Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Murray lifts side out of drop zone

WOODCOTE/STOKE ROW began the second half of their Premier Division season with a comfortable 6-0 win away to UNITY.

WOODCOTE/STOKE ROW began the second half of their Premier Division season with a comfortable 6-0 win away to UNITY.

Goals by Jame Worsfold (two), Frank Dillon, Toby Nowell, Andy Bullett and Dave Givens helped the visitors complete a high-scoring league double over the side they defeated 5-1 at Woodcote back in August.

Elsewhere in the division ROTHERFIELD UNITED picked up a point as they drew 0-0 away to HURST.

GORING UNITED moved out of the Division 2 relegation zone after beating visiting MARLOW UNITED RESERVES 4-2

The hosts started the game slowly but sprang into life in the 15th minute when Jack Murray raced on to a long through ball, held off a defender before slotting past the advancing keeper, with a left foot finish.

Marlow started to get more of the ball and scored just before half time, scoring from the corner of the box, lobbing the advancing keeper.

With the wind at their backs Goring started well, going 2-1 up when Jack Murray controlled a clearance on his chest before striking a right foot half volley into the top corner.

After 70 minutes, from a corner, Murray completed the perfect hat-trick scoring with a close range header.

Marlow set up an interesting last 10 minutes as they pulled two goals back to make it 3-2.

Goring’s captain for the day Tom Heslop made the points safe for the home side as he held off three defenders before firing home United’s fourth goal of the match.

In Division 3 WOODCOTE/STOKE ROW RESERVES put in a lacklustre display as they went down down 4-1 at home to high-flying SRCC.

The visitors raced into a 4-0 lead in the first half before Jonny Clark pulled a goal back for the hosts in what was an improved second half.

Woodcote Reserves played disappointingly for the first half against high-flying SRCC and found themselves 4-0 down at the break. In an improved second half performance Jonny Clark’s goal reduced the arrears, but the visitors had done enough in the first half to complete the win. Division 4 promotion-chasing AFC ALDERMASTON RESERVES came away from Bishopswood with all three points as they defeated ROTHERFIELD UNITED RESERVES 2-0.

JANUARY’S transfer window has not yet reached boiling point, but it is simmering away nicely. Steve Clarke says money is available and providing any spending keeps the club within Financial Fair Play rules then new players could be on their way into the Madejski Stadium.

In his month at the club he will have already identified a lack of central defenders, strikers and left backs. This has been the case for a year and the balance of the squad needs to be readdressed.

Shaun Cummings departed for Millwall earlier in the week, having played 80 games at the club. The right back proved his versatility, playing right midfield in a crucial game at Cardiff and left back on the opening day of this season at Wigan.

Everyone at Reading is desperate to off-load Royston Drenthe, but a deal to shift him to China seems to have stalled. The accountants at the Madejski will be pleased they are steadily chipping away at the hefty earners, offered generous contracts in richer times.

Who will be on the way in, and when? Jure Travner is a Slovenian left back who looks certain to sign. He has been training with the squad for the past couple of months. Glenn Murray returning, if Palace sign a couple of strikers, remains a possibility. Adrian Mariappa could also make the same journey on loan, or maybe another experienced central defender, Sean St Ledger, might be the answer.

Most football managers seem to dislike January and the fun of the transfer window, mainly because the likes of me constantly bug them with annoying and unanswerable questions which they spend the month batting away. The deadline day rush is always good entertainment though, especially when your club looks likely to be doing business.

One effect of the transfer window must be to knock the confidence and distract the current team. What do the current players make of all the speculation around their positions?

If you are Michael Hector, Pavel Pogrebnyak, or Jordan Obita and you pick up a copy of your favourite local rag, only to read “identified a lack of central defenders, strikers and left backs” it must hit the ego pretty hard.

Players always talk about the benefits of more competition for places within a squad, but I have never bought that. Human nature demonstrates that is simply not the case. In any other walk of life if your manager recruits a new member of staff to do your job you get a bit jumpy. Footballers would be no different.

Reading are now unbeaten in four games and have a busy end to January ahead. The clean sheet against Middlesbrough last weekend was largely thanks to the inspired Adam Federici. He may be more tested this weekend against Fulham than he was against the same opponents at the Madejski Stadium back in September. Then the team head down to Cardiff for their FA Cup fourth round game. Tuesday night football becomes a regular feature in a couple of weeks’ time.

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