A Royal Affair: Game Twelve

13 01 2007

A Royal Affair collates my attempts to take relegation-favourites Reading from the lower regions of the Premiership to higher heights. So far results have been encouraging, and the players are working well together as we strive to make our target of forty points by the end of the season.  

Welcome to the official Reading F.C website

Bolton Bruised as Reading sneak victory

Lita the hero with late winning goal

Reading went head to head with Bolton for the second time in a week in this evening’s Premiership encounter, and while the scoreline may have differed, the result was the same – a pleasing victory for the Royals.

On the back of the 1-0 victory last Wednesday, Reading went into the game hoping to get their Premiership season back on track following a draw and a defeat prior to the Carling Cup clash with Bolton. The side saw a few changes, with Greg Halford returning at right back and Jon Harley on the left, Billy Jones in the centre of defence, Kevin Doyle reprising his right hand midfield role, James Harper in attacking midfield and Shane Long and Leroy Lita upfront.

Reading couldn’t have asked for a better start when Kevin Doyle latched on to a long goal kick by Marcus Hahnemann before dashing through Bolton’s defence to fire home his second goal in two games after just two minutes.

With the Royals in control, a second victory in a week looked likely until a rash challenge by Greg Halford led to the summer signing receiving a red card. His two footed challenge earned him an early bath, something the Reading manager wasn’t too pleased with.

“It was a poor tackle, to be honest. You can’t go in two footed in this game, and he did.” The Gaffer said after the game. “At the end of the day, the referee was right – myself and Greg have to hold our hands up their. But it’s disapointing. Greg’s a great player, and he will be missed.”

At half time, and with the depleted squad somewhat flagging, Dave Kitson replaced Shane Long upfront, while James Harper made way for Stephen Ireland, the on loan midfielder slowly recovering from a serious twisted ankle. While it was hoped the two substitutions could help Reading control the game, they had little chance from the kick off. Just seconds after Reading restarted play, Bolton won the ball back and pushed forward, with the ever influential Kevin Nolan finding Henrik Pedersen, who had no trouble in blasting past Hahnemann to equalise.

After being in the lead so early on, Reading then found themselves staring at defeat after a controversial penalty. With 58 minutes played, Billy Jones was adjudged to have brought down Nolan, and Stelios Giannakopoulos fired home the penalty to give Bolton a slender lead. With one man and now a goal down, victory was moving further away from the Royals grip, but the boss wasn’t prepared to give up a victory this easily.

After a few stern words, Reading pushed forward more, and when Dave Kitson stepped up to take a 68th minute free kick, his precise effort lifted the whole of the away crowd. The striker, grabbing his first goal of the season, had scored a fantastic strike, and with the goal came a renewed hope. Reading continued to push forward, despite having lost a defender earlier in the game, and when Ibrahima Sonko’s free kick found Leroy Lita unmarked in the box, the England Under 21 international raced through to grab an 85th minute winner, much to the pleasure of the travelling fans.

Lita

Leroy Lita – Celebrating the winning goal

Another three points for the Royals means they now have twenty points – and are at the half way stage of the gaffers forty point target.

Reading captain Steve Sidwell spoke to the website after the game.

“It was great to get back to winning in the Premiership, and we’re over the moon for Dave. He’s struggled with his injury this season, but he’s a fantastic striker and he has shown that today.” The midfielder remarked. “We’ve surprised everyone – including ourselves – this season, but it’s great that we’re up at the top, rather than fighting at the bottom of the table. We just need to keep this up, but we’re in great form right now and the lads are a great bunch too. We’re very optimistic and we just can’t wait for the next game!”

Reading will host Liverpool in the league on Sunday, but will be without Greg Halford who has been given a three match ban following his foul today. Can the fantastic form continue against these formidable opponents? Snap up your tickets today to find out. It’s sure to be a sell out, so make sure you buy them before the game.

Reading Line Up:-

1. Marcus Hahnemann (GK), 22. Greg Halford (DR), 19. Jon Harley (DL), 3. Billy Jones (DC), 2. Ibrahima Sonko (DC), 8. Kevin Doyle (MR), 11. Bobby Convey (ML), 6. Steve Sidwell (MC), 16. James Harper (AMC), 9. Leroy Lita (ST), 10. Shane Long (ST)

Subs: 14. Dave Kitson (on for Long), 28. Stephen Ireland (on for Harper), 12. Seol Ki-Hyeon, 20. John Oster, 4. Nicky Shorey

Match Facts:

Bolton Wanderers 2-3 Reading
F.A Premiership
Scorers: Kevin Doyle (2), Dave Kitson (68), Leroy Lita (85)
Attendance: 24554
MOTM: Lita
Points Total: 20
Monday 30th October 2006

Missed any games? You can read all previous reports here!

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