Reading Rascals keep focus to beat local rivals and go top
Reading Rascals keep focus to beat local rivals and go top of MBBO Div 8 West!
Reading Rascals were one of the few sides that managed to play on a chilly weekend but stayed focused to pull off another superb 5-1 win, this time over very local rivals Sonning 5. The win sees them take top spot in MBBO Div 8 West on goal difference from Thame 2 who had their game postponed because of the weather!
The weather in Sonning just that fraction of a degree warmer than in more southerly Reading meant the game could go ahead. Reading approached the game in confident mood having gone unbeaten since mid-October and were initially frustrated by the solid Sonning resistance, lead from the back by an old Reading friend GK Chris Miller. Reading dominated the first 20 minutes but failed to score thanks to some excellent keeping and what looked like a slight reluctance to shoot from the Reading forwards. Eventually central midfielder Mark Chapman decided enough was enough and after another excellent spell of team play received the ball just outside of the area, turned quickly and let fire with a shot that rocketed in to the far corner of the goal. A piece of brilliance that deserved to take the lead.
The game continued a close matched affair, the quick Sonning forwards not letting the Rascals have it all their own way and forcing Steve Thurlbourne in the Reading goal to make several timely saves. The first half finished 1-0 to Reading.
The second half started with Sonning attacking the far goal and Reading loosing their attacking rhythm. A goal mouth scramble saw them grab an equaliser and the game continued in a deadlocked 1-1 draw from longer than the Rascals were used to or expected. The officials made their presence known with some interesting decisions that the more experienced players struggled with and the atmosphere definitely heated up a bit. Reading pushed forward but were always conscious of the danger of a Sonning breakaway. The game really was end to end. Rascals debutante James Ellwood, who had one of the most impressive debuts seen from any of the young Reading colts, was deemed to have tackled the Sonning centre forward unfairly just as he was about to enter the D and received the first yellow card the team can remember.
This proved to be the turning point in the game, with the Reading players having to work a bit harder and with more determination the midfield stepped up a gear and Reading created some more dangerous looking attacks. A few missed chances and more excellent saves from the Sonning keeper Readings increased pressure finally began to tell. Mark Chapman picked up a loose ball from a excellent short corner save and managed to slot home. Reading took a 2-1 lead despite being a man down. Eventually James Ellwood was called back in to the game and Reading made another good break up the right wing the ball being carried from near the half way line by Otto Thompson. Some good stick skills saw him get passed the last Sonning defender and the pass to Matt Wright to his left would have been a certain goal, had the keeper not intercepted. However it was only right that the clearance fell into the path of Master Ellwood arriving in support who slotted home between the keeper and his near post. 3-1 and the game was all but over because of the Reading dominance.
Reading then started to play the excellent passing hockey they have become so good at, knowing they have the comfort of a two goal cushion but not wanting to ease off. Another short corner saw another well struck shot this time from Otto's dad and the result was never in doubt by the time Matt Wright added to his season's tally with a well taken fifth! Sonning never gave up however and the Reading defence had to be on their toes as the home team forced a couple of short corners.
The game ended as most of the games against Sonning do with a friendly beer, excellent hospitality and a good laugh with old friends. Exactly how a well fought competitive match should do!
Reading: Thurlbourne, S (GK); Withers, P; Mann, T; Cooke, J; Chapman, H; Ellwood, J: Chapman, M, Welsh, N; Thompson, R; Thompson, O, Wright, M; Sandell, J; Reed, S; Coach: Sayer, J
Goalscorers: Chapman, M 2, Ellwood, Thompson, R; Wright, M