Reading 0, Norwich City 0

Robert Snodgrass and Wes Hoolahan feel Reading's Jobi McAnuff went down too easy after referee Chris Foy awarded the home side a free kick. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Robert Snodgrass and Wes Hoolahan feel Reading's Jobi McAnuff went down too easy after referee Chris Foy awarded the home side a free kick. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images

Saturday, November 10, 2012
5:08 PM

Norwich City extended their unbeaten run to four Premier League games when they took a valuable point from winless Reading at the Madejski Stadium.

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It was a far from inspiring contest with very few clear-cut chances, but the Canaries will be glad to have maintained a bit of distance over the struggling sides at the foot of the table.

It was, significantly, City’s first clean sheet away from home in the Premier League since October 2004, and they were on the back foot for much of the second half as the Royals looked desperately for that first top-flight win since promotion.

Reading’s Garath McCleary tested John Ruddy in the opening half with a stinging effort, while Jobi McAnuff went closest after the break for the hosts, but City’s defence held firm and they might even have snatched a win had skipper Grant Holt and Robert Snodgrass done better with second-half headers.

Generally Norwich gave the ball away cheaply far too often but at least for Ruddy and the defence, it was a fourth clean sheet of the league season – one more than in the whole of 2011-12.

City boss Chris Hughton named an unchanged side with defenders Michael Turner (dead leg) and Javier Garrido (knee) recovering from knocks that led to them being substituted in the previous week’s 1-0 victory over Stoke.

Russell Martin was still sidelined by a back problem and there was one change on the bench, where full-back Marc Tierney replaced central defender Leon Barnett.

Reading were forced into one change in goal where Alex McCarthy was ruled out by a shoulder injury he suffered in the 1-1 draw at Queens Park Rangers six days earlier. It meant a recall for Australian ’keeper Adam Federici.

Before kick-off, an immaculately observed minute’s silence was held to mark Remembrance weekend.

City, wearing their black away kit, almost carved an opening in the fourth minute after a good spell of possession but Whittaker’s pass was just too strong for Hoolahan.

Snodgrass then made good headway but a deflection off Shorey took the sting out of his shot and Federici gathered.

McCleary was in trouble early on as he landed on his shoulder after rolling off Garrido’s challenge but he was able to continue after treatment.

Bassong conceded the game’s first corner when he hacked Gunter’s cross into the crowd. Holt headed clear from Shorey’s kick but Turner soon had to concede another corner and when it was only half-cleared, another Shorey cross threatened trouble before Turner cleared again.

The best effort so far came in the 14th minute when McCleary let fly with a powerful effort that Ruddy could only parry for Bassong to hook clear. City were under a bit of pressure and Whittaker did well to head clear from a Shorey free-kick after Bassong was penalised in a tangle with Hunt.

Hunt earned jeers from the away fans when he ran into Garrido and hit the ground as a cross came in from McAnuff, but referee Foy was unimpressed.

Midway through the half, Johnson blazed over from 25 yards after dogged work by Hoolahan, but Federici had not really been troubled.

Snodgrass was penalised when he appeared to catch McAnuff with his arm, but Gorkss headed over from the resulting free-kick by Shorey.

Snodgrass was then in action at the opposite end when he headed wide from a Hoolahan cross.

Bassong landed City in trouble by dithering on the edge of the six-yard box after cutting out a cross from Roberts, and Turner had to come to the rescue.

The Canaries win their first corner on 38 minutes when Whittaker’s shot flew wide via a deflection off Gorkss, and Pilkington’s kick was headed out for a second flag-kick, but Snodgrass’s twice-taken kick came to nothing.

• Half-time: Reading 0, Norwich City 0

Another slice by Bassong handed Reading a corner straight from the restart but he atoned by heading clear from Shorey’s kick.

Hoolahan hooked a shot wide after good work by Pilkington to sum up City’s rather toothless attacking show.

Garrido denied Roberts a shooting chance at the expense of another corner after the striker turned away from Turner.

Reading were enjoying greater possession but their lack of a goal led to a double change on the hour when Pogrebnyak and Kebe replaced Hunt and McCleary.

Holt was having a lean time and a cross from Hoolahan was just too high as he jumped at the far post in a rare Norwich raid.

Another of Shorey’s many free-kicks might have provided an opening but the ball drifted wide as Pogrebnyak and Morrison jumped together.

Holt was unable to make clean contact from another Hoolahan cross as his half-hit shot drifted wide, but Reading finally went close when McAnuff got away from Whittaker and sent a 20-yard effort narrowly over the top.

A foul by Tettey on Kebe gave Shorey a free-kick opportunity on the edge of the Norwich area, but he fired it into the wall.

There was another close shave for City when a cross from Kebe bounced on top of the bar to safety.

Holt headed wide from Garrido’s cross when it appeared Gorkss did just enough to put him off but it rather summed up the City skipper’s afternoon.

City finally had an opening when Pilkington won a corner on the left. Turner got his head to the kick but Reading were able to clear their lines.

A poor cross from Garrido enabled Reading to counter-attack swiftly through Kebe but as he cut in from the right, his low shot was cut out by Ruddy at the near post.

Turner was booked for bringing down Roberts on the edge of the Norwich area

Snodgrass headed over from Pilkington’s cross with just over 10 minutes left when he should have done better, and an awful attempt at a cross from Tettey typified City’s lack of quality.

Pilkngton wasted another opening when he took Holt’s backheel and blazed a shot wildly into the crowd, then Holt headed straight at Federici from a Pilkington centre.

With less than five minutes left, Holt and Snodgrass made way for Morison and Elliott Bennett.

Turner went down clutching his shoulder after a collision with Pogrebnyak as the minutes ticked away, but he was able to continue without treatment.

In stoppage time, Tettey broke forward on his own but pulled a weak effort across goal as Reading defenders converged on him.

• Reading: Federici; Gunter, Morrison, Gorkss, Shorey; McCleary (Kebe, 60), Leigertwood, Tabb, McAnuff; Roberts (Le Fondre, 79), Hunt (Pogrebnyak, 60). Subs (not used): Taylor, Cummings, Mariappa, Robson-Kanu.

• Norwich City: Ruddy; Whittaker, Turner, Bassong, Garrido; Tettey, Johnson; Snodgrass (Elliott Bennett, 86), Hoolahan, Pilkington; Holt (Morison, 86). Subs (not used): Bunn, Tierney, Ryan Bennett, Howson, Jackson.

• Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

• Attendance: 24,080 (2,199 City fans)

• Bookings: City: Turner (77)

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31 comments

  • I was in the Reading area yesterday, thankfully not at the match. Listened to the commentary on BBC Radio Berks and even their commentators thought it was awful, just 2 well organised honest teams lacking in ideas. Sums it up. 3 points next week I guess!

    Report this comment

    captaincozmik

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • He still does Preston!

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    The Crab

    Monday, November 12, 2012

  • The fact is Hughton has a greater fear of losing a game than he has desire to win. I hope the accountants at NCFC have pointed out that the 38 points from drawing every game will not be good enough to stay up.

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • While I'm sure your point of view is perfectly valid in the correct forum, John L Norton, what's that got to do with the game at Reading?

    Report this comment

    The Crab

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • Norwich City extended their Can't win away run

    Report this comment

    billythebookie

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • Ethered again. This problem is always worse when that Ar-chant plant\employee Stereo Dog is in evidence. That`s 3 today on this board. On topic, I rashly predicted 49 points and I must stick to that!!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • I agree too Preston. Our players are offensive. Offensive on the eye !!! Ho, ho. Good one Gedster. All the best pals. Ged - Comedic Legend.

    Report this comment

    Ged Steroo

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • Totally agree Preston, Houghton is old school. All the great managers in the past built teams from the back. I don't know what tactics he should use, he has a good squad and plenty of offensive players. I am sure he will get the balance right, sooner rather than later. What pray tell is a Pink Legend.

    Report this comment

    RoadWarrior

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • another 2 points dropped.subs should have been on earlier.what has jackson done not to get his chance off the bench?Bring on yarmouth utd!

    Report this comment

    tonyb

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • Just returned from Berkshire and the Reading game. A dull event and one where 3 points went begging to the team that got their game together. Neither deserved to win. However, our back 4 looked tight and composed. Midfield didn't connect although Wes was excellent. Our recent run has been good but our approach will be severely tested in the next game if Man Utd play to their normal ability. I would like to see Elliott Bennett and Jacko start next week, as we will need their pace. We are still going in the right direction, no matter what happens against MU. OTBC.

    Report this comment

    BureValleyPaddy

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • That was another 2 points squandered!! It is obvious that Hughtons priority was not to lose. Reading had nothing! They nullified Holt by setting 2 men on him, shut off the service from Hollahan, and Hughton did absolutely nothing to change his game plan and try to win the game. We brought on our subs at 86 minutes. what's that all about??? So what is the masterplan? We get as many nil nil draws as possible, and hope the 5 teams below us get consistantly beaten??? What happened to that attacking, entertaining team we love??

    Report this comment

    Algarve Canary

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • A new striker isn't going to solve our scoring problem, can't score if you don't get the service. We seem void of ideas in the final third.

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • And to cheer us all up - Man Ure have just gone 3-2 up at Vanilla, with 2 minutes left .... PL "sick as a parrot" --- Fergie "over the moon" !!!

    Report this comment

    The Crab

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • Well I think we will take the away point, but, all will know that we did not play at all well and on a better day could have had easily had all three. Isn't it strange how we can have superb performances against the BIG teams, but then play poorly against the lower teams ? Man Utd up next, and I'll be in Norwich - but still no ticket. Hoping for a good samaritan to come to my rescue - just seven days to go now ! OTBC

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • Dubai, I was out best part of yesterday and just seen your contact address,I have sent details to you this very morning. O.T.B.C

    Report this comment

    Rodders

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • It's not that we just play better against the BIG teams but that the manager feels he has nothing to lose by attacking now and then. Whereas against the equal [ish] teams [damn, vanilla have just scored as i type] he daren't lose, simple as that. At least PL would make those changes early enough and try for the win, this is where CH needs to address the situation and go for the three points against these teams. An away point, as good as it is, really should be all three. There is one thing about Reading that I like, they have an honest manager who doesn't whinge everytime it goes wrong or not quite right. Take note, Colin and Tony Putrid.

    Report this comment

    Bootneck R.M.

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • The balance between attack and defence still isn't quite there yet. One or two of our offensive players don't seem to be firing yet, Pilkington being one. I am a big fan of his, but he hasn't kicked on from last season yet. He isn't the only one though and we need to start attacking with a bit more quality all round. Defensively Turner is looking much better and overall we seem more solid, but I have to say that we are deservedly one of the last teams on MOTD each week at the moment. A work in progress, and lets hope fr a good performance next week.

    Report this comment

    Preston Canary

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • Good question TonyB. Hughton does not have the courage or confidence to make winning substitutions in a league game. he did in the cup match with Spurs but then he had nothing to lose.. At the start of the season it was obvious we were short of fire power up front and therefore there is no obvious impact player to come off the bench to break the stalemate and win the game. Horse could do it from the bench but then where is the striker to start the match and cause difficulties to the opposition defence? Possibly playing for Huddesfield or Blackburn?

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • Off-topic stuff from Whiplash & Norton ok. Comments on football ethered.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • Rodders, thanks for your mail. I have replied - and will be at the Carra next week ! A pink leg end ? I don't think that we should go down that route either.... lets keep to the footie ! OTBC

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • Or Burnley, waclor? Still think Cinnamon could be effective, even as a "Supersub". (From my upcoming `Dictionary of Journalistic Clichés` - foreword by Prolix Paddy, which largely saves me from having to write very much). Red Stooge is to contribute his small piece on `Self Appreciation and other Abuses`.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, November 12, 2012

  • I think maybe fewer than 40 points will do it, Warrior. I think QPR scraped in on 37(?) last season. There seems to be bit of a gap separating the bottom 3 already. Anyway, I rashly predicted 49 points and I`m sticking to it! It is a pity we cannot accommodate both Wessi and a strike partner for Holty. I`m sure Cinnamon is at least worth using as an impact player for the last quarter of games in which we need a goal. Like most of them!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • It's aother point and 3rd clean sheet in 4 league games, last year a lot was being made of the lack of clean sheets, especially by Ged, and lets be honest, he could never keep his clean! It's a different season, different manager, it's a long season and the target is 40 points. We have 11 and require a couple of wins to get the Norwich supporters smiling again. I will keep smiling. 40 points is realistic target and Wes is the man to get us there, just a point of view from Dublin!

    Report this comment

    RoadWarrior

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • Red Card all the radical politicos I say, both right & left wing - and - a Yellow Card for John L. Norton for even bringing this nonsense onto a respectable NCFC comment board ! OTBC

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • Ged, did you stand in the school yard when you were younger telling jokes to yourself and laughing at them?

    Report this comment

    Preston Canary

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • Yes, I'm fairly new to this particular board. My name is based upon my [ex] occupation and I originate from Norwich, now living in Devon where I have been for many a year.

    Report this comment

    Bootneck R.M.

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • And I`m not going to précis it & try again! PS. I am NOT a Norton. Prefer Royal Enfields.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • Well done boys. Another good point away from home and another clean sheet. Hughton is learning all the time and picking up points along the way which has to be a good thing. No one thought that the transition between managers was going to be easy but he appears to be easing into the job nicely now. OTBC IHWT

    Report this comment

    baguio

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • I've been supporting Norwich since moving to the city in 1968 - over 40 years ago. During that time and under avriety of managers they have always been consistent in two things. First is that they always rise to the occasion of bigger sides, and get dragged down to the level of thepoorer ones. And secondly they always struggle for a while after Christmas, when the heavier grounds come. It is to be hoped that the second of these is short-lived this year, as we don't want to drop too many points, and make life difficult in the Spring, but the relieving factor there is that several of the sides we play from Christmas to the end of February are what may be termed Bigger teams, so one effect may nullify the other!. By the way - are you new on these boards, Bootneck, or is this just a new nom de plume. Whatever, your views seem balanced, and as such are welcome here - unlike certain Trolls and Turf Accountants who most certainly are not. OTBC.

    Report this comment

    The Crab

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • Rodders, thanks for your mail. I have replied - and will be at the Carra next week ! A pink leg end ? I don't think that we should go down that route either.... lets keep to the footie ! OTBC

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • Glad to hear your good news Dubai ! Whereabouts is your seat?

    Report this comment

    The Crab

    Monday, November 12, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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