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Reading 0-0 Brighton

So, back from a game that the majority of people seemed to class as awful. I honestly didn't think it was that bad, and there's a lot of unnecessary doom and gloom around a club who tends to pick up after the start of the season. Especially seeing as in our first six games we've played three rivals for promotion and another who currently tops the league. Yes, maybe we should have won a couple of our earlier games - and there's no way we should have lost against Blackpool - but really it's the 6-0 cup defeat to Peterborough that's casting shadows, and our inability to sign the players promised by Adkins and Anton during the transfer window.

We have to put that to the back of our minds, and there's no better way to do that than with the first game since the window closed. With Pogrebnyak starting up front alongside Drenthe and Le Fondre in what appeared to be a 4-3-3, and our record of beating Brighton in our previous six meetings with The Seagulls there seemed almost no way that this strike-force could run dry. However Pavel's two yellow cards in the first half hour changed this altogether, especially alongside a booking to Reading's danger-man Drenthe. Luckily Brighton evened things up when Ulloa tried to Kung-Fu kick Pearce's head off. With two frontmen sent off it was perhaps destined that this game would end goalless. Adam Le Fondre, not renowned for his sole-striker role, didn't help but it was more normal to see him there than playing left back, where he committed a foul in the first five minutes.

Brighton had a huge host of chances, which the ever-in-form McCarthy managed to repel with the help of some poor shooting on the visitors part. Starting with a free header after a poor clearence from Pogrebnyak which flew wide of the post. A couple of volleys that went over the bar, combined with an incredible low near post save and a few dives at full stretch. It's a wonder how Reading's clean sheet stayed in tact, though it was also surprising that the Brighton defence remained resolute. Perhaps it was because after Pogrebnyak was sent off we still tried to send cross after cross into ALF in the box. Our best chance perhaps came from a Bridge run to the byline before rifling a cross into the near post which Le Fondre so almost got on the end of to touch past Kuszczak but the keeper got there first.

Reading did seem one-dimensional, pass wide to the wings - generally Bridge when he came on - and try to get a cross in to a man who's not tall enough to beat the defenders to the ball. Bridge, probably our best attacking threat, tended to put good balls into the box but Brighton would easily clear and break down the other end - where they looked like a much better threat. Guthrie's passing to the wings was excellent but every time he attempted to cross it hit the first man. Gunter also tended to slow the play down a lot, which stopped us from attacking as quickly as we could. When he did get forward with full force he almost created a goal wit a good cross from the right side.

The referee set a rather early precedent of booking almost every tackle, and the moment that happened we should have learnt to run past the man and make them tackle us, and with this in mind brought on McAnuff who loves to take his man on. He also tends to be the guy who looks to pick up the players when things are down and Morrison as captain just doesn't have that yet.

Do we need another striker? Yes, probably, if only to give more depth to the two recognised strikers we have - that will probably actually take part in the season. Pogrebnyak actually looked good in the half an hour he managed to play. A header and holding up the ball well on a couple of occasions. Alfie was innocuous, but then again he wasn't meant to be playing up front on his own. Blackman looked alright when he came on, also managing to hold the ball up well but he hasn't set the world alight in his first few games for us. There was a few times where the ball was in Brighton's box where we were too afraid to shoot or the ball never sat down for us. A striker with power and presence with an ability to head the ball would be invaluable if this is the way we choose to play.

All in all not a terrible point but really a game we fancied ourselves to win. Can somebody also tell me how there were 18,309 people within the ground?


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