Reading (Away)
Premier League

Saturday 3rd May 2008


With a string of 1-1 draws behind Spurs, there can be no other result at the end of this game, even though there were ten goals in the first league meeting this season at White Hart Lane.

Spurs are seeing out the fag end of the season and Reading are fighting for Premiership survival, so there is one team more hungry for a result, but having gone seven hours without a goal, will they be up for the battle ?  With internal strife, the signs don't look good for the Royals, who could find themselves out of the top flight on their arses.

Marcus Hahnemann is a solid enough keeper, but the men in front of him have provided little protection.  He does lack good judgement on occasions and he can be out of position, but he has good reflexes and might need them if Tottenham create as many chances as they have done recently.

In the back four, club captain Graeme Murty did feature against our reserves and will be in place once more.  A pacy winger like Aaron Lennon might give him a tough time, as Walcott did.  In the middle of the back four, Ivar Ingimarsson will line up with Michael Duberry making it a little on the slow side there too.  On the other flank, the much sought after Nicky Shorey will play in that full back slot.  With the exception of Shorey, the others may allow Tottenham's forwards to get at them and get through on goal, so it will all depend on the finishing skills of the Tottenham players on the outcome.  Liam Rosenior will be available to feature on the bench and his move from Fulham hasn't quite panned out as he wanted.

Hard-working midfielder James Harper will provide plenty of graft, while Stephen Hunt will give someone an annoying afternoon, as he hassles and plays along the line, that borders going against the laws of the game.  Kalifa Cisse works well between the boxes and can finish as well as create, while winger Bobby Convey has pace and the ability to produce good crosses for the forwards to feed off.  Another winger John Oster might be in contention after playing and scoring against our reserves, but resident in midfield has been Andre Bikey, who has also managed to get on the score-sheet too.  Mercurial talent Marek Matejovsky has been out of favour after slagging off the manager, but he has been playing as a sub lately and has shown he can be effective with his passing his best asset.

Returning from a loan spell at Charlton, Leroy Lita might be out to show what he can do to earn a new deal at the MadStad.  Short, but powerful, he will need to be watched closely, as will the taller and more natural finisher Dave Kitson, who stands out with his mop of red hair.  He scores a fair amount of goals and is a handful for defenders, but as a Spurs fan, we hope he will have left his shooting boots at home.  Shane Long is more likely to be used as a substitute, but is similar in look and style to Kevin Doyle, who has had a family tragedy recently and may have his mind elsewhere.  Doyle had a great season last time out, but this term has been less effective, but he takes his shots early and can catch keepers out with his accurate, if not necessarily powerful, shooting.

Midfield and defence will be lighter for the suspension of Ibrahim Sonko and Emerse Fae, who refused to play against our reserves, so they won't be playing against our first team ... nor in Reading's last game.  While the right disciplinary action to take, it is a brave step when the team could drop into the bottom three.

I reckon that our recent inability to finish things, will mean that Reading's fight to stay up will go on to the last game of the season ...

PREDICTION : -  Reading  1   Tottenham Hotspur   1

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


READING :  - Ibrahim Sonko (club suspension); Emerse Fae (club suspension); Bryanjar Gunnarsson (groin)

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Ledley King (knee); Gareth Bale (foot); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee)


Sky Sports 1 -  Football First  -  Saturday 20.25
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30 - 23.50 (highlights)
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.35 - 23.35 (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.




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

Premier League
Venue : -  Madjeski Stadium
Saturday 3rd May 2008
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   24,125
Referee :  Howard Webb (Yorkshire)
Weather :  -  Dry, but cloudy
Teams : - 
Reading :


Rosenior (Oster 88)

Doyle (Long 80)
Bikey (Matejovsky 65)
Hunt (c)


Unused subs: 


Tottenham Hotspur :



  Huddlestone (O'Hara 61)

  Keane (c)  (Boateng 77)

Unused subs: 

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  


Tottenham Hotspur

Keane 16

Cards : -  

Harper (foul) 89   


Tottenham Hotspur 



Match Report : -  
A break in the run of 1-1 draws was a welcome relief and an away win all the better, but Reading should have been put away much earlier than when Spurs had to withstand a brief rally at the end to preserve their 1-0 win until the final whistle.

Without the injured Lennon and Berbatov, Huddlestone came into midfield, with Darren Bent getting a rare start up front.  This allowed Spurs to play a more traditional front two, with Keane feeding off the more obvious target man.  Spurs had early defending to do as Reading tried to grab the initiative and Radek Cerny was alert to Nicky Shorey's cross and dived to take it.  However, it was at the other end that the first real effort on goal arrived, when Bent did well to get his head to Steed Malbranque's cross, coming over the top of a defender, but could only direct it wide of the goal.

Perhaps it might have suited Spurs more to be awarded a free-kick just outside the Reading penalty area in the seventh minute, although we rarely score from them.  As it was Howard Webb waved play on and Steed took possession and hit a curler wide of the goal.  It was a hint of what was to come.  Bent was always looking to make an angle for a pass and when he got on the end of Malbranque's inside the full-back, he hit a low shot that Hahnemann did well to stop with an outstretched leg.

It was all Tottenham at this stage, with Reading players losing their positions and Spurs players finding room to run to drag them even further out of shape.  Bent was proving too much of a handful for the home defence and his out-muscling of Hunt took him clear and he fed Keane, who played it on to Huddlestone.  Tommy's pull back was intended for Steed Malbranque, but with his back to goal, he tried a back-heel, but it was blocked.

With the clock approaching sixteen minutes played, Jermaine Jenas, who was causing problems with his runs on and off the ball, found Keane 20 yards outside the area.  As Robbie turned, he was fouled, but when the ball ran straight to Bent, the ref waved play on and Keane had got up to take the ball back from his fellow striker and he moved into the area.  The skipper dropped a shoulder as if to shoot and sent Shorey and Rosenior sliding the wrong way, as he struck the ball past the keeper with the outside of his foot and into the net to give Tottenham a 1-0 lead.

It was all Spurs deserved for their enterprising start and there was more to come, as only a dodgy offside decision denied Steed a second, when he lifted Keane's pass over Hahnemann only to find the linesman had wrongly adjudged him to have been half a yard in front of the last defender instead of half a yard behind him.  That came just after Keane had curled a free-kick around the wall, but not the keeper, who pushed his shot aside.

Lita blazed wide when well placed on the left of the Tottenham goal, with Reading's only real chance in the first 30 minutes, while Spurs were opening the Royals' defence up at every occasion.  Bent raced through with options to his left, but waited too long to try and put Steed in, finding a defender in his path.

Hunt too a pot shot from a cleared ball, but most of the pace was taken of fit by the turf, which he kicked the ball into, while Cerny took a deflected cross ball from Shorey.  Tottenham's next attack saw Keane and Malbranque exchange passes twice before Rosenior managed to get in front of Robbie to block as he prepared to get his shot away, then Reading tried to get something before half-time, but there was little opportunity other than Shorey's cross which flew across goal, missing out all the hooped shirts on the way.

The half-time break brought worries of our recent matches, when Tottenham have been unable to hang onto a lead.  Reading had been poor, but surely their second half performance must be better than the first.

Two minutes in and it should have been two, as the worries resurfaced and another chance was missed.  Hutton dinked a ball into space in front of Keane on the right of the area and with the Reading defence all huddled together for safety in the middle, he drilled a shot across the face of the six yard box, missing out everyone in the centre of the penalty area, but Steed Malbranque came in at the far post like he did last week.  Unfortunately, on this occasion, he could only slide a left foot out at the ball and hit the side netting on the outside, rather than the inside and the chance went begging.

While Reading were fairly ineffectual in attack, Dawson and Woodgate were immense in the middle of our back four and dealt with everything that came their way.  The midfield enjoyed acres of space, while Hutton was employed mainly as an auxiliary attacker.  A flowing move involving Keane making a short pass to Malbranque, who lifted the ball over four Reading players in front of him to put Keane in, but he fell and knocked the ball to Jenas on the right.  It looked as though the players were trying to set up Darren bent, as JJ tried to knock a square ball to him in front of goal, but it was blocked, just as he was about to shoot.

O'Hara came on for Huddlestone and later Boateng replaced Keane, as younger legs were given a chance to be stretched.  Reading gave a bit more in the second half and caused a few problems, but none of great moment.  Kitson failed to control his shot that flew wide and Lita also hit one at goal and at least made Cerny pat it down before taking it at the second attempt.  Zokora did well to get something on Bikey's shot from the D, after being set up by Lita, then Matejovsky should have made Cerny work with a shot from 25 yards, but he put it wide of the mark.

From a cleared Reading attack, Cerny threw out to O'Hara and he ran through the middle of the pitch to release Bent on the left side of the area and as he headed for goal unleashed a low shot that beat Hahnemann, but not the goalpost, which took the ball across the face of the goal and out for a goal-kick.  That came with fifteen minutes left and while Ingimarsson struck a fierce drive straight at Cerny, which again took two goes to claim and then the home crowd roared for a penalty when the ball popped up against O'Hara, but it struck his chest rather than his arm, so referee Webb waved the appeals away.

It was with five minutes to go that Reading had their best spell.  Lita headed on to Kitson, who came in at the left side of the area and from ten yards out drove a shot in at the near post, but Cerny was there to beat it away and then a minute later, the ball dropped nicely for Rosenior to dig out a shot that looked like it might sneak inside the post halfway up, but Cerny used his feet well to get across and throw a hand up to palm it around for a corner.  It was a very good save.

With time running out, the ball was being kept in midfield by Spurs, when Harper lost all rational thought and clattered through the back of Boateng, conceding a free-kick and also gaining a yellow card.  More than anything, it gave Spurs the opportunity to kill some time and to move the ball down to the Reading end.  Twice Jenas broke through, still full of running, with one ending in a shot that flew a couple of yards wide, with the other trying to set up Bent again, but once more the ball did not reach it's intended target.

With the final whistle sounding, it signalled an end to the league season at the Madjeski Stadium.  Might it have also signalled the end of Premiership football there ??





Reaction : -



Go to the Times' Fanzine Fanzone where Wyart Lane's report on the match at Reading  can be read by clicking here.


Other scores this weekend :
Aston Villa 0 Wigan Athletic 2 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 3 Derby County 1 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 2 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Fulham 2 Birmingham City 0 Saturday
Middlesbrough 2 Portsmouth 0 Saturday
Manchester United 4 West Ham United 1 Saturday
Arsenal 1 Everton 0 Sunday
Liverpool 1 Manchester City 0 Sunday
Newcastle United 0 Chelsea 2 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 37 26 6 5 78 22 84 +56
2 Chelsea 37 25 9 3 64 25 84 +39
3 Arsenal 37 23 11 3 73 31 80 +42
4 Liverpool 37 20 13 4 65 28 73 +37
5 Everton 37 18 8 11 52 32 62 +20
6 Aston Villa 37 16 11 10 69 49 59 +20
7 Blackburn Rovers 37 15 13 9 49 44 58 +5
8 Portsmouth 37 16 9 12 48 39 57 +9
9 Manchester City 37 15 10 12 44 45 55 -1
10 West Ham United 37 14 9 15 40 48 48 -8
11 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 37 11 13 13 66 59 46 +7
12 Newcastle United 37 11 10 16 44 62 43 -18
13 Wigan Athletic 37 10 10 17 33 47 40 -14
14 Middlesbrough 37 9 12 16 35 52 39 -17
15 Sunderland 37 11 6 20 36 58 39 -22
16 Bolton Wanderers 37 9 9 19 35 53 36 -18
17 Fulham 37 7 12 18 37 60 33 -23
18 Reading 36 9 6 22 37 66 33 -29
19 Birmingham City 37 7 11 19 42 61 32 -19
20 Derby County 37 1 8 28 20 85 11 -65


Back to homepage