Reading (Home)
Premier League

Sunday 1st April 2007

With a 3-1 victory over Spurs, Reading will not fear the match at White Hart Lane this Sunday.  Tottenham are in the better form in league football coming into this meeting, but there is little to separate the two sides in the table, as they both strive to gain the sixth place in the table at the end of the season.

Steve Coppell has motivated his side to perform way above expectations to be nearer the top than the bottom of the league.  His side have a strong spine of Hannemann in goal, Sonko in the middle of the defence, Sidwell in midfield and Doyle and Lita up front.  The keeper is a good shot stopper and comes for crosses, although it may be possible to tempt him into a rush from goal.  Sonko might be missing, so leave room for exploitation by Spurs, although Gunnarsson is a strong central defender who might get the job of man-marking Berbatov.

Steve Sidwell had been looking to leave the Biscuitmen, but the better they are doing, the more likely he could be to stay.  A dynamic midfielder, he can pop up in the box to score from good supply into the area and will have to be tracked back.  Along side him the unctuous Hunt will try to upset as many people as possible and Little or De La Cruz will add some width to attempt to pull the defenders away from the centre to make space for Irishman Kevin Doyle (who has taken the Premiership by storm this season) and Leroy Lita to power through on goal.  Dave Kitson ( a big Spurs fan) will be hoping to play at the Lane, but he may have to settle for a place on the bench, although in a recent reserve game, he played and got "involved" with a few players.

Shorey is supposedly a contender for the left back position in the England side, while Graeme Murty will shore up the other flank at full back with a strong tackling approach to his game.  Seol can play in midfield or up front and his strong running with the ball and his height can produce different problems for opponents.  James Harper is another ex-Arsenal midfielder like Sidwell and although he lacks the box to box energy of his former Gooner team-mate, he passes the ball very well and can break up attacks, while behind him, on loan from Russia, Andre Bikey might feature to add some strength to the back four.

The team are well organised and know their roles, which can make them hard to beat, as a few teams have found this season.  With al the Tottenham players in good scoring form, it might be more of a test for the Hoops than the game earlier this season, so Tottenham need to get the ball down and play to take the game to the visitors and test their resolve.  Spurs have the movement to keep Reading occupied at the back, while they will need to keep their focus to ensure they do not give Reading any chance to get into the game, as there were two cheap goals that let them take a 2-1 lead at the break last time, after being a goal down.

Having played well of late (and hoping that the internationals have not taken a lot out of the players), Spurs should have enough over their Berkshire opposition to take the three points ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur  2    Reading  0

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Anthony Gardner (broken leg); Ledley King (foot); Danny Murphy (Achilles); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee); Dorian Dervite (knee); - (-); - (-); 

READING :  -  Bobby Convey (knee); Ibrahim Sonko (knee); Peter Mate (knee); - (-); 


Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - 22.00 - 22.45 (highlights)
For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152
 (live coverage)
BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne) SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney)  Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Singapore Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa  SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




Tottenham Hotspur   1    Reading   0      (Half-time score : 1-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Sunday 1st April 2007
Kick Off :  4.00 p.m.
Crowd :   36,067
Referee :  Alan Wiley (Burntwood)
Weather :  -  Warm, bright sunshine
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :


Young-Pyo Lee

Malbranque (Huddlestone 80)

Keane (c) (Defoe 75)

Unused subs

Reading :

Hahnemann (Federici 46)


Little (Oster 75)
Sidwell (c)
Hunt (Doyle 65)


Unused subs

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Keane (p) 41



Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Rocha (foul)   





Match Report : -  
Spurs made heavy weather in the sunshine against a well-drilled Reading side, who got numbers back behind the ball as soon as they lost possession, but fell to a single Robbie Keane goal from the penalty spot.

The way the game started, it looked like Reading would be penned back in their own penalty area for the majority of the match.  Within two and a half minutes, Berbatov had laid a header into Lennon's path and he passed through the Reading back line to set up Steed Malbranque.  Homing in on goal, he fired a shot from fifteen yards out against the outside of the post and off.  Steed really should have made Hahnemann work in the opening moments.  Just a minute later, Berba once more was the provider when he chested down Zokora's ball in from the left wing and Robbie Keane found himself in front of goal with only the keeper to beat.  He shot low, but Hahnemann managed to get a foot onto the shot and it squirted wide of the goal.

It was Dimitar's turn next, when Rocha and Malbranque crafted an opening for the striker, but as he got his shot in, Hahnemann was on top of him as he raced out and blocked his shot.

So, having had the chances to open up an early lead, Spurs were almost punished for their profligacy.  Lee allowed Little to cut inside from the right wing and play a ball into the area, which Leroy Lita got to first and Robbo was static as the Reading striker's header thumped against the post and came out.  Spurs were also lucky that it bounced past two incoming red shirted players, who could not get anything on it to divert it back into the net.

The game was so open that it was end-to-end stuff.  Keane tried to chip the Reading goalie, but never got enough height on his effort, while Ricardo Rocha was (perhaps harshly) booked for a clash with Lita as they chased a ball that saw the Reading man fall to the ground.  Rocha had a fine game, winning much in the air and making some timely interceptions.  Tottenham were grateful to the reflexes of Robinson after 21 minutes, when a free-kick caused a melee on the edge of the area, with a clearance clearly being moved forward by the hand of Hunt, before it dropped kindly for Spurs fan Dave Kitson.  He powered his shot at goal from eight yards out, but Paul dived to beat out the fierce effort.  So, some justice was done.

Didier Zokora was another player who had a really good game.  Breaking up attacks and launching some of his own, the only thing he could be faulted for was trying to score, as he appears to be the new Steffen Freund in that respect.  Reaching a good shooting position, he drags his shots wide, but he made a vital intervention when Sidwell lined up a drive on goal, but throwing himself to the ground in front of the midfielder and his foot took the ball wide.

Spurs were looking fluent in their passing and Reading had to chase hard to get men behind the ball, but when a move went through the front three, it was played into Keane's path and he took just a little too long to shoot and had the ball whisked away before he could trouble Hahnemann.  However, his next shot did make it 1-0.  A move down the left, starting with Lee's throw-in saw the ball bounce up as Keane tried to get past Halford, but the ex-Colchester man stopped the ball with his hand and with the referee in close attendance, Robbie's appeal took a while to bring the whistle to his lips, but he pointed to the spot.  After a sea of red shirts surrounded the ref, with the usual gamesmanship from the keeper and Hunt, Keano stepped up to put the ball halfway up to the keeper's right at a height he could not reach to give Tottenham the lead.

The injury time foul on Zokora as he raced through the Reading side and to the edge of the box almost gave Berbatov the opportunity to double the lead, but even though the free-kick cleared the wall, it did not have sufficient power to get past the goalie.

And it was Hahnemann's last involvement in the game, as he was replaced at the break by Frederici.  Tottenham tried to use Lennon more in the second half, as the double marking on him in the first period reduced his effectiveness.  The first chance he ad to run at the Reading defence saw him turn Duberry inside out and without many options open to him, he hit a shot which he dragged across goal and wide.  Berbatov made a chance for Keane, but his hard-hit shot lacked direction and it flew too high.  Even when Spurs did get the ball in the net, it didn't count, as Berba's overhead kick into the centre of the goal found Jermaine Jenas, where he swivelled to shot past Frederici, but was denied a goal by the lineman's offside flag just before the hour.

With Aaron making headway now, as Reading tried to force the pace for an equaliser, he picked out Berbatov in the right hand channel in the area, but the forward hit a good shot, but only found the side-netting.  Zokora hit a 25 yarder that the keeper had to take low down and Berbatov set up Steed, but his shot went over the angle of post and crossbar from just outside the area.  Didier almost got through when he went on a long run that went on and on, until he was inside the area, but he was stopped by Halford's tackle.

Defoe replaced Keane on 75 minutes, with the Irishman passing the armband on, but it didn't reach its destination as Michael Dawson was handed it and put it on his arm, with Paul Robinson beckoning the centre back to hand it to him !!  In Defoe's short appearance he had four shots on goal.  The first brought a low shot that Frederici stopped with his legs; the second saw Defoe prod the ball past the keeper after Jenas had set him up and the flag for offside denied him; the third effort saw him latch onto a Berbatov header and hit the side netting with the Bulgarian wanting the ball back and his last chance came following a mazy run from deep by Young-Pyo Lee, who took on the Reading defence and played a square ball to Defoe, just 12 yards out and with only the keeper to beat.  He so wanted to score that he hit it with all his might and the ball soared over the top.

In between Defoe's shooting practice, Malbranque and Defoe made a chance for Dimitar, but his volley was acrobatically saved by the Reading sub goalie, who held it well and when Huddlestone came on for the tiring Malbranque, he opened up the defence with a 1-2 with Lennon and he changed feet to open up space before putting his shot a yard wide.

However, it was Reading who were threatening towards the end and they were aiming to make the most of their set-plays.  Getting free-kicks, corners and from Halford's long throws, their intent was to load the box with big men, to cause chaos.  Rocha, Dawson and Berbatov did well to win headers and Robinson started to dominate his box.

The one late chance they did get was a Lita header in the 81st minute, from Shorey's cross, which went quickly, but luckily for Spurs just past the outside of the post.  Spurs almost committed Hari-Kiri, when they passed the ball around the back line until Rocha tried to play it forward and managed to kick it against Kitson, leaving Lita with the ball, but it took him a little too wide to do much with.

The chances missed almost cost Tottenham a valuable three points in the chase for a European place.  There were some outstanding performances today.  Jenas ran and ran, Rocha was strong in defence, Zokora ate up the ground going forward and chasing back and Malbranque put in a lot of work, but for me, the player who caused Reading a lot of problems and did well to stop them getting forward was Young-Pyo Lee.  The Korean has been playing really well of late and hopefully, will continue his good form now he has become accustomed to the Premiership.



Reaction : -



What jolly japesters the lads and lasses from Reading are.

Having had what they thought was a contentious penalty given against them for handball, throughout the second half, they shouted "HANDBALL" every time a Spurs player kicked the ball ... even when players took a throw-in.  It must be a bundle of laffs in the Championship mustn't it ??

What they failed to realise is that while they have done well this season and deserve to stay up, their survival will depend upon their ability to take the few chances they created.  It is alright against teams like West Ham, where you can score six goals, but when they are reliant on the gigantic long-throw of Greg Halford for their most potent attacking weapon, you tend to think that perhaps they need a bit more guile.  Hunt lived up to his name, but failed to be devious enough to do anything to hurt the Spurs defence other than kick them.  Lita is a lively striker who you can see scoring goals, but his two chances were headers from low crosses into the box, while the service he needs to thrive on would be balls to run onto.

"So what," you are all saying.  "This is a Spurs website, not a Reading one !"  True, but the same applies to Tottenham in respect of our ambition to be successful.

We are not exempt from the criticism for missing chances.  Spurs made a huge amount more than the Royals, but having failed to take them and having been thwarted by the keepers of the opposition, it left us hanging on at the end, when we should have been out of sight by then.  Nine shots on target and 12 off produced but one goal.  It is good enough on this occasion, but might cost us in other Premier League games or in the UEFA Cup, where goals are priceless.

You could see that Defoe was itching to score when he came on and was trying just a bit too hard when he hit his best chance a bit too hard and too high.  Berbatov didn't have his shooting boots on and Keano missed a couple of sitters, with Steed hitting the post in the opening minutes, when an early goal could have seen us go on to build up a lead.

Reading work hard, know what each player has to do and get men back behind the ball with great speed to protect their goal.  They have earned their right to be where they are in the Premiership, but will they be able to keep it up, as we ask will we be able to keep up our run in to the end of the season and realise the aim of UEFA Cup qualification through our league position ?

Sparky Marky




Other scores this weekend :
Bolton Wanderers 1 Sheffield United 0 Saturday
Charlton Athletic 1 Wigan Athletic 0 Saturday
Fulham 1 Portsmouth 1 Saturday
Liverpool 4 Arsenal 1 Saturday
Manchester United 4 Blackburn Rovers 1 Saturday
Newcastle United 0 Manchester City 2 Saturday
Watford 0 Chelsea 1 Saturday
West Ham United 2 Middlesbrough 0 Saturday
Aston Villa 1 Everton 1 Monday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 31 25 3 3 74 21 78 +53
2 Chelsea 31 22 6 3 55 19 72 +36
3 Liverpool 30 17 6 8 48 21 57 +27
4 Arsenal 28 15 7 6 51 27 52 +24
5 Bolton Wanderers 31 15 5 11 36 38 50 -2
6 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 31 14 6 11 44 44 48 0
7 Everton 31 12 11 8 39 27 47 +12
8 Reading 31 13 5 13 43 39 44 +4
9 Portsmouth 30 11 10 10 37 32 43 +5
10 Blackburn Rovers 31 12 4 15 37 45 40 -8
11 Newcastle United 31 10 7 14 34 40 37 -6
12 Middlesbrough 31 9 9 13 32 38 36 -6
13 Aston Villa 31 7 14 10 30 36 36 -6
14 Manchester City 30 10 6 14 23 34 36 -11
15 Fulham 31 7 14 10 32 45 35 -13
16 Wigan Athletic 31 9 6 16 30 45 33 -15
17 Sheffield United 31 8 7 16 25 45 31 -20
18 Charlton Athletic 31 8 6 17 29 49 30 -20
19 West Ham United 31 7 5 19 25 51 26 -26
20 Watford 31 3 11 17 19 47 20 -28



Back to homepage