Sunday, 8 March 2009

Reading Review

A thoroughly enjoyable game of football which I think we deserved to win. I know I'm biased, but we created more chances and Fallons goal didn't look offside to me. I'll caveat that by saying I'm in the middle of the Demport so I don't have the best angle.

Larry - O was solid at the back for 99% of the time. There was one incident when he could of come for a ball but chose to stay on his line. It needed Gray to put his foot through it for a corner. Larry - O would of got there easily. No blame at Larry - O for their first equaliser. Their second was down the other end, so not a great view but it looked like a 1 on 1 where you have to back the striker I suppose.

Sawyer looks a bit short of pace which surprises me as I always thought he was pretty quick. Otherwise, a good solid performance. Seip was as awesome as ever, and was well partnered by Cathcart until he had to go off. Looked like an ankle. Timar came on and was shaky at first, but grew into the game. Solid, but no more than that. Gray had a great game. Dealt with the Reading threat well enough down our right and got forward well too.

In the midfield, I thought Flether was outstanding. Nothing too fancy, but he tackled like a tiger and distributed it well. A very Nalis-esque performance. Duguid was similar but there were a few misplaced passes and some miss control from him. The absolute stand out player was Mackie. His goal was worth the entrance fee alone and I expect it to be one of the candidates for goal of the season. It was that good. The rest of the game he was fantastic as well. Didn't stop running and took off a lot of pressure by making himself available as an out ball. Judge was also superb on the other side. He caused all sorts of problems and put in some great crosses. I was surprised when he got subbed. I thought it was going to be for Barnes as he was out on his arse. Unfortunately, as soon as Paterson came on, Reading attacked down his side and scored.

Gallagher did well in the first half, played off Barnes well and made things happen. he also took his goal well which I think was set up by Barnes but I may be wrong. Fallon was out having a kick about at half time but called in by the woman who usually looks after the mascots. I wonder if Gally was still feeling the effects of whatever was making him feel ill last week? Fallon was OK, when he came on. He won more headers than he lost, so happy with that. He also showed a few good touches when laying the ball off. My only complaint is that he gives away too many fouls when in good positions.

I'm going to use a separate paragraph for Barnes. I thought he had a fantastic game. Not a MoM performance, that goes to Mackie or Fletcher, but Barnes really puts himself about, wins his fair share of aerial challenges and also has a good touch, good vision and can strike a ball too. I saw him early in the season in the Rezzies, and I thought he was OK, but nothing special. However, he has come back from his loan spell a different player. I can't see Fallon getting back into the team while Barnes is fit. My only criticism is fitness. Barnes was out on his feet at the end, he gave everything.

A definite problem is concentration at set pieces. Readings first goal was from a corner taken short which no one picked up. An unpressurised cross led to a free header on the penalty spot. Not good enough.

To summarise, an enjoyable game where we played well against a promotion chasing team. Reading did ok, and are a big side, but we made them look ordinary apart from lack of concentration at a corner, and a 1 on 1 in the second half.

A final note. We are the featured game on The Championship on ITV tomorrow morning. Make sure you watch it, or at least find Mackie's goal on the interweb. It's worth watching over and over again.

A final, final note. If we play with that attitude, commitment and performance from here on in, there is no way we will be relegated.

A very happy and proud Green tonight.

Nick (GibGreen)

Sturrock continues clawing his way out of the mire.

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