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Sunday, 2 April 2017

Reading v Leeds Utd 1st April 2017.

I trust everybody enjoyed the international break? Thought not so it's good to get back to proper football and the resumption of the battle for promotion to the Premier League as we head to Berkshire for our mouth watering tea time clash with Reading. I know it does seem like an April Fool the fact we are actually involved in the promotion mix as we enter the business end of the season but now we're here it would be nice  to at least upset a few of our rival's apple carts on the way. Jaap Stam, the epitome of a graceful loser when he came to Elland Road, would be a good place to start with his possession obsessed Reading team............that's assuming we could beat the closure of the M4 for the weekend just when Reading have their one and only sell out game of the season?

In the end the M4 closure was a bit of a non event for us approaching from the M25 as we sailed through a traffic free M4 to arrive in good time. Time to consider the team news and the fact Jansson was missing from the squad with a hamstring injury after his efforts for Sweden. Mmmm not what I wanted to hear. Still we're not a one man team as Mr Kermorgant would have you believe and Chris Wood was back in the team after his mystery injury and news that mighty Burton had scored a late winner at Huddersfield was well received by all supporters in the ground as the game got under way.

Reading started well with their deliberate passing style helping them dominate the opening exchanges. Chants of "Boring Boring Reading" tumbled from the packed away end. Bartley nearly converted an Hernadez cross but his deep header nestled in the side netting. Leeds were looking distinctly off colour though as they snatched at passes and were harried into mistakes when they had the ball. This wasn't the start we'd all travelled over 200 miles to see. On 20 minutes Leeds paid a painful price for their less than forceful start. Charlie Taylor burst a lung to chase down a break down his flank and got in a good tackle to concede a throw in and in doing so dispatch his opponent behind the bye line. The Leeds defence ambled out leaving the Reading player on his own coming back from his tumble but onside from the throw in. Taylor realised too late but was able to just get a head on the  throw but all he could do was divert it to a certain Mr Kermorgant on the edge of the box who took great delight in hammering home an unstoppable shot from 18 yards. Brilliant strike, poor defending. 1.0 Reading.

Reading were now in total control and Leeds were rocking. Beerens wasted a chance to double the lead minutes before a superb save by Green from McCleary kept Leeds in the game. This was not looking good as the usually raucous Leeds away support lost some of their voice in the wake of the battering Leeds were taking. Then there was a flicker of hope. Leeds pressing of the Reading defence in possession recovered the ball.......Pedraza skipped down the left and fired a vicious cross right onto Hernandez's run but his connection fizzed inches over the gaping goal. That gave Leeds some hope but right on half time Kermorgant hit a post with a low shot from the edge of the box. Leeds trooped off for the break chastened by their poor first half showing but thankful that the score was just the one goal lead. Garry Monk needed a fix and quickly if we were going to get back into the game.

Leeds started the second 45 minutes with more purpose. Wood was cynically dragged down as he showed a clean pair of heals to Swift earning the Reading man a yellow card. The game became  niggly. On the hour Cooper scrambled a shot over the bar from a corner as Leeds gave their travelling army some hope that they might snatch a point. Doukara replaced Sacko as Leeds pushed for the equaliser followed by Phillips on for Pedraza. Leeds huffed and puffed and got the ball forward quickly to rattle the home defence. Al Habsi fumbled a weak shot to give Leeds a corner as the Royals nerves jangled. Time was running out for Leeds though. Vieira shot through a melee of players at a corner but Al Habsi saved well.

The game got more frantic the nearer to the final whistle we got especially when the ref turned down what seemed a certain penalty for Leeds when a yellow shirt was pushed to the ground as he went to challenge Al Habsi. 3,600 away fans were absolutely incensed with the decision that put the final nail in the Leeds coffin. 6 minutes of added time just extended the frustration as the game ended 1.0 Reading. Strangely there were lots of empty seats in the home end before the final whistle? They must have been late for their Horlicks or something but those who were left celebrated like they'd just won promotion.

Reading were the better team as Leeds never really got going even in the 2nd half but the penalty appeal was galling. Leeds missed Jansson more for his distribution rather than his defending especially when Leeds were pushing in the 2nd half. I didn't see the Cooper stamping incident during the match but it looked awful on the clips I've seen. Apologies for the chants of "Your just a soft southern bastard" when he probably still had at least two of Cooper's studs in his head. Cooper could well get a ban for that. Throwing bottles of Lucozade at Al Habsi didn't do our cause any good neither. All in all a frustrating day not helped with the closure of the M1 on the way home. Brentford on Tuesday all of a sudden looks a massive game. Seat belts tightened we've hit some turbulence. hang in there and keep believing.

Can't wait.



Leeds watcher since 65 said...

Welcome back good review as usual, we didn't seem at it for some strange reason. I hope the Jannson situation is not anything more than an injury there does seem to be alot of speculation. Let's hope we can keep our collective nerve.

Andy P said...

Thanks Andrew and great to read your report as usual. I did watch this game on TV which I think the game plan was for a 0 - 0 draw and we unfortunately seemed devoid of ideas when they got the goal. Going to need the momentum to start building now for the playoffs, so Brentford certainly is a big game.

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