Royals knock lacklustre Clarets out of FA Cup
Saturday 23rd January 2010 @12:45pm Kick-Off
A makeshift team of Clarets put in a woeful performance at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday giving Reading a thoroughly deserved 1-0 victory and a place in the FA Cup 5th Round. It had looked like a pretty dismal and scrappy game, especially in the first half was heading for a replay at Turf Moor before Glyfi Sigurdsson popped up to score in the 87th minute.
The defeat leaves new manager Brian Laws still looking for his first win after only his second game in charge and he will need to ensure they put in a much better performance on Tuesday night if we are to stand any chance of beating our new arch-rivals, Owen Coyle`s Bolton at the Reebok.
Too many of our players just did not seem up for this game and in stark contrast to our excellent performance at Old Trafford not only did we not take our chances but we hardly main any either. We just could not control the ball for toffee and lost possession time and time again. Reading looked a poor side in all honesty and you could see why they are third from bottom in the Championship but we made them look good. There was no doubt too that they had more hunger to win this game and claim another Premier League scalp after sensationally knocking out Liverpool in the third round replay at Anfield.
Oh well at least the Clarets can now focus on their main priority, to survive in the top flight and they won`t now be distracted by any Wembley dreams.
The Clarets Team Sheet
The biggest problem for Laws turned out to be the left back position. Jordan pulled up with a hamstring injury in training on Friday and was out of contention. Kalvenes would have been the obvious player to replace him but he was on paternity leave with his wife expecting a baby anytime soon. It is understood Easton is currently being developed into a left sided midfielder and it was thought he would lack pace and experience at left back so Laws made a surprise choice with Chris McCann taking on the role. This was the first game in the first team for McCann since damaging both his cruciate and medial ligaments in the home game against Sunderland back in September last year.
Captain, Steven Caldwell is still struggling with a persistent groin strain so once more was sidelined for this game.
Clarke Carlisle though was deemed fit to play after his side injury but he had to be content with a place on the bench with Laws keeping faith with both Duff and Edgar in the centre of defence after their good performance against Manchester United at Old Trafford last week.
Laws also decided to take no risks with striker, Steven Fletcher who hobbled off with an ankle injury at Old Trafford in the first half last week. Although the injury was not serious, it was decided to rest him ready for the crucial clash against Bolton at the Reebok on Tuesday night. Portsmouth have so far refused to give permission for loan striker, David Nugent to play in the FA Cup for the Clarets so he too missed out and unless a loan extension can be sorted out by the 26th January he will have played his last game for the Clarets and will return to Fratton Park.
Both strikers, Martin Paterson (torn cartilage) and Jay Rodriguez (broken ankle) have now recovered from their long-term injuries and along with McCann played their first competitive game since September in midweek for the Reserves away to Hull Reserves. Laws though decided not to adopt a 4-4-2 formation and played Thompson alone up front but both returning strikers were rewarded with a place on the bench.
The Clarets therefore played a five men midfield and there was a first start for Gudjonsson since the game away to Spurs in September. The team line-up was therefore as follows:
Jensen, Mears, Duff, Edgar, McCann, Alexander, Eagles, Gudjonsson, McDonald, Elliott, Thompson
Subs: Penny, Carlisle, Easton, Guerrero, Blake, Paterson, Rodriguez
the Full Match Report
The lack of atmosphere at the Madejski Stadium for this game was in stark contrast to the Play-Offs Semi final second leg we played here last season. Reading have fallen on hard times since then. Their home form has been particularly worrying with just two league wins in 12 months; form which this season has seen them slide into the Championship relegation zone. Our win in the play-offs saw the demise of their manager at the time, Steve Coppell and his replacement, Brendan Rogers has also since faced the axe leaving by mutual consent only last month. Reading`s performance and progress in the FA Cup could be enough for the Reading board to give caretaker manager, Brian McDermott the job permanently but they will also probably have to see some improvement in the Royals league form and position before making a decision.
The Reading team line-up contained just two names from the side we beat 2-0 in last season`s play-offs victory with only Church and Gunnarsson surviving the upheaval at the club.
Essex referee, Andy D`Urso was the referee in charge for this game although this looks to have been a last minute change with Chester referee Mike Jones originally scheduled to referee the match.
Burnley lined up in their Claret & Blue home strip facing Reading in their blue and white hoops.
It has to be said this is probably going to be the shortest first-half report I have ever written because to be honest the first 45 minutes was a shocker with little action. A few half-chances went begging with Jensen marginally more active than his counterpart Federici but this was a scrappy affair. Thompson never got any service and was totally ineffective and I don`t think he even had a shot on target or even off-target, only Eagles for the Clarets seemed to be showing some desire.
Chris McCann also looked out of his depth at left back and it was not a good return for him after such a long layoff. Looking uncomfortable it was no surprise when he eventually picked up a yellow card for a poor challenge.
Reading had more possession in the first half but couldn`t make it count with Rasiak and Sigurdsson looking the most dangerous although to be honest all their attempts were either off target or easily stopped by Jensen.
It was a relief for both sets of fans when the referee brought this first dire 45 minutes to a close.
Brian Laws made one change for the start of the second half, something which Coyle hardly ever seemed to do, no matter how badly we played. Thompson was replaced by Paterson and for a time the second half suddenly burst into action with the Clarets having their best spell and at long last stepping up a gear and looking like a Premier League outfit. Reading also responded and the game suddenly became free-flowing and end-to-end although sadly this was not going to last for long.
It was the Royals who got the first real chance to break the deadlock. Rasiak deftly flicked the ball to Church who let rip with a shot. Jensen had to jump high and dive to his right to save.
Alexander had an attempt on goal after being set-up to shoot by Elliott but the ball skidded wide of target. Laws had decided to switch Eagles and Elliott over on the wings probably more to protect Eagles who had already been yellow carded and was having a tetchy day with Andy Griffin upsetting him on a number of occasions.
Our best chance to take the lead though came on 58 minutes after some nice approach work between Mears and Eagles on the right. Gudjonsson got a flick on the ball from Eagles cross to the near post only to see the alert Reading keeper save well.
The Icelandic international though was lucky not to then give away a penalty at the other end after a challenge on McAnuff. Some referees would have had no hesitation awarding a spot kick for that but thankfully for the Clarets Andy D'Urso was not one of them!
A cross from Bertrand a few seconds later found Sigurdsson who was right in front of goal but Clarets fans could breathe a sigh of relief as somehow he put his header wide.
Federici on 75 minutes came to Reading`s rescue twice. Burnley had charged quickly up field on the break with the ball eventually falling to McDonald. His shot though was saved by the Royals keeper after diving low to his right to give the Clarets a rare corner. Edgar from the resulting corner got in a powerful header but again a superb save by Federici denied the Clarets taking the lead. The ball fell to Paterson but he could only shoot over the top of the bar and the score stubbornly remained goalless.
The Clarets play though now seemed to stall with Reading beginning to look the more threatening and have more of the possession. Jensen denied both Mills and Long with headed attempts on goal but with three minutes to play the Royals got the lead they deserved. A pass from Griffin allowed Sigurdsson to charge forward and get the better of McDonald. Jensen had no chance saving his powerful low shot to put Reading 1-0 up. There was no way back from this for the Clarets despite five minutes of added time and the final whistle went leaving Laws scratching his head still looking for his first win after a very poor performance by the Clarets.
Reading: Federici, Mills, Ingimarsson, Bertrand, Griffin, Gunnarsson (Kebe 74), McAnuff, Karacan, Sigurdsson, Church (Long 64), Rasiak (Thorvaldsson 84
Subs Not Used: Hamer, Cisse, Pearce, Howard
Goal: Sigurdsson 87
Booked: Yellow cards for Mills and Ingimarsson
Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Duff, Edgar, McCann, Alexander, Eagles, McDonald, Gudjonsson (Blake 85), Elliott, Thompson (Paterson half-time)
Subs Not Used: Penny, Carlisle, Guerrero, Easton, Rodriguez
Booked: Yellow cards for McCann and Eagles
Referee: Andy D'Urso (Essex)
Chris Eagles was probably the best of the bunch in terms of being the most threatening, especially in the first half but after being booked he seemed to lose his touch in the second half. Paterson who came on for the whole of the second half certainly looked more impressive than the ineffective Thompson who he replaced up front but it was hardly a breathtaking performance, McDonald took control of midfield for a short spell in the earlier part of the second half and looked dangerous but then he lapsed into the invisible man again mirroring his first half performance.
Brian Jensen kept us in the game and could not be blamed for Reading`s late winner but probably the most effective performance in defence came from David Edgar playing only his third full game of the season after making his Premier League debut for the Clarets only last week at Old Trafford.
This is his second good performance in the back four and for that reason we will give him our Star Player award.