A Royal Affair: Game Four

7 12 2006

Reading have enjoyed a good start to the season, picking up six points out of a possible nine, but following the 3-1 defeat to Manchester United, can the Royals get back to winning ways when they visit Fulham?

Game Four: Fulham v Reading

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After the defeat to United, a few changes were made to the side to try and provide both respite for some of the more weary players, and to try and instigate some more attacking flair within the team. Jon Harley returned to left back while de la Cruz and Sonko were dropped for Jones and Halford. In midfield, Freddy Adu was pushed further upfield to rest James Harper, giving Stephen Hunt a chance to impress on the left wing. Glen Little and Kevin Doyle were rested, replaced by Seol and Shane Long respectively.

Despite demanding a more attacking flair, we found ourselves defending from early on. We had to wait thirty minutes before being able to make our first effort in goal, while Fulham, with new signing Kleberson at the heart of midfield, were pressing forward at every available opportunity. By half time it was obvious that Fulham were in complete control and we would have to make changes if we were to get something out of this game.

To try and give the side some different options, Little came on for Seol, while Jon Harley pushed up to the left midfield role, with Hunt being replaced by Peter Mate. This allowed Billy Jones to move to the left of defence, and would hopefully give us more protection at the back while allowing Little and Harley to push forward more.

The plan, however, did not seem to be working, especially when Kleberson dribbled past our defence to give Fulham the lead on 64 minutes. We made an immediate substitution, bringin on Kevin Doyle for Shane Long, and immediately the Irishman was helping us to create more chances. In the next ten minutes we had more attempts on goal than the previous sixty minutes – and with fifteen minutes to go, we finally got our lucky break. Freddy Adu, probably still celebrating after his wonderful free kick against United the week prior, managed to sneak through the Fulham defence with the ball seemingly stuck to his feet to power home a dramatic equaliser. The final few minutes of the game were played out in the centre of the pitch, with neither side wishing to push forward too much in fear of losing a point.

Come full time, we were quite happy to leave the Cottage with a point in the bag. The game was nothing extraordinary, and no single player really stood out. We probably didn’t perform as well as our hosts, but sometimes in football you can play badly and still get a decent result. It may not have been three points, but a draw away from home is quite satisfactory for us.

However, if we are to stay up then we need to beat certain teams. Next week we take on Watford at home in a game that we have to win if we are to prove that a) we can stay up and b) the previous victories were not flukes. Look out for the next report to see how we performed – and find out which star player’s injury gives us some cause for concern.

Game Stats:

Fulham 1-1 Reading
Goalscorer: Freddy Adu
Current Points Total: 7
Points from target of 40: 33

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2 responses

8 12 2006
OTBC

This looks like a good site you’ve got going here, and I’m enjoying this story, despite my hatred of Reading. 😛

Keep up the good work mate.

11 12 2006
A Royal Affair: Game Five « Blog FM

[…] The 1-1 draw with Fulham wasn’t a bad result, but it did show a worrying statistic: we had scored just two goals in the previous two games, with both goals coming from our young loanee, Freddy Adu. I wanted us to attack in this game more forcefully, and considering we were up against a team that, like ourselves, was playing in a lower league last season, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to pick up a confidence boosting victory. […]

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