Match Report vs BARNSLEY

Mon 31 March 1997 (League)

Att: 10,200
Team: Mautone, Bernal, Macca, Blatherwick, Holsgrove, Bodin, Parkinson (Caskey), Gooding, Williams (Quinn), Morley (Lovell), Nogan.

Reading slumped to their third defeat in a row to promotion hopefulls Barnsley - but it didn't really feel that bad. With Wolves only drawing Barnsley moved four points clear of Wolves in their second position with a game in hand. So we'd helped Wolves slip into Play-off land. Which hopefully they'll fail again in.

The first twenty minutes were laughable. The Reading defence was a joke. It took Barnsley three minutes to take the lead. They cut in midway into the Reading area from the right. Macca missed the tackle and allowed the cross. Mautone was expecting it to arrive in the middle but Holsgrove decieded to stop it getting there and, well ahead of his man it seemed, stuck his ball out. With Mautone stranded the ball flew into the right side of the empty net. The second goal came when Bodin just didn't do anything. He gave away far too much room and then failed to tackle. The cross from right to left seemed to catch the back five playing the offside trap. I think. Blatherwick, making his debut for the Royals and on loan from Nottingham Forrest, in the right full back position failed to trace back and the Barnsley forward had a free shot from the left side of the area to put the away side 0-2 up after 15 minutes.

But it wasn't over. The defence then split to allow the Barnsley forward a one on one with Mautone. Mautone raced out well to get down and block his path. The shot cannoned off Mauton and to safety. If it wasn't for Mautone it could have been 4 or 5.

Then Nogan looked good again with a neat little run into the area, swerving in and out of players, before landing on his face for a penalty. Morley legged it forward and put the ball into the right of the net from the spot. 1-2.

Gooding tried a decent enough shot - but it never looked like going in. So a good first half despite the serious defensive cock-ups.

The second half Reading had about 80 percent of the ball. They played it around a bit and looked pretty at times but Barnsley had this one well under control. Their defence, unlike ours, was rock. We were never going to get through that. And way before the end we knew it was going to stay at 1-2. We never looked like scoring and I can't remember any decent shots. A couple of long range efforts going nowhere. Blatherwick improved a bit. Morley appeared to limp off. Nogs looked up for it but couldn't break through. Bodin kept hoofing it to the opposition defying the 50-50 probability of eventually finding a blue and white shirt. Then Holsgrove caught on and did the same. Still not a bad game. We were just the second best team for the whole game.


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