A Royal Affair: Game Thirteen

14 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

Royals secure ‘Greatest Victory’

Jones and Harper the heroes as Liverpool succumb to defeat

Reading’s fantastic form continued with a surprising and excellent 2-1 victory over Premiership giants Liverpool. After taking the lead from a Harry Kewell strike, Liverpool fell behind to goals from defender Billy Jones and midfield star James Harper as the Royals pushed further up the table.

Reading went into the game on the back of two victories. However, Liverpool were also in great form after notching up three straight wins, scoring nine goals in the process. Reds boss Rafa Benetiz named a strong side for the visiting team, while Reading made some changes with Greg Halford (Suspended) dropped for de la Cruz, Freddy Adu and Seol Ki-Hyeon starting on the wings, and Dave Kitson replacing Shane Long upfront as the Royals looked to field a fit and fresh side.

The first half was end to end, with both Freddy Adu and Dave Kitson having early chances in between efforts from the Reds. However, as the first 45 minutes came to a close, Liverpool began pushing forward, creating more chances and causing havoc to the defence. With two minutes before half time, the Reds opened the deadlock after a fine move by Mo Sissoko found Harry Kewell free inside the area. The Australian fired home a great strike which was a big blow to the Reading fans, who looked to be heading into half time with a draw.

In the second half, Shane Long and Kevin Doyle were brought on, with Dave Kitson and Ki-Hyeon making way. The change seemed to do the trick, as Reading won a corner after 51 minutes. Adu’s swinging cross found the head of Billy Jones who scored the equaliser and his first since his £1.3m move in the summer.

Liverpool were not prepared to settle for a drawer, and immediately came forward again. Thankfully for Reading the ever reliable Marcus Hahnemann was on hand to prevent the Reds from regaining the lead. Infact, with 73 minutes on the clock, it was the home team who scored. Steve Sidwell had been brought down in the area, and a penalty rightfully given for Reading. James Harper stepped up and showed no signs of nerves as he slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

Goalscorer James Harper in action

With a slender lead, Reading tried to push forward to grab a third, although in finding Liverpool pushing more men up themselves, they were forced to sit back a little. Despite a few chances for the Reds, they were not able to get past the strong Reading defence, and with seconds remaining, the Royals were able to keep hold of the ball and secure a fantastic victory over this great team.

After the game the Reading manager summed up the thoughts of the 24000 fans.

“It was a great result. We’ve played a fantastic team their and come away with three points. This is probably the greatest victory of the season!” he laughed after the game.

The Royals winning goalscorer, James Harper, was equally as extatic to grab his third goal of the season.

“That’s something we thought was unlikely. We wanted a win but Liverpool are a fine team. It doesn’t seem real yet – but perhaps people will take us more seriously now.”

Should Reading continue this form then it is fair to say that any relegation worries will easily be extinguised. But with a difficult game with Chelsea on the horizon, Reading will need to be at their best to avoid losing momentum.

Next week see’s the Royals travel to Everton in the fourth round of the League Cup, so get those tickets today!

Reading Line Up:-

1. Marcus Hahnemann (GK), 21. Ulises de la Cruz (DR), 19. Jon Harley (DL), 3. Billy Jones (DC), 2. Ibrahima Sonko (DC), 12. Seol Ki-Hyeon (MR), 15. Freddy Adu (ML), 6. Steve Sidwell (MC), 16. James Harper (AMC), 9. Leroy Lita (ST), 14. Dave Kitson (ST)

Subs: 10. Shane Long (on for Kitson), 8. Kevin Doyle (on for Ki-Hyeon), 4. Nicky Shorey (on for Sonko), 28. Stephen Ireland, 11. Bobby Convey

Match Facts:

Reading 2-1 Liverpool
F.A Premiership
Scorers: Billy Jones (51), James Harper (73)
Attendance: 24190
MOTM: Hahnemann
Points Total: 23
Sunday 5th November 2006

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

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