FairweatherFan

Reading 2-1 Millwall ~ Match Report

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A mid week game at the Madejski stadium is not too sad an affair to deal with so it was no surprise to find thousands of like minded souls en route up the M4 to see if the Lions could bury the memory of our last outing at home to Middlesbrough.

So it was off to Reading in the Bonemobile for MrsB and me and to be honest, Reading is a bit of a weird place full of weird people. You get the impression that people from this neck of the woods are somewhat stuck in a mid seventies sit com world where the men go to work in bowler hats and the women stay at home baking cakes and the kids all smell of custard creams.

Twee, I think is the correct vernacular when describing the locals, they are truly the people who put the Berk in Berkshire. Reading yearns to be a city but the Queen, quite rightly in my opinion, has always tipped them bollocks when new cities are being chosen.

We got there in good time and made our way into a cavernous car park area that screamed, “long wait after the match” at us, and then made our way into the ground. I have never really liked this particular stadium, I preferred the dank terracing of the old Elm Park but the Madejski sits there like a shiny pearl in a bucket of dog shit and demands to be accepted as a state of the art stadium. It’s a pity the fucking architect couldn’t manage to design it to make the seats all fit in nice order instead of filling in odd spaces with odd numbers of seats…

And so to the game and Mr Jackett opted for a 4-5-1 affair and they lined up as follows: Forde in goal, Dunne, Mkandawire, Robbo and Barron as the back four with the five in midfield comprising of Henry, Bouazza, Abdou, Hackett and Trotter with Morison as “Kemo Sabe” as old Tonto would say…or the lone Ranger to me and you….

Referee Whitestone blew his whistle and the game got under way and before you could say, “sit down, shut up” Reading scored a goal. Some fans had yet to make it into the fucking place as Long's turn of speed took him past Robbo out on the left side of the midfield. Long's cross was headed out away by Abdou, but the ball fell perfectly for the unmarked Hunt who fired home with Forde stranded. 1-0.

Good grief…not a good start at all and I must admit I feared the worse as we were struggling from that moment on, They looked more robust, quicker and had a bit more guile all over the park as we knuckled down to try and prevent an avalanche.
To our credit the storm was weathered and we did start to make a few inroads into their half and Morison and Bouazza linked up well but McCarthy in the Reading goal dealt with the effort comfortably.

Mkandawire had a virtual free header from an in swinging corner from Henry but he missed the target by some distance but overall it was really us chasing them all over the pitch.

Sporadic chances was the best we could muster but at least the defence was dealing admirably with the Reading attack, limiting them to half chances and speculative shots from distance but it was not looking to bright for the lack lustre Lions.

Reading finally broke down our determined rearguard when Cummings was put in with a clear chance at goal but he fired way over the bar when he really should’ve doubled their lead.

For some obscure reason the home side began adopting a strange time wasting ploy as well as a bad case of the theatrics as Hunt showed us his Tom Daley impressions with a dive that would get him at the very least, a bronze in 2012.

Reading also showed a nasty side as right on half time Tabb hacked down Trotter but Referee Whitestone just waved play on but Trotter was clearly hurt as he received some lengthy treatment by the physio.

The half time whistle went soon after and we were left to ponder Mr Jackett’s half time talk and maybe what changes he may make for the second half.


Mr Jackett made his change for the second half, reverting us back to a 4-4-2 by taking off the reasonably impressive Bouazza and sticking Harris on up front with Morison.

Bingo!

We forced the ball forward immediately from the kick off and Harris found space to the right of the area and fired in a fantastic effort that flew into the net. 1-1! Not even 20 seconds on the clock and we were back in the game.

Harris had his tail up and nearly bagged a second soon after as he pushed his way through a packed Reading defence only to have his shot deflected for a corner.

But in truth it was a false dawn as within ten minutes of our equaliser the home side went back in front in what looked like a training ground goal as they worked the ball down the right, crossed into our box to an un marked Long who had the simplest of shots into the back of our net. 2-1.

Mr Jackett responded to this by taking off Barron and bringing on Craig and soon after he was forced to replace Abdou who was injured making a last ditch saving tackle, with Purse which meant Mkandawire moved forward into midfield but clearly there was no way back into this game for us as we were getting a lesson in possession football and how to kill a game off by an experienced reading side who had us weighed and measured.
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The five minutes of added time served no purpose other than to make it an even later trip back home and at the final whistle the majority of the travelling fans applauded the lads for a valiant effort but I think we all knew that we were simply beaten by a better team on the night.

So, as my old mate David Essex once said, “Where do we go from here” and I would respond this time by saying Forest at home on Saturday you twinkly eyed old reprobate and by the Gods of football, if we perform in the same vein then please prepare for the worst, dear reader.

I know I’ll see a lot of you there…
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