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Showing posts from March, 2014

Birmingham 1-2 Hooligans

With Birmingham's home form I marked this one as a 'must-win' in yesterday's post, and thankfully Reading just about managed it. A 2-1 win that could quite easily have seen either side score three or four.

Although Birmingham dominated the first half it was the Royals who opened the scoring. Coming from a break by Drenthe down the right it ended with McAnuff calmly skipping past a diving defender before lashing home. The lead didn't last long though, moments later Gorkss conceded, what looked like, a soft penalty. The Latvian definitely made contact but it took the referee an age to give the decision. Alex McCarthy almost got the spot kick but it was just beyond his reach, so the teams went in at half-time at 1-1. 
The second half saw Birmingham again pressing with Reading mainly playing on the counter-attack. A header rattled the Reading crossbar, Birmingham's only real chance to that point other than their goal, but it was the away team that had the best chan…

Last 10 Games

With ten games left Reading have let themselves slip out of the play-off places, but not out of the hunt - especially with a huge amount of teams dropping points. With five consecutive games against teams that should be easily disposed of there's a real chance that The Royals can get back into the top six come the end of the season.

With Leicester and Burnley almost certain of automatic promotion, the biggest story - in terms of the play-offs - from the top two is that Wigan and Reading still have to play both teams, with Brighton, QPR, and Ipswich all having to play one of them. So there are six teams vying for the play-offs, with a few more snapping at their heels, who all have to play three or four of their promotion-rivals. Other than Derby, that is - after their games against Nottingham Forest and Ipswich they have eight games against teams out of the running - and their biggest tests against Watford and Leeds should be when their opponents have nothing to play for.

Derby ha…

Jason Roberts Retires

Jason Roberts is a divisive figure for the Reading fanbase. One side sees him as the hero for Reading's second promotion to the Premier League, and the other are less favourable as he sponges off the club for every penny he can get. Obviously the truth is probably somewhere in the middle ground - as it so often is.

He came to the club in January 2012 and immediately proved crucial, scoring the only goal of the game against Bristol City, just two days after his arrival, and then again against Coventry the very next game. He turned up in big matches, grabbing the only goal against Burnley, and getting the opener in the match against Southampton. His contribution was bigger than just a goal threat, his muscle was worth its weight in gold - the game against Leeds springs to mind after a hard-fought 85 minutes he was there to provide for Alfie.

That season ended on a surprising note, the programme notes on our final home game of the season noted that Reading were almost through the sea…

Youth Sides

The last few years have seen the academy come into prominence. With numerous first team players coming through the ranks of The Royals. The last couple of seasons, however, have focused not just on the players coming through but also the academy teams themselves, and the past two weeks have been a culmination of a huge collective effort.



First off the U21s went to Liverpool, and won 2-1. With a beautiful goal from sub, Harry Cardwell, and a slightly scrappier one from ‘Michael Hector’ – which possibly should have gone to Niall Keown. Liverpool had a chance to get revenge in the FA Youth Cup when their U18s visited in the quarter-finals. What transpired over the course of the next 120 minutes was one of the greatest games to ever grace the pitch at the Madejski. Leading 2-0 just a few minutes into the second half it looked as if Reading were cruising – with Liverpool not really creating any guilt-edged chances, but somehow a late rally saw them take the game into extra-time at 2-2. Ski…

Inconsistency

If Nigel Adkins has brought one thing to this team then it's a horrible inconsistency. The turn of the year normally sparks Reading into life, but the same run that took us to the Championship title two seasons ago has failed to materialise. Brian McDermott's side showed a grit and determination to win games that seems to be lacking recently.

McDermott was, of course, the latest victim of a team that can put anybody to the sword - but 5-1, and 7-1 wins weren't backed up and now The Royals are in very imminent danger of falling to 8th. Our last 6 read:

L 0-2 Sheffield Wednesday Pearce sent off (rescinded)
W 3-1 QPR Gorkss sent off (rescinded)
L 0-1 Blackburn
D 1-1 Yeovil Yeovil finish with 8 men
D 1-1 Brighton Brighton finish with 10 men
W 4-2 Leeds

Obviously the thing that jumps out straight away is that we saw 6 red cards in 5 games, but the worrying thing is that even Sheffield Wednesday managed to capitalise where Reading didn't - whether or not the red card was deserved…