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Royals 0 Pompey 2

0 - 2

Mad Stad

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Once again a comedy of defensive errors cost Reading a game they would have been looking to get a least a point out of.

Against a Portsmouth side who are very good away from home, the Reading defence self destructed within the first nine minutes of the game at the Madejski Stadium.

Ibrahima Sonko put the Royals on the back foot after just three minutes, his blatant trip on Benjani gifted Portsmouth a penalty and earned Sonko a red card for his troubles. Incredibly it is the third time in four games that Sonko has given away a spot kick.

Luckily for Reading, Niko Kranjcar's penalty came crashing back off the post, allowing Reading to clear their lines.

It was to be the only luck Reading would have all day, as minutes later hopeless Hahnemann in the Reading goal put it on a plate for Pompey.

A seemingly simple cross was dropped by the American keeper, under no pressure. The ball fell kindly to Sol Campbell, who happily tucked it away from close range.

Portsmouth looked much the better side after that, with ten men Reading struggling to get back into the game.

Reading started to press a bit in the second half without really creating a lot, before John Utaka easily outpaced Nicky Shorey to make it two nil to Portsmouth with twenty-five minutes to play.

Stephen Hunt could have given Reading a life line with a few minutes to go, but with the goal gaping, he somehow failed to hit the ball, let alone the target.

Although Reading made it easy for them, Portsmouth did what they needed to do and deserved their win.

Star Player

No player really shone out for me on either side. Benjani always looked a threat and Utaka took his goal well, but I think Niko Kranjcar just had that added bit of quality.

A Royal Rant

What another ridiculous game. I'm not one to slate Steve Coppell as he has done a fantastic job, but I can't understand the logic of playing the same backline that conceded six goals just three days earlier.

Unfortunately Ibrahima Sonko has become a liability. For the same player to give away 3 penalties in 4 games is absolutely unacceptable.

The Reading defence has been woeful all season and at the heart of that is one Mr Hahnemann. Granted he is usually a reliable shot stopper, but the negatives are starting to outweigh the positives. His error today was an absolute howler. He wasn't being challenged, it wasn't raining, there was no wind, no sun in his eyes, but somehow he managed to drop a very easy catch, and at a time where Reading desperately needed to absorb some pressure after getting a man sent off early on.

When strikers are not scoring goals, they get dropped, yet when defenders and goalkeepers are leaking a lot of goals, managers seem to be more reluctant to replace them.

Steve Coppell's policy is to keep faith with the team that got Reading promoted, but with the loss of key players Steve Sidwell and Glen Little, the team is considerably weaker than the team that won the championship. Cracks are starting to show, especially in defence and with certain players getting older and others lacking the quality to play in the Premier League, now has to be the time to bring in some fresh blood so that the club can go forwards.

Rant over.

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Writer:Chris Kitley
Date:Tuesday January 1 2008
Time: 7:28PM

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The sending off, though not in dispute, meant you were always chasing the game after our first goal. I thought Distin was our man of the match.
01/01/2008 19:53:00
Very honest account of the game and of you team. Good luck now for the rest of the season.
01/01/2008 21:28:00
To be fair sonko never gave us a chance. He's been a liability since he came back from injury, u boys deserved the win with a professional performance. Once you scored we never looked like scoring, oh apart from Hunty kicking air...
01/01/2008 23:35:00
a really honest report, nice work mate. so much for 'sonko is superman', although last season at fratton if it wasnt for him we wud have scored a lot more. kitson is quality, he had loads of nice touches, just a shame that the rest of the reading team werent up to his standards. well, it was a shame for u
02/01/2008 13:54:00
You'll survive & enjoy another season in the Prem. We certainly hope so as it gives us a good chance of taking more points off you next season.
05/01/2008 09:12:00
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