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Tenacity, Spirit, Flair and three points!

By Matthew Grant
March 1 2004

Reading turned in an outstanding performance to complete the double over promotion rivals, Sheffield United at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday. Royals came from behind to win the game as United slipped out of the Play-off's New Page 2 Match Report New Page 1 New Page 1 Yearly review

Match Report: Reading 2:1 Sheffield United
One change was made to the team that drew with Burley in the week, Captain Adrian Williams returned to the stating line-up in place of Ricky Newman.

Reading started very brightly and could have taken the lead after only three minutes when Goater came close. Though Sheffield United were the ones who were going to open up the scoring with debutant, Andy Gray doing the damage. The player signed from struggling Bradford City earlier in the week and make a great start to his United career with a good strike from the edge of the box. 

The signs did not look good for Steve Coppell's men as Reading looked to stay with the Play-Off teams. Reading had to wait quarter of an hour though to get back in it and when it came it was well worth the wait. Reading were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. Shorey stepped over the free kick and hit it in to the top right corner of Paddy Kenny's goal. It was Shorey's second goal that he has scored this season by a free kick after scoring a similar strike just after Christmas at Walsall.

Reading looked to build on this as they set out a number of attacks on the United goal but the Royals could not put it in. Reading though would go in at half time in front as Goater scored from the penalty spot. A jinxing run by James Harper was ended with him being taken down by Montgomery. Goater stepped up and buried the ball in the roof of the net to put the Royals in the lead.

Half Time: Reading 2:1 Sheffield United

Sheffield United came out in the second half looking to set out a an attack on the Reading goal. They did exactly this and put the Royals back line under heavy amounts of pressure but a combination of good saves and poor finishing meant Reading hanged on to their lead. United's best opportunity seemed to fall to Nick Montgomery but his shot was straight at Hahnemann from just inside the box. Michael Tonge also hit the post in a game which saw the Yorkshire team fall further off the pace after some poor results of late.

But as the game wore on it could be felt that it was not going to be United's day as chance after chance went by and Reading could have sealed it off as sub Dave Kitson, who replaced Goater went through only to see his shot saved by the body of Kenny.

On a bad note from the game, was the injury sustained to Graeme Murty when going down under a challenge, Murty after the game was seen on crutches and is now a major doubt for Royals game against Preston on Tuesday at Deepdale.

One thing that could be clearly noticed during the game was the increase in atmosphere in the Madejski Stadium. After the recent efforts to increase the noise in the Madstad the fans seem to have taking note as, particularly in the second half the whole stadium was making an effort to join in with some of the tunes! This was also backed after the game when United manager, Neil Warnock commented on the fact that the noise was intimidating for his players and fans. Long may it continue! 

Full Time: Reading 2:1 Sheffield United

Man Of The Match: James Harper, seems to be getting his confidence back after a poor season by his standards. Made some good runs in a game which saw the whole team play well.

Ref Watch: That's now three games on the trot that Reading have had a poor referee. Was willing to book Owusu for accidental handball but not book a United played when they took out Sidwell in the back.

Next League Game

Preston North End vs Reading

Deepdale, Tuesday 2nd March, 7:45 Kick Off

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