Reading: Federici, Mills, Gorkks, Pearce, Cummings, Robson-Kanu (Kebe), Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Le Fondre, Church (Hunt)
I guess your outlook on this weekend's result and our recent run in general can come down to whether you're a glass half full or a glass half empty type of person. On the one hand it's 8 games unbeaten and a clean sheet away at a top six side. On the other hand its another game that we've failed to win, another game we've failed to score in the first half and we're now just as close to the drop zone as we are the top six.
Anyway, due to other commitments none of your regular TTE crew were able to go to Saturday's game so after a Twitter appeal, Reading fan Tom Hearn was kind enough to give us his version of events at Selhurst Park on Saturday and you can find those below the jump.
For a 0-0 this was actually very exciting. Both teams had good chances in what was actually quite a spectacle for the 21,002 (1,321 Reading fans) inside Crystal Palace’s ‘Selhurst Park.’ Not even the wooden seats in the Arthur Waites stand or the ear bleeding ‘pre-match entertainment’ from singer I Am Beyonce could dampen the mood, we were 7 unbeaten and felt that we were in with a chance of 3 points before the game begun.
The game began with Reading immediately taking the upper hand with Jem Karacan’s 20 yard effort stinging the gloves of the very impressive Julian Speroni. Oddly enough, a few days before the match I had talked to a QPR fan about Kaspars Gorkss, he described him as ‘a fighter with one hell of a left foot.’ The latter swiftly became apparent as he drove at goal from 30 yards out, forcing Speroni to tip over his bar. Palace youngster Wilfred Zaha showed why there was Premier League interest in him as he beat Karacan before putting an 18 yard effort just wide of Federici’s right hand post. Speroni then made the save of the match as once again Karacan was given enough room to hit one from 18 yards which Speroni had to be at full stretch to tip over the crossbar.
Just before half time Dougie Freedman’s men showed why they have had such a brilliant start to the new campaign. Jon Williams putting the ball into the back of the net, before realising the linesman had correctly called it offside. This brought half time, and two more ear bleeding songs from I Am Beyonce, once again the Royals had failed to score in the first half but had been very promising, showing signs of hopefully things to come this season with some nice link up play all over the pitch.
The first chance of the second half came to skipper Jobi McAnuff and it will be one he will want to forget as he fired well over Speroni’s goal into row z of the family stand. Then came one of the chances of the match, McAnuff swung a pinpoint cross over from the right hand side, perfectly onto Hal Robson-Kanu’s head 6 yards from goal only to see him head wide when it was easier to score! Shaun Cummings also showed some trickery, skinning two Palace players to get sight of goal, only to see his tame effort go straight into the grateful arms of Speroni.
Palace had their first opportunity of the half as skipper McCarthy had his header tipped over the bar by Federici. Brian McDermott then made two changes, to the delight of the fans he brought on Jimmy Kebe for Hal Robson-Kanu and Noel Hunt for Simon Church. Kebe made an instant impact, putting in a rare good cross and Le Fondre headed onto the bar, much to the dismay of the travelling fans. With five minutes to go the game really came to life, firstly Karacan had to clear off the line after Reading dealt poorly with a Palace corner. Then the ref had to make two huge game changing decisions. The first was a Palace penalty shout as they felt that Federici brought down Parr unfairly, the referee gave no penalty, a decision which Dougie Freedman admitted was the right one after the match. Then came one of the worst decisions Reading fans will see this season. In the last seconds McAnuff put a corner on the back post which Gorkss headed in to the back of the net. As he wheeled away to celebrate the referee blew his whistle and gave a free kick to Palace. After the match Brian McDermott asked the official why he had given a free kick, to be told that a foul had been commited on Speroni by Le Fondre, even though it is quite obvious that no one touched Speroni, let alone fouled Speroni! and that was where the game came to a halt, much to the disapproval of the Reading faithful.
So the unbeaten streak goes to 8 but Reading slip to 16th thanks to a refereeing blunder, and they should really be a lot higher. In the end though there are more positives than negatives to take from this match, Joseph Mills had his best game in a Reading shirt as he kept Zaha extremely quiet and things seem to be starting to click. Next up for the Royals it’s a midweek clash away at Steve Cotterill’s Forest, certainly a tough test.
Thanks again to Tom and you can follow him on Twitter @hearn161 We're always happy to accept any thoughts people have on any Royals game so if you fancy adding your thoughts to a match report comment below, or send them to us via email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll post them up.