• Ryan Sheehan

The Perfect Start

Updated: Oct 19, 2019

Simon Johnson and Sam Woodruff's Reading City have had the perfect start to their 2019/20 Hellenic League Premier Division campaign, with a 3-1 win against Shrivenham FC:

MATCH REPORT (Written by Nick Bird)

Reading City kicked off their season against Shrivenham yet again this season and were trying to replicate their 5-1 win away against Shrivenham in last seasons opening fixture.

The game kicked off to a scrappy start with both sides looking to get control of the game and there was a lot of possession changes in the middle third. Shrivenham won two free kicks early both on the right hand side, the second of these free kicks came in the 6th minute just outside the box, the ball was whipped into the box by Shrivenham captain Sam Ockwell and the ball was cleared only as far as Antonio Gerrish the Shrivenham striker who put his shot through the crowd and into the back of the net to make it 1-0 to Shrivenham.

A couple of minutes later a long ball out of the defence to Khalid Simmo on the right hand side allowed him to use his pace to create Reading City’s first chance of the game as he crossed it into Dan Davies who couldn’t quite put the finish away. Straight after this Shrivenham had two penalty appeals in a close space of time but Gifford Manyange the referee dismissed the appeals of the players and managers of Shrivenham.

Shrivenham took control of the game and had more of the ball with a notable link between Ryan Stanners and Antonio Gerrish which caused problems for the Reading City defence but captain Josh Blackwood continually stopped their efforts to get forward and create goal scoring opportunities.

Then Reading City started to get more of a foothold into the game and 23 minutes in the tall centre back Steve Lee got on the end of a good corner from Matt Stockill but the header went just wide of the left post. Shortly after Khalid Simmo was unleashed again with a blistering run on the counter and won Reading City a corner which came to nothing but showed yet again how Shrivenham couldn’t seem to stop Khalid when he was going forward.

Going into the latter stages of the first half the game was end to end but with very few chances causing the goalkeepers much harm. The best chance came in the late stages yet again from a Khalid Simmo run in the 44th minute on the counter, he cut into the box but his shot was deflected wide for a goal kick as Yashwa Romeo tried to turn it in.

At half time it was Reading City 0-1 Shrivenham, Shrivenham were the better side in the first half but only slightly as both sides looked good.

The second half was a more hot headed affair. There were a couple of early set pieces for both sides with Shrivenham’s Sam Ockwell putting a free kick just over the bar.

The first big chance of the second half was for Reading City as they had a shot saved by Michael Alexander the Shrivenham keeper as he made himself big. Shortly after this yet another great chance fell for Reading City as Steve Lee, who was up for a free kick, he forced a great save out of Alexander again to put the shot over the bar to keep his side in the lead.

The game was increasing in tempo as Reading were in complete control now thanks to them utilising the wings more which unlocked the pace of Khalid down the flanks. Khalid was all over Shrivenham and excited the crowd especially as he sat down Shrivenham left back Matty Horsell with some great skills which was followed by a shot which went just wide.

In the 70th minute Shrivenham right back Luke Cordery got a yellow card a couple of yards outside the box. The ball was whipped in and Luke Cordery brought down a Reading City player and the referee awarded the home side a penalty. There were appeals from the crowd for Cordery to get a second yellow card in under a minute. Devonn Reid stepped up to take the penalty and calmly placed it into the bottom left to tie up the game and the momentum swung even more in Reading City’s favour now thanks to this goal which had seemed inevitable since the early stages of the half.

There was a yellow card for substitute Mo Davies after a foul on the halfway line on the 80th minute mark.

Another long ball to Khalid Simmo down the right hand side allowed him to out pace the left back, he then drove into the box cutting inside onto his left foot and drove a shot low into the bottom left hand corner to give Reading City the lead in the 84th minute, Reading City 2-1 Shrivenham.

Only two minutes later Reading City substitute Jerry Fomboua was one on one with Michael Alexander who came out to shut him down, Fomboua attempted the chip shot but the shot had just too much on it and the ball went over the bar.

The game got quite hot-headed as the referee tried to keep control of the game while both sides appealed his decision and called for cards. This forced the ref to give a yellow card to the Shrivenham manager.

Then there was a 5min break in play as Shrivenham left back Matty Horsell was treated for a head injury after he went for a header at the same time as Dan Davies and they collided.

Play got started again and only about a minute later Khalid Simmo broke away down the right hand side with a great run into the box and drove to the byline by the six yard box and cut back inside which lost his defender trying to stop him, he then pulled it back for substitute Mo Davies and he finished it through the traffic to seal the victory for Reading City 3-1.

Man Of The Match was Khalid Simmo who absolutely ran the show, Shrivenham couldn’t stop him.

Match Reaction

Our first team manager Simon Johnson had this to say following our opening game:

"Grit, determination, desire, work rate all spot on today and with a bit of quality, contributed to a fantastic opening day win against a good Shrivenham side. Buzzing for the lads who have worked very hard in pre season. A good start but we now look to a tough test Monday."

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