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Ref-Watch / Media Reaction CHRISTMAS SPECIAL: Wigan (H)

Bah humbug. In Reading's last home game of the year, a damp loss, to cap-off a damp 2013. Far from a Christmas cracker, here's a seasonal summary of Reading vs Wigan in the ho-ho-horrific conditions of a sodden Madejski Stadium.

Ben Hoskins

First, however, we cast a quick look back over our shoulders at the referee from yesterday's match, Mr GARY SUTTON.

Busier in the lower tiers of English football this season, prior to Saturday, Sutton had officiated a combined total of 9 League One and Two fixtures in contrast to only 2 in the Championship: Yeovil vs Brighton, and Ipswich vs Huddersfield.

The man from Lincolnshire, on top of the 6 bookings from a busy refereeing performance at the MadStad yesterday, had previously handed out a total of 8 yellows (and no reds) across those two Championship clashes above.

Perhaps more pertinent is his penalty record. Gary gave a 25th minute penalty in Huddersfield's favour, in their game against Ipswich earlier this month. However, James Vaughan had his drive parried by the Tractor Boys' goalkeeper Dean Gerken. Consequently, Ipswich went on to win 2-1 (sounds familiar...). Vaughan's miss means that in conjunction with Billy Sharp's wayward effort from the spot against Wigan, both of the penalties Sutton has awarded this season haven't been converted.


Now to the meat and potatoes (or rather the turkey and sprouts) of this festive spread: the media reaction to our game against the Latics.

In a tradition as old as Christmas itself, we begin as we always do with the official site's write-up. I couldn't help but titter at 'the swirling winds' that apparently had a hand in Alex Pearce's mistake leading to Nick Powell's goal. Whilst the weather was hardly that of a glorious summer day, the game took place in Reading, not Narnia.


A very merry Uwe Rosler sits atop of the BBC's Christmas tree-[cough, wheeze], the BBC's match report. 'Tis the season and all that. Of course, the Yuletide is made all the more cheery when your new Wigan side is gifted two soft goals. Nigel Adkins, in his post-match comments at the bottom of the article, agrees: there is simply snow excuse 'for giving away goals like that'.


There's been no slacking in the Mail Online encampment for Christmas: Scrooge has worked his journalists overtime to churn out another report on Saturday's match. The bemusement of the home crowd in the first half is mentioned, cited as 'it seemed to rouse the players from their lethargy'. In the bleak midwinter, frosty Royals fans made moan, etc.


I always enjoy peeking at the post-match analysis (though I enjoy them even more when we actually win). Our statistical dominance is highlighted amongst the bars, pies and percentages this week: however, as is quickly becoming a theme with our Reading side, dominating possession and the like counts for nothing unless you can produce results. A classic case of all flash and no trousers? (Or in an alternative festive flavour, all stockings and no satsumas)


Finally, we close with a traditional slice of HobNob Anyone? BFTG doom-mongery and misery. All manner of issues on the menu, ranging from throw-ins to BBC Radio Berks phone-ins. If opinion is what you're craving, Christmas has come (slightly) early.


And that's your lot. Apologies for the unorthodox format this week, I've nipped over to the continent to spend the holidays with family in Belgium and Holland. Cheese and chocolate abound.

Merry Christmas one and all.