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Reading 0 - Pompey 2

Madejski

Tues 01-01-08, 3pm

Attendance: 24084

Reading 0-2 Pompey

It was a 'stuttering' end to 2007 to say the least; we were looking to start 2008 with a bang as we travelled - hangovers and all for many - to Reading hoping to kick off the New Year in style, and we did with a 2-0 win.

The only changes from the last game saw Glen Johnson return from injury in place of Lauren - who dropped to the bench - and Sulley Muntari come in for Kanu, who also dropped to the bench. There was no start for Dave Nugent though as had been hoped for, if not expected...

An early penalty miss from Niko Kranjcar did not prove costly, as Sol Campbell soon made up for this. Chances were missed against the 10 men of Reading but John Utaka wrapped up the win in the 2nd half.

The Match
Preceding the game there was a minutes applause for Phil O'Donnell who tragically died last weekend playing for Motherwell, this was impeccably carried out.

3 minutes on the clock and with Benjani clean through he was brought down by Ibrahima Sonko - there was no option but to not only give a penalty but give Sonko a red card. Niko Kranjcar stepped up, he tried a John Aldridge shuffle but this did not work at all as he hit the post and Papa Bouba Diop could not follow up.

Immediately after this Reading broke away and Bobby Convey then missed a glorious chance to put the 10 men ahead, as he put the ball wide - he was then sacrificed as a change was made.

Despite the missed penalty we did take the lead after just 8 minutes. Marcus Hahnemann dropped the ball and Sol Campbell tucked home from close range.

They might have only had 10 men, but Reading to their credit were still playing there normal game and this was giving us more chances, which but for a better final ball, or players arriving we could have had more in the opening 20 minutes or so.

It was a good open and even game, but Pompey were looking much more like scoring again and a switch of flanks between John Utaka and Kranjcar was a good idea as Graeme Murty is lacking in pace and Utaka was able to expose this.

Shortly after the referee possibly bottled sending off Murty when he could have got a second booking Reading almost forced a leveller but David James saved Dave Kitson's effort - then Sulley Muntari forced Hahnemann into a safe, albeit a comfortable one.

Our delivery has let us down recently, but this on the whole was much better today and this was causing problems to the Reading defence, particularly the keeper as he was looking susceptible so we had to put pressure on him.

In his almost traditional way Bouba Diop missed another virtual 6 yard sitter... this was almost made a worse miss when Kevin Doyle got in beyond the defence but James denied him.

Just before the break a patient well-worked move saw us almost double our lead. Great play from Glen Johnson saw him deliver to the far post but Benjani's header came back off the bar, this was then followed up by Hermann Hreidarsson but his header was saved by Hahnemann.

We stared the 2nd half in patient fashion, keeping possession well making Reading work hard, making them use up extra energy - but they did start well and created a few half chances, more than enough to worry me.

On 63 minutes Harry Redknapp made his first change of the day, Kanu coming on for Benjani - I was not amused...

The much-needed 2nd goal came on 66 minutes, as Utaka's pace was utilised. He skinned Nicky Shorey running from the halfway line when put through by Muntari before rounding the keeper and scoring.

The impressive Johnson tried to force a third, but his effort was brilliantly turned away by Hahnemann for a Pompey corner.

Reading still proved late on that they were still a slight danger as Doyle beat Campbell to cross to Stephen Hunt but a complete miss kick saw another great chance missed.

A worrying sight, with the African nations coming up saw Richard Hughes come off, looking like he was carrying an injury. He was replaced by Lauren, soon after this a decent strike from Muntari went close.

In the dying moments the final change was made as Matty Taylor came on for Kranjcar. Soon after this mistakes at the back almost cost us a goal but we escaped and saw the clock out to start the year with a win, and another clean sheet.

Match Summary
A fantastic way to start the New Year, hopefully a way that we can move on from? We played well today, not at our best but we did what was needed. Some missed chances were a little worrying but 3 points was the most important thing today.

I was disappointed not to have seen Dave Nugent play a part in this game at all, even more so when Kanu got on ahead of him - but Harry Redknapp is the boss, so he selects the side not me or anyone else... hopefully this does not mean that he will be leaving though?

Next up is the FA Cup, again on the road. It will not be easy but we should be looking to get into round 4.

PLAY UP POMPEY!

Goals
Reading 0
Pompey 2 - Sol Campbell 8, John Utaka 66

David James
Glen Johnson
Sol Campbell
Sylvain Distin
Hermann Hreidarsson
John Utaka
Papa Bouba Diop
Richard Hughes (Lauren 82)
Sulley Muntari
Niko Kranjcar (Matty Taylor 88)
Benjani (Kanu 63)


Substitutes Not Used
Asmir Begovic
Dave Nugent


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The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday January 1 2008

Time: 5:10PM

Your Comments

Just finding a bit of form will do for me
paultsmouth
How many away games is that we now ... Great result Pompey and another three points in the bag.. I just wish Pompey Jekyall could have a word with Pompey Hyde .. then we would be absolutely brilliant
Chix
Imagine last seaons home form with this years away, it would be top four stuff
paultsmouth
yes pompey! get in! benji was fantastic first half, utaka back to his best - motm, and an amazing standiong ovation for o'donnell at the start, well done lads
jbaker
A great way to start the year, well done boys.
storagematt
We did enough against a team on the back foot after just 3 mins. The missed penalty and the panicky last 5 mins ( we should know that Reading never give up) would have cost us against other teams. All in all, though, a nice way to start 2008
UKTony
in truth, i am gutted, the first half, we did enough to lay them to waste, yet we only managed 1 goal. the penalty should have been scorred, and a convincing victory would have set us up much better for the rest of 2008. that said, its good to get our problems over with, i just hope we stay performing well!
pompeycarpet
I'm glad we're back to winning ways. It could have been so much better but it's 3pts all the same. It looks as though we're still very venerable with Hreidarsson at left-back and we still need a top class striker to kill of teams. If we didn't win today we would have been in danger of falling away from the chasing pack.
stillthewhizz
forget "danger of", we WOULD have been falling away from the chasing pack! a win was a must - as it is for our next few games!!!
pompeycarpet
a win we got, away form is something else this season, now if we can just score at home.........
paultsmouth
More concern now about Cup game at Portman Road. What team will HR send out? This is a competition we can go all the way in so we MUST treat it seriously.
eastneydave
the interesting stat from the game was Pass completion at 89% which is exceptional. Mind you when they have a man missing the entire game that does make it easier.
eastneydave
Be interesting to see if Matty makes the squad for the cup game, if not, it would appear that HR doesnt want him cup tied, sell on value etc.
pompey4me
yep agree those that 'could be sold' that are still here come the weekend that dont make the squad, maybe even the starting 11 i think shows they are not wanted...
pompeyrug
maximum points from the next two games will see us rise in to europe again I hope. 8th is very likely though now. thats interto?
PompeyGleamer
utaka likes to round keepers and he is pretty good at doing this. he has done that couple of times this season and i hope he gets to play upfront sometimes because i think he can do better for you lots in somewhere else besides playing as a winger.
kaybee
Utaka absolutely killed shorey for pace for your 2nd. You deserved the win, gutted that our abysmal back line has cost us again tho. Hopefully coppell will be bringing in a quality proven centre back. Fancy lending us sol campbell?...
uroyals
utaka was good today, as a winger or striker when he fully adapts to the premier league - which as ive said before might not be until next season - he is going to be some player... good luck for the rest of the season uroyals, hopefully you find that defender you wants - but sadly we cant help.
pompeyrug
Glen Johnson makes such a difference to the team, with him at right back everyone looks a bit more confident. I dont think Shorey was well at all and helped make Utaka looked quicker and better than he is.
Owenspompey
superb play by glen johnson - possibly the only player in our team who can cross the ball? Yet again, i didnt see many (if any) decent set plays, which will be very useful come the time that we play spurs - campbells goal was pure luck - but at least we had 2 players there too finish it off
pompeycarpet
about the pass completion being at 89%, we just passed the ball around the defence and midfield instead of attacking, which just led to us cheering every pass, but we didnt do anything with the ball!
jbaker
...michael balack, man of the match for chelski had pass completion of 60%...where ever you are on the pitch, to have your whole team managing t get 89% is very impressive!!!
pompeycarpet
We were passing them to death, it was just like watching the Arsenal, only not as good!
Owenspompey
 

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