A right Royal result..

Brecks within a foot of Doyle, who was presumable about to collapse into a heap on the floor.  Diving git.

Brecks within a foot of Doyle, who was presumably about to collapse into a heap on the floor. Diving git.

Reading – 0
Nottingham Forest – 1

The happy sight of Guy Moussi vigourously joining in the pre-match warm up session was counterbalanced before the match by the sight of Joel Lynch also returning to the starting line up.  Forest started with Smith in goal, Lynch, Wilson, Morgan and Chambers in defence, Moussi, Cohen and McGugan in midfield with Anderson and Tyson out wide, and Earnie up front on his own (at least, this is what they appeared to do most of the time).  Optimism wasn’t exactly high amongst the fans, but spirits were quite good regardless.

First half started as many of us feared – Doyle did well to get the ball to Kebe after just two minutes, who somehow conspired – with all the time in the world – to drag his shot horribly wide.  Shortly after former Forest player Gunnarsson headed over after a good run into the box from a mere six yards.  It was looking alarmingly like a case of when Reading were going to score rather than if.  Although Forest had a few chances too, Earnie flicked a throw-in to Anderson whose shot was on target if not particularly challenging for the Reading ‘keeper.

Smith had a couple of saves to make from Rosenior and Matejovsky, with Morgan on hand to scramble away following the save.  Tyson had been down injured a few times and finally was withdrawn having tried to play on after half an hour with Garath McCleary replacing him – and (unrelated, I might add) – this heralded Forest starting to get more into the game.  McCleary worked himself into a decent position but could only shoot over.  Cohen was a little late in releasing Earnie who was forced wide by Pearce before blasting over.

So half time, 0-0.  A shade on the fortunate side, but we’d offered decent opponents – and it was great to see the Moose back on the pitch giving our midfield some much needed muscle.  Cautious pessimism was very much the order of the day, particularly for those in the away end able to see the half time scores coming in – because results elsewhere weren’t, and indeed didn’t, really do us many favours today.  So whilst before the game I would’ve taken a draw gratefully, it was looking increasingly like that wouldn’t really do considering results elsewhere.

The second half started very much brightly from a Forest perspective – probably the best move of the game so far saw Moussi find McGugan, who in turn found Anderson whose pass to Cohen gave him an opening on the edge of the area.  He opted for a curler rather than a blast – it was headed for the top corner and brought a great save from Federici at the expense of a corner for the Reds.  Which predictably didn’t really come to much, however, there wasn’t long to wait for the breakthrough we – whilst weren’t expecting – were secretly hoping for.

Lewis had the ball at his feet on the right hand side, cutting inside a defender before calmly finding the bottom corner of the net with his left foot past the despairing dive of Federici.  The goal clearly filled Lewis with confidence, as he became much more involved in the game and caused Reading a fair few problems – which is why it was surprising when he was replaced by Matt Thornhill.  I’ve since learned he was apparently suffering a slight injury, then that makes it fair enough!

Forest started to characteristically defend deeper and deeper and deeper as the half wore on – although there were some interludes of lovely midfield passing we’ve so missed recently – and it was nerve wracking.  Reading fans were oddly tetchy over perfectly normal amounts of time being taken over throw-ins (indeed, they neatly overlooked the blatant abuse of their multi-ball system that was occurring before they were losing), and somehow the referee found five minutes of added time.  Breckin came on for Earnie whilst we were preparing to defend a corner.

After what seemed like an eternity, the referee blew the whistle and the celebrations started properly – it was a good feeling, the players and management team joined us and frankly, it’s moments like that that make all the travelling, expense and hassle worthwhile.  A cracking performance by the lads – if I were to pick a man of the match it would be between Moussi and Wilson (who I’m normally quick to criticise), both stood out today, I think the Moose edged it.  Although nobody had a bad game – including the oft maligned Joel Lynch, who I thought performed very well.