Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Royal blues

Newcastle Utd 1 - 2 Reading

The signs were so good: a Reading side without a win away from home all season, the return of Dreamboat to our midfield, and a home debut for our new right-back.

For 45 minutes it was all going so right. A three-man midfield of Sylvain Marveaux, Vurnon Anita and Dreamboat was easily controlling the game and creating plenty of chances for Papiss Cisse, only for our Senagalese striker to come up against a Reading keeper in fine form.

Thankfully, though, class told and when Marveaux was fouled on a charge towards the goal, the scene was set for Dreamboat to bring a little je ne sais quoi to proceedings and curl an exquisite free kick over the wall giving us a thoroughly deserved lead.

At half-time, Brain McDermott clearly had words with his Reading side because they emerged a reinvigorated team and began to force their way back into the match. Quite what the Silver Fox said to his charges in anyone's guess, but it clearly didn't have the desired effect.

With 65 minutes gone the Silver Fox made his first substitution and withdrew Marveaux in place of Perchinho, presumably with a mind on protecting our slender one-goal lead rather than continuing to push for a second.

By contrast, Reading withdrew former Magpie Danny Guthrie and threw on striker Adam le Fondre - a move which paid off instantly as he evaded Mike Williamson and bundled in a cross to draw Reading back on level terms.

With the home side reeling, the Silver Fox was then forced into a second change with Dreamboat perhaps unsurprisingly starting to struggle, and subsequent reports suggesting he may have picked up a slight injury. He removed our midfield maestro and brought on Master T amidst a chorus of boos from a now disgruntled St James' Park unhappy at the combination of two defensive midfielders on for our creative core despite the side steadily being overcome by a now invigorated Reading side.

Sure enough it was Reading, and Le Fondre, who added a second - latching on to a mis-hit shot to fire the second in from a seemingly impossible angle.

At that stage, we threw on Obertan Kenobi, who fired over when well placed and there was still time for Papiss Cisse to miss his fourth golden chance of the afternoon as he blazed over having sprung the offside trap.

We are now the only side in the top flight without an away win this season, and well and truly in the shit. With ten days before we face fellow strugglers Aston Villa, we need to regroup, reinforce and resolve the ongoing questions which exist over Sideshow Bob's future. If we could also get Saylor back to full fitness (on the bench for this game, but apparently not actually fit to play) and also nurse Dreamboat back from whatever knock he collected, the future might look a little brighter.  If we don't, then frankly it could get a whole lot darker before the dawn.

Reading fans' perspectives: Hob Nob Anyone?The Tilehurst End

Other reports: BBC, Guardian

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