Long goal enough to beat Barnsley
30th January 2010
Shane Long scored the only goal in a drab game at the Madejski Stadium but the Royals fans won`t be complaining as Brian McDermott masterminded his first league win in charge.
In his first full game in charge, McDermott opted to drop Kalifa Cisse and bring in Brynjar Gunnarsson, and there was a change upfront as Simon Church returned in place of Gunnar Thorvaldsson. There was also a place on the bench for Nicholas Bignall alongside a number of other attacking players.
As we have come to expect, the Royals dominated the opening half but those who travelled to Sheffield on Tuesday night might have been thinking that we would suffer the same fate after missing a host of chances in the opening half hour. Ivar Ingimarsson hooked over early on, and the returning Church also failed to get his shot on target after good work from Gylfi Sigurdsson. Shane Long forced Barnsley keeper Luke Steele into a save with our first shot on target whilst at the other end the Tykes Adam Hammill saw his effort cleared off the line by Ryan Bertrand.
On the half hour the opening goal did arrive and it was to be Long`s first league goal of the season. No one will forget his winner at Anfield but this goal may well be far more important come the end of the season. The impressive Bertrand put the ball back into the area from a deep right wing cross and our Irish number 9 was on hand to lash into the net.
Jem Karacan had a chance before the break after good work from Church and McAnuff but he could only fire wide. After the interval the game continued in much the same fashion with the Royals having the better of the play, although sub Daniel Bogdanovic did fire one effort goal wards soon after his half time entrance.
Long was buzzing from his earlier goal and his confidence looked sky high when he tested Steele from long range after a neat turn. McAnuff went closest to adding a second goal after he smashed Bertrand`s low cross against the inside of the post.
The final stages became scrappy, despite Bignall`s introduction, but we managed to hold out for a long overdue three points. It was very pleasing to keep a clean sheet and McDermott got his full time reign as manager off to a great start - let`s hope there is more to come!
Shane Long and Brynjar Gunnarsson were also excellent.