Writer: Steve Guscott
Date:Saturday April 17 2010
17th April 2010
The Royals smashed six goals past Peterborough to equal our biggest wins at the Madejski Stadium, and it could easily have been so many more. Alex Pearce headed in a corner in the first couple of minutes and we didn`t look back!
Brian McDermott was boosted by the return to fitness of both Zurab Kizhanishvili and Brynjar Gunnarsson, but left the Icelander on the bench with the on loan Georgian partnering Alex Pearce at the back, who kept his place despite a poor performance against Newcastle in midweek.
We started the game well, as we always seem to do these days, and Peterborough had barely crossed the half way line before we were ahead. There old fashioned 5-3-2 formation was undone with ease and we won an early corner, which Brian Howard took and Pearce headed home for his third goal of the season. A perfect way to answer his critics, me being one of them!
An early goal normally means there will be some more and by the 20th minute the visitors had already made a change and switched their formation, but it didn`t stop the wave after wave of Royals attacks. We should have had a penalty when Gylfi Sigurdsson was clearly fouled but he was booked for diving, an awful decision, but it only took a few more minutes for a spot kick to be awarded. Ryan Bertrand was fouled on the right side of the area and Sigurdsson converted his 17th goal of the season from 12 yards.
The goals kept on coming and there could not have been a more popular scorer of the third goal, but it was made by the impressive Sigurdsson. His wonderful through ball set Jobi McAnuff away and he beat his man before firing into the back of the net. The winger has been excellent for the Royals this season, but had only scored once before today and never at the Madejski Stadium. Fans and players were delighted for the former Watford man, who will no doubt be looking forward to the return to Vicarage Road next weekend.
Before the interval, and after another Peterborough substitution, we scored a 4th and it was made by the pace of Jimmy Kebe. He raced past the left back as if he wasn`t there and smashed the ball home with ease.
Joe Lewis was the busiest man on the pitch and his would have been wishing he could have stayed in the dressing room at half time because he was called upon again to deny Shane Long and then McAnuff. The highly rated keeper kept the score down otherwise it could easily have been double figures and that is no joke!
Long did eventually find the net, his first since 10th March, when he raced clear and stabbed home left footed. With the game well and truly wrapped up, McDermott brought off McAnuff for a deserved rest and James Henry got an extended run out on the right hand side. Jay Tabb also came off for Jem Karacan but the changes didn`t affect our performance as we continued to hammer the Posh goal. Kebe shot wide but it wasn`t long before we had a sixth.
Griffin got forward well from right back and set up Long who should have scored but amazingly hit the bar only for Sigurdsson to retrieve possession and score his second of the afternoon.
Adam Federici had nothing to do all afternoon but got carried away and raced out to a long ball forward but luckily, Royals target, Craig Mackail Smith hooked his shot wide. The ball was quickly back up the other end though, Kebe almost scored from Henry`s cross and then man of the match Lewis somehow cleared a Sigurdsson shot off the line.
We had two goals ruled out for offside in the dying seconds, Sigurdsson and Kebe were left to count the cost of edging slightly ahead of the last defender but it did nothing to stop the Royals enjoying the fantastic afternoon of football. We played some scintillating stuff all game and if only the season was a few weeks longer because we would be certainties to gatecrash the play offs.
For now we can enjoy the final three games, all very winnable, and look ahead to next season when we will be one of the promotion favourites is we can keep this squad together with a few additions.
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Date:Saturday April 17 2010
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