A Royal Affair: Game Five

11 12 2006

After four games, Reading are enjoying a bright start to their first Premiership season. Two victories, one draw and one defeat is a decent enough start to the campaign, but with a home tie against Watford on the horizon, we will need to get back to winning ways to prove that we deserve to stay in the Premiership for another season.

Game Five: Reading v Watford

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.

In defence, Greg Halford was rested for Sonko, with Billy Jones pushing out wide to the right of the back four. James Harper replaced Hunt, moving Adu to the left wing, while Jon Oster was given his first Premiership appearance in the hope of instrumenting some attacks down the right and upfront Doyle replaced Long.

Watford started the game brightly, creating two decent chances in the first few minutes of play. However, after ten minutes of play, the dangerous Leroy Lita was fouled just outside the area. The following free kick was struck powerfully down the centre of the goal by Steve Sidwell,  bagging his first goal of the season. With our noses infront, we hoped to capitalise on such a bright start, and pushed forward eagerly. After a few attempts, we finally made killed off the game after just 26 minutes, when Lita rose to head home Freddy Adu’s swinging corner.

With a two goal cushion so early on, it seemed as though the players were reacting well to the challenge given to them. We had set out to score more goals, and this start was ideal. The second half offered little in terms of chances, with us sitting a little further back to defend our lead and to try to keep a clean sheet. With seven minutes to go, Watford’s Tommy Smith was sent off, and victory looked certain.

While we were awaiting the final whistle in order to kick off the celebrations for our third victory, Freddy Adu teared down the left wing with the ball seemingly stuck to his feet. Watford substitute Claude Seania then hacked down the American, who collapsed in the ground, and was obviously unable to continue the last few minutes of action. With all of our substitutions used, we were forced to play the final few seconds with ten men, but while we were happy to walk away with another clean sheet and three more points, there was a hint of worry as to how long Adu would be out for.

Thankfully for us, the injury turned out to be nothing too serious, with the seventeen year old needing just two weeks rest before being able to join up with the rest of the squad in training. Adu has proved himself to be a great talent so far, scoring two goals in his few appearances for the club, and it would be a shame to add him to an injury list that already held a few first team players.

On the bright side, Nicky Shorey and Bobby Convey were not far from returning to training – the two left sided players would have, no doubt, been involved in every game so far should they not have been forced out of the team through injuries. Striker Dave Kitson is also only two weeks or so away from getting back into training, and so should we avoid any serious injuries, the squad should be boosted with some fresh legs in the not too distant future.

As for the game this afternoon, while the performance was run of the mill, the fact that we were able to bounce back from a defeat and a draw to pick up not only three points but our third clean sheet of the season was impressive. While the form may not last throughout the season, our current run is akin to that of Chelsea and Arsenal, and with ten points in the bag already, relegation is far from our minds.

Next up, we take on Burnley in the League Cup, a clash which, on home ground especially, we will be looking to walk away from victorious. Find out how we do in Part 6 of A Royal Affair!

Game Stats:

Reading 2-0 Watford
Goalscorers: Steve Sidwell, Leroy Lita
Current Points Total: 10
Points from target of 40: 30

iMAGE

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11 12 2006
The Football Manager Community » FM Community Digest 11/12/2006

[…] A Royal Affair Game Five […]

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