Match Report - Reading v Tottenham Hotspur - 01 Aug 2001
A clean sheet, two fine goals, an unchanged side for the first time in pre-season and a sixth friendly win in six - all in all, not a bad night's work in the magnificent Madejski Stadium.
While fans and media alike purred over some superb passing movements, boss Glenn Hoddle wore a satisfied smile after a defensive display that left Neil Sullivan untroubled for 90 minutes.
Glenn had some harsh words for the defence after conceding two goals at Portsmouth last week but the back three of Gary Doherty, Goran Bunjevcevic and Ledley King kept a tight rein on the home attack.
"Since Portsmouth we've been working on the defensive side of things and we looked a lot tighter," he said. "There are things we've been working on that came to fruition out there, so that was pleasing."
Our attacking play really caught the eye though with a number of slick, one-touch passing movements leading to efforts on goal.
On this occasion though we came up against an inspired goalkeeper as Phil Whitehead produced a string of excellent saves to keep the scoreline respectable for the Royals.
Whitehead made six saves out of the top drawer and the pick of the bunch, a stunning reaction stop with his left hand to deny Stepen Carr's deflected drive after 57 minutes, had all sides of the ground on their feet.
Other notable saves came from Les Ferdinand's volley in the first half and Christian Ziege's drive after the break - Ziege's effort after the move of the night involving Anderton, Rebrov and Poyet.
Whitehead could do little about the goals though. Ferdinand created the opener after 25 minutes as he spun away from his marker and ran fully 50 yards into the area before squaring to the unmarked Poyet, who slotted home.
Rebrov capped the night's work in the final minute, collecting Ziege's pass and steadying himself before shooting low into the bottom corner.
Minute-by-minute guide to the action:
First half: 9mins: Harper through on goal after one-two with Butler, took ball around Sullivan but overran it.
11mins: Rebrov cross found Ferdinand whose attempted shot on the turn was blocked.
18mins: Poyet snap-shot well parried by Whitehead.
20mins: Ferdinand held ball up in area, cut back to Rebrov whose shot was blocked by Viveash.
25mins: GOAL. Bunjevcevic pass out of defence to Ferdinand, who turned on a sixpence and took off on a powerful run into the area before squaring to the supporting Poyet who slid home from 12 yards. 1-0.
30mins: Smith guided diving header from Murty's cross just wide.
32mins: Anderton free-kick from 25 yards well saved by Whitehead.
35mins: Clever pass from Ziege found Ferdinand who fired over on the stretch from a tight angle.
43mins: Decent move involved Ziege, Freund and Poyet ends with Anderton shooting wide from 30 yards.
45mins: Loose ball from Ziege's corner pops up nicely for Ferdinand to volley from 10 yards but superb reaction save from Whitehead denied him.
Half-time: Reading 0-1 Spurs
Second half: 50mins: Freund played ball into Carr, he fed Anderton who shot wide, left-footed, from 20 yards.
57mins: Typical Carr charge forward into box, shot deflected forcing superb save from Whitehead.
59mins: Ziege snapshot just wide from corner of area.
63mins: Anderton pounced on clearance 30 yards out, did well to keep bouncing ball low but Whitehead, who saw it late, was up to the task again.
64mins: One-touch move involving Anderton, Rebrov and Poyet released Ziege on left, first-time shot tipped over by Whitehead.
70mins: Freund released Carr, first-time cross met by Poyet diving header wide.
75mins: Ferdinand one-two with Poyet, sprinted clear but dragged one-on-one chance wide.
78mins: Deep corner from Ziege found Bunjevcevic but free header somehow clawed out by Whitehead.
86mins: Low Poyet shot from 20 yards comfortably smoothered by Whitehead.
90mins: GOAL. Ziege found Rebrov in space in the area and the striker fired low into the bottom corner beyond Whitehead. 2-0.
Final score: Reading 0-2 Spurs
Line-ups: Spurs: Sullivan, Carr, Doherty, Freund, Bunjevcevic, King, Anderton, Poyet, Ferdinand, Ziege, Rebrov.
Reading: Whitehead, Whitbread, Robinson, Viveash (Igoe, 67), Parkinson (Gamble, 67), Williams, Rougier (Henderson, 78), Harper, Butler (Fashanu, 82), Murty (Casper, 82), Smith.