing some great passing football and scoring shed loads of goals, Reading haven't. Yet Reading fans still expected us to win. The fact is Brentford are a team on the way up and Reading are a team stuck in the Second Division. Of course the result was a massive disappointment in front of the biggest league crowd of the season, but it really shouldn't have been that much of a shock. This just confirmed what we already know - promotion this season is going to be a real struggle.
With Adrian Whitbread ruled out through injury in stepped Adrian Williams - other than that it was the same starting eleven, which seemed sensible enough. Although this team had claimed six points from the last two away outings they were never that close to producing anything special today. The first half was almost entirely forgettable. Reading just aren't very exciting at the moment.
Brentford had the better of the first half after producing a couple of chances that probably should have seen them ahead before the half time break. The Reading defence didn't look that stable despite Murty having a superb game at right back. Brentford should have been ahead after working their way into two clear shooting opportunities only to send the ball way over the crossbar. On another occassion a good cross from the left, on a rare occassion Murty was beaten, saw an unmarked Brentford player in the middle with a free header. Thankfully the header was poor and also over the bar. Whitehead also needed to tip over a cross from the left when it suddenly seemed to be looping into the corner. Brentford looked strong through the middle coming forward with some pacy passing moves causing the Reading defence trouble. We needed three players to stop one Brentford rampage through the middle ending with Robinson knocking the ball back to almost cost a goal as the player ran onwards.
Down the other end there was very little action as the Brentford keeper had a very quiet half. The best chance came as Cureton raced into the box from the right at pace and sent a shot across the face of goal - but wide. His better option would have been to cross to Alex Smith unmarked on the left side of the box. It was probably our best chance of the half and we could have done more with it.
At half-time we were happy with 0-0. All we needed was to sneak a goal in the second half and hang onto it and get the points. That would have been nice. And it looked almost likely seven minutes into the second half when Jamie Cureton was pulled down inside the area. It was lucky the referee spotted it with play no where close to Cureton and with the defender having no cause to worry at all. A strange decision to conceede a penalty - I guess he thought he'd get away with it. Martin Butler stepped up - and without a goal all season. He hit the penalty well and into the roof of the net, and Reading were a goal up. Butler's relief was clear as he marched over to the North Stand in celebration.
After the goal Brentford looked worried. If Reading had gone out on the attack they might have grabbed another and it would have probably killed the game off. Brentford started hoofing it clear, putting in some desperate late tackles, and made some poor passes. Reading looked the better side and the game could have been ours. However, we didn't get the second goal. In fact we totally failed to put the away side under any pressure and failed to test the keeper. Brentford got right back into the game and their superior passing, pace, and ability to work as a team were to win them the full three points. With twenty minutes to go the ball was crossed into the middle and stuck home to pull Brentford level. Just a few minutes later Brentford nearly scored with a shot against the post, in the resulting bundle Whithead seemed to make a save before it was a loose ball on the left. Reading failed to clear it again and it was chipped back into the middle and the spare Brentford man stabbed it home. Reading were 1-2 down.
Brentford could have increased their lead as the fans in the South Stand - a decent away following from Brentford roared their team on. Reading fans could only sit in silence as Reading threatened to collapse. It looked like they'd made it 1-3 after another good move behind the Reading defence saw a shot into the side-netting. Full time couldn't come fast enough with the Reading fans streaming out of the ground. Nicky Forster came on to taunts of Brentford reject but only managed to get booked for a dive inside the area - although that seemed very harsh with some definite contact between Forster and the defender. But another penalty would have been the only way to draw level and it just wasn't going to happen.
Towards the final whistle large numbers of the Reading crowd started chanting
for Pardew to leave. However, its debatable that a change in the management
could bring any success this season. It just doesn't seem to make any sense
to make Pardew leave at this stage of the season, although the problems are
clearly his. There was some effort on display from Reading with certain individuals
working really hard. But that's exactly the problem - players working as individuals
and not as a team. Brentford showed how to play as a team and it's got them
points clear at the top of the table. Individually Reading are a better side
than Brentford, but when will they start playing like a team?
Following report from John Wells:
I have yet to see a team worthy of automatic promotion this season and after to today's game I've seen nothing to change my mind. Last season Reading beat Brentford comfortably. Today they rarely threatened to even score. The Royals only goal came when a relieved Martin Butler converted a penalty after Cureton had been inexplicably hauled to the ground with the ball nowhere near him. Leading by a goal, with only about twenty minutes to go, I was expecting the Royals to at least avoid defeat. It was not be, and it raises doubts not only about the tactics, but once again about the character of the side.
There were signs early in the first half of confidence returning. Murty and Williams in particular showing composure when confronted by Brentford forwards flying at them. They were slipping the ball past them and feeding the ball through to feet. All that confidence seemed to have disappeared by half time. Passes were going astray from both teams and nether keeper had much to do. It was a very dull first half indeed. Cureton came very close with a left foot shot which just shaved the far post. Reading have Brentford's Ben Burgess to thank for going in level at half time. When presented with three good chances he demonstrated his all round ineptitude by missing first with his left foot, then with a simple header, and finally with his right foot when he was put clear of a sluggish looking defence by a simple long ball. (Isn't that how Grazioli scored last we played at home?)
In the second half Reading did not look capable of troubling the Brentford defence but managed to make enough mistakes to encourage Brentford to come back and win the game. The play at times was very sloppy indeed. Robinson started the trend by setting off on a run along the half way line and lost possession. It was hard to understand what he was trying to do other than trying to retain possession of the ball. Harper, who had a reasonable game, followed suit by passing square on the half way line to a startled looking Robinson. Poor though the pass was, I felt that had Robinson been concentrating, it might have prevented the resulting pressure on the Royals defence.
Adie Williams was next. He missed a harmless looking ball across the box and it fell to Ingamarsson who drove the ball firmly in to the net from 20 yards. By now Brentford were beginning to believe they were a great side and could go on to win. Their football was far from brilliant but they played with an air of confidence that teams get from a winning run. Crucially they also looked more determined to win, and less willing to accept defeat. Pardew helped things along by bringing on Rougier who finished the job off by slamming an attempted clearance into a Brentford player. From the resulting mayhem Price hammered home Brentford's winner from close range. Reading never looked like coming back even when they blatantly admitted to losing the ability to create chances by sending Viveash up front and began belting hopeful long balls. We know that we are not equipped for that sort of game, so the chances of it in working in the last five minutes were remote.
Apart from losing at home there are some fairly obvious patterns emerging. There was very little movement at set pieces and throw-ins. Rougier comes on beats a few players on the half way line, rarely produces a ball into the box, and then gives away free kicks when he becomes frustrated. Robinson contributes nothing and is often completely at sea defensively. The defence looks vulnerable to pace up the middle. (Owusu went past Viveash far to easily in the first half.) The forwards are not really working hard enough to receive or challenge for the ball. Brentford today in contrast were putting pressure on the player in possession deep in Reading's half - a tactic which produced their winner.
It is not very complicated. Reading have some very good players, but they are
not making enough effort to go looking for the ball, or providing enough movement
off the ball to unsettle their opponents. As for defending, they simply do not
close players down quickly enough. No doubt everything thing will be different
next week so I'll be off to Northampton to see what happens next!
Post Match Opinions
The opening 10 minutes of the first half were terrible. After that
Reading started to play. For once the midfield looked to be competing,
though we didn't create much. That said, Butler & Cureton didn't give
them many options. At half time there was just that nagging doubt that
Brentford would get fired up by their manager and attack. That's what
happened. Though they still didn't look that special. As I was sitting
in the North Stand I couldn't believe it when Cureton was pulled down.
Definite penalty, but a pointless foul. Great strike from Butler. Brentford
started to wobble. Then two mistakes from Reading at the back and it's
The HNA report sums it up we came hoping for a dramatic improvement
on the Swindon game after 2 away wins but it was the same old story, poor
passing, slack defending and a complete inability to do the simple things
right. Take nothing away from Brentford they were a class above us and
will surely be in the mix up come the end of the season unlike us, at
best mid table mediocrity and another season in this division.
Awful, crap, useless, pathetic, not good enough. I naively convinced
myself that maybe we were turning our season around. No chance, we are
at best mediocre and at worst relegation material. I have seen some poor
performances in my time as a Reading fan, and this one is in the top ten.
I can't say that one player had a good game. Murty was okay and Harper
pretended to look like he knew what he was doing. Harper looks the part
with excellent physical shape and an air of arrogance about him. The only
problem is, is that he is only average at football. He must go back to
basics and stop thinking he is David Beckham.
I have actually stopped enjoying going to the games. That is very
sad, after many years loyal support. For the first time in as long as
I can remember, I am seriously considering playing golf on Saturday afternoons.
Today we were second best to a team whose top wage earner gets under half
of what most of our players get paid. There was no cohesion, no team play,
and frankly no chance. If Reading wont change, it looks like I might have
to. What a difference a year makes. 12 months ago we beat Oxford to go
top of the league. Its hardly believable.
Two words for the way we are performing at home: ''absolute rubbish''.
It is just unbelievable. Our away performances are average but we seem
to be getting the results, we just cant break down teams at home and quite
frankly its a disgrace. If losing to swindon 3-1 a few weeks ago wasn't
bad enough we've topped it up with yet another dismal home performance
to an average Brentford side playing above themselves. We just look a
shadow of the team that earned that memorable play-off final against Walsall,
we haven't been the same side since that dark day. It is frustrating for
all us Royals fans as the team is clearly under-acheiveing. Pardew's days
at Reading appear to be numbered unless he can turn us around then I don't
see any option but for Reading and Mr.Pardew to part company. I'm lost
for words at the moment and at the final whistle, which was met by bos
and jeers, I looked around at a dejected reading crowd as we are forced
to see another season slowly begin to slip away.
Just watched the Reading v Brentford game, all I can say is that it
was very disappointing. It is crystal clear to see that we are in dire
need of a central midfielder that can control and dictate the pace of
the game. James Harper is a terrific young talent, but too much is being
expected of him too soon. I feel that Pardew should be nurturing him in
the way that he seems to be doing with Nicky Shorey. Having said that
Shorey may become a regular before too long as Robinson gave yet another
example of why we leak so many goals. He was caught out of his position
a countless number of times. Itís a shame because Graeme Murty was my
MoM for Reading, he has the skill and tenacity to go forward; yet still
has the determination to cover his defensive duties. The fact is today
that Royals never looked like scoring and were made to look poor by an
average 2nd Division side. Well done Brentford.
He might not do everything right and isn't everyones cup of tea, but
to me James Harper is a class apart from the rest of the team. Trouble
is the management seem unable to realise he can't do much with the ball
sailing over his head. Week in week out we see that Reading are more effective
when playing the ball on the ground yet still we resort to long ball.
Most fans would surely forgive a defeat to a strong Brentford side, but
it's the manner in which we are losing which is pretty hopeless, with
Butler's goal just about our only attempt on target. Chairman John normally
gives his manager alot of time, but recent interviews suggest that he's
feeling more ruthless, stating that things must improve quickly. There
wont be too many complaints if he does act soon, because unfortunately
we're going nowhere fast.
There's no point going on about the performance and the players after
another home humiliation as it will all be said many times over in the
report and opinions. What really gets to me is the heart of the problem
and that is the football club itself. Ok, so we we've got a great stadium
that most of our opponents would envy, so what! I'm getting so pissed
of with seeing the away end packed as opposition fans roar their team
on to victory. Apart from Wigan in the last five minutes of that amazing
game last season, when has there been a sustained noise in the Mad Stad?
The club has lost its soul, its lost its direction, vision, ambition and
its turning very quickly into massive white elephant.
Today was the day for Reading to come and show the home fans what
had brought them success on the road. The fans turned up to see them.
After the appalling display against Swindon I vowed not to go to another
game untill Pardew & Allen go. Sadly for me after a couple of mediocre
away games (although they were wins) my brother convinced me to go to
the game with him yesterday. What a mistake, second half we looked more
like Cambridge. Brentford however looked not too talented but having confidence
instillled in them by good management. It would appear Pardew's half time
talk must consist of, have a cup of tea chaps and just kick that ball.
Tacticly speaking: 'Pardew bugger off!'
I have to agree with most of the comments above but feel I must make
a few points as well. This was essentially the same two teams who met
last season at the Mad House in a game we won 4-1. The difference between
the sides since is the Coach/Management. In Steve Coppell Brentford have
someone who knows what they are doing and not someone who is learning
and still making mistakes. Pardew has an arrogance about him that must
rub the players up the wrong way and although the players don't have to
like their boss it does help if they respect him - that respect seems
What a total load of rubbish - Reading couldn't beat Twyford on this
showing. Brentford top of the league? There must be a load of rubbish
below them. Another 13 quid wasted. Pardew and Allen out now otherwise
it's Division Three next season.
For a while into the first half I was convinced we were going to win,
Brentford did not look like the awesome table toppers who scored 5 in
midweek, and with our two good away wins I really felt the corner was
turned....how wrong I was!
Another 13 quid down the drain ..take me back to Elm Park... nice
atmosphere... good roomy terracing... and players who tried to earn their
The worst thing about yesterday's result was that it wasn't really
a great surprise. In the last two seasons we've set an unfortunate pattern
of falling on our faces in crunch matches with big away attendances -
Millwall and Bristol City last season, Cardiff, Swindon and Brentford
this. I guess after this result the players will be embarrassed enough
to do decently against Northampton and Wrexham, but you can bet your house
on the result of the 10 November match against Bristol City - they'll
show us up mercilessly again. How long can we continue like this? The
season usually settles down by the end of October - the teams around the
top are those that finish there in May. The top two will probably come
from Brighton, Stoke or Bristol City, with Brentford looking strong enough
for a playoff place. I think Peterborough will slip back, but Wycombe
look a reasonable bet for a playoff place, with Huddersfield or moneybags
Cardiff maybe snatching the other place. For us, inconsistent and 11 points
off the top, just making the playoffs will be an achievement now. I really
do feel sorry for John Madejski. He has a tough decision to make. The
question for him now is: does he write this season off (being realistic),
and hope that our present management will get us promoted next season,
or does he take a huge gamble now? Because new management could just give
us that new spark (plus one or two changes to the team) that could put
us on a promotion winning run even now. This division is still waiting
for someone to take it by storm - there is no clear favourite for promotion
Well what can one say after we again witnessed a Reading display of
utter crap. Make no mistake Brentford are just an ordinary side but they
have got organization and 11 players who know there job, unlike our disorganized
lot. After going 1-0 up at home against top of the league you would have
thought we would have had the momentum to have gone on & won it, no not
our lot they contrived to gift Brentford 2 goals with a display of totally
inept defending. We have got no one prompting from midfield, Parkey,s
been a great servant to the club but he's past his best. We need to rebuild
the midfield totally, we had one effort on goal all afternoon and that
was the penalty, other than that there keeper never had a save to make.
One last point Anne Robinson is not the worst left back in the world he's
the worst in the universe!
Of the next 6 games we play, 5 are at home.
What a load of rubbish.
Another nightmare performance! The simple fact is that this season,
other than last week's aberration at Notts County, we have just not scored
enough goals. A quick look at the league table (GF column) will bear this
out. And the reason? Do not blame the strikers, they are simply not getting
any kind of service from midfield.
Saturday was the first time EVER at The Mad Stad that I approached
the game thinking we would lose. I hoped that two away wins may well have
seen us play better football and maybe it was the start of this 'Run'
that the players and Pardew keep talking about. What I witnessed as a
dedicated Reading fan made me feel sick to the stomach.
I would just like to point out that on paper and probably on last
years evidence you still have one of the strongest teams in the division,
certainly going forward anyway. However to say we were rubbish is ridiculous.
True, Steve Coppell has without doubt installed organisation & certainly
upped the fitness of the players & the squad is more or less the same
as last year. However, on saturday we were without virtually our entire
regular midfield (Evans, Rowlands, O'Connor ) as well as both fullbacks
( Dobson & Boxall) Most of these have missed the last few games & the
18, 19 & 20 year olds that have come in are playing for the shirt. We
haven't spent a penny this season again (Uncle Ron wants out & his money
back ) & I think the team spirit of the six or seven regulars with two
or three years service was there to see & it rubs off on the kidswhen
the team is on form. Credit where it's due though I think. At full strength
& if Ben Burgess had been on his usual form we could have had four by
half time, but that's life & we didn't hope for more than a point with
our weekened side & up against our bogey side.
I tend to agree with a alot of what is being said about Reading not
playing well this season. Results, league position and Saturdays performance
proved that. Take nothing away from Brentford though. I can't believe
you can call us an average side. Average sides do not win 10, draw 4 and
lose 1 from 15 games, beat Norwich, or outplay Newcastle for ninety minutes.
Maybe Reading fans aren't aware but we did have three of our best five
players out injured, one being our top scorer and captain. What would
the score of been had they all played? Maybe it is the manager! Pardew
was manager last season wasn't he? Look how close to promotion you were.
However being a Brentford fan I don't know the full story, but my opinion
is that maybe the players, after going so close last season and being
pre-season favourites, feel all they need to do is turn up and you will
If you don't control midfield you don't control games and if you don't
control games invariably you don't win them. Last season the strikers
made us look better than we were and in the end they couldn't quite carry
us through. This year they aren't and we've got nothing to fall back on.
We need a central midfield and a playmaker. Parky and Harper aren't up
By great luck, I managed to get a seat in the corner of the East Stand
(at the North end) with a restricted view, so what with the sun being
in my eyes as well I saw mainly snippets of what generally seemed a pretty
dull game. It was certainly my least enjoyable visit to the Madejski yet,
even less so than the Cardiff league game, because on that occasion we
were just off a great run and the expectancy was high. I have now travelled
by bus on my three most recent outings and we've lost every time, so I'll
be going by car from now on.
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