Crawley Town 1 - 3 Reading FC
A match review from our game with Crawley Town in the Third Round of the FA Cup, submitted by Vital Reading's new recruit and potential editor Andrew Wearing.
The teams today were:
Reading: Federici, Cummings, Harte (c), Morrison, Pearce, Karacan, Tabb, McCleary, Robson-Kanu, Hunt and Le Fondre.
Subs: Taylor, Gunter, Shorey, Mariappa, Guthrie, Church, Ugwu.
Crawley: P.Jones, Hunt, Sadler, Walsh, Connolly, Adams, Simpson, Akpan, M.Jones, Alexander and Clarke.
Subs: Torres, Bulman, Cooper, Byrne, Elford-Alliyu, Akinde and Kuipers.
Reading made seven chances to the side which lost 3-1 to Spurs on New Years Day, resting our captain Jobi McAnuff and Mikele Leigertwood among others. WOW! Of all the starts I could have imagined, no one could have written the script for the first few seconds. After just 15 seconds Crawley had taken the lead through Nicky Adams. Adams cut inside from the right and smashed a shot into the top right corner, Federici had no chance.
Crawley continued to press and almost made it two-nil after continuous Crawley pressure but Federici produced a great save to deny Walsh and tipped the ball over the bar. Crawley really came out of the blocks the better of the two sides. But then Reading with their first meaningful attack levelled the game after 13 minutes. McCleary nodded the ball back into the box and at the near post Le Fondre arrived and calmly side footed a well placed shot past Crawley keeper Jones.
Reading started to get a foot hold on the game with McCleary proving to be our biggest threat with a few jinking runs, troubling the Crawley defence no end. Crawley were playing some really nice football and most of Reading`s problems came through Adams, who continuously beat veteran Ian Harte. Then on the 30th minute Federici produced a great save at the shins of Crawley midfielder Michael Jones who got on the end of a ball into the box and he really should have scored.
Three minutes before the break Reading made it 2-1, McCleary with another jinking run, ending in a pin point cross for Irishman Noel Hunt, who expertly side footed the ball passed Jones and into the Crawley net. McCleary with his second assist of the game, who has been very impressive. The score line was harsh on Crawley at the break who have been very impressive.
Reading started the second half the brightest and got the first corner of the second half after just one minute. Crawley then conceded a penalty, Noel Hunt was then clipped inside the area and subsequently fell over, Le Fondre stepped up and absolutely smashed the ball into the net, no chance for the stranded Crawley goalkeeper Jones, that was Le Fondre`s third penalty of the season and he has scored all three. The last Reading hat trick came from Kevin Doyle in 2008, could Le Fondre get the first hat trick since Doyle?
Reading continuously pilled on the pressure on a tiring Crawley side, the third goal had knocked the stuffing out of the Reds. Reading made the first substitution of the game on the 60th minute mark; Danny Guthrie came on for the ever reliable Jem Karacan. The pace of the game had slowed down considerably and Reading were in significant control after the first half of the second half. Crawley then made their first substitution of the game, bringing on Lateef Elford-Alliyu for Michael Jones.
Then on the 25th minute of the second half, Cummings was booked for a dive in the Crawley penalty area, there was contact but Reading fans know Cummings is not the sort of player to dive, it was the wrong decision by the referee in my view to book Cummings for simulation. Danny Guthrie was proving he was a class apart, Guthrie continuously wanted the ball and when he got it he almost always produced a pin point ball. With 8 minutes to go Federici produced a great save, he didn`t see it, a shot from Sadler just hit him on the chest, great positional play from the Australian.
Crawley then made their second substitution John Akinde is on for David Hunt. Shortly after Reading made their second substitution, Chris Gunter came on for his great mate Gareth McCleary; McCleary had a very impressive first half but faded in the second. Le Fondre with 5 minutes to go could have had his hat trick, great work down the wing by Robson-Kanu, who then found Le Fondre but Le Fondre couldn`t get the ball out from under his feet.
Full time: Crawley 1 Adams (14) Reading 3 Le Fondre (12,48pen) Hunt (43)
Attendance: 5,880 and 1,955 of those were Reading fans.
Reading weren`t at their best but they didn`t have to be in all honesty. Crawley impressed in the first half but after Hunt made it 2-1 after 43 minutes the stuffing was knocked out of Crawley and the game was played at a canter. Guthrie, McCleary, Le Fondre and Karacan were all very impressive and Adams impressed me for Crawley.
Reading: Federici (7), Cummings (6), Harte (5) Morrison (7), Pearce (8), Karacan (9), Tabb (7), McCleary (8), Robson Kanu (6), Hunt (7) and Le Fondre (8).
Subs: Gunter (5) and Guthrie (9)
Crawley: P.Jones (6), Hunt (5), Sadler (4), Walsh (5), Connolly (6), Adams (7), Simpsons (5), Akpan (6), M.Jones (4), Alexander (6) and Clarke (5).
Subs: Akinde (5) and Elford-Alliyu (5)