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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 December 2006, 16:53 GMT
Watford 0-0 Reading
By Ian Hughes

Stephen Hunt and Dan Shittu battle for possession
Watford and Reading cancelled each other out
Watford squandered the chance to move off the foot of the Premiership and above Charlton, who were thrashed by Spurs, as they were held by Reading.

In a scrappy game, the Hornets had the best chances but never really looked like finishing off their opponents.

Al Bangura hit a fine second-half volley which was superbly saved by Marcus Hahnemann, and Hameur Bouazza was unlucky with a lofted volley.

A curling, first-half shot from Leroy Lita was the closest Reading came.

606 DEBATE: Give your thoughts on this match

Anyone stumbling across the match unaware of the teams' Premiership status might have thought the fixture was a re-run of the pair's encounters in the Championship last season.

Both of those matches ended as goalless draws - and it was easy to see why.

Neither team seemed able to retain possession, let alone carve out lots of chances.

And there were only two noteworthy opportunities in the first half, one for each side, and both went begging.

Watford forward Darius Henderson should have been able to celebrate a strike against his former club, but shot straight at keeper from inside the area.

Earlier, Lita had done better after cutting in from the left flank but the Reading striker's effort went wide of the far post.

To be fair to Lita, it was a good attempt and he looked for long spells like the player most likely to break the deadlock.

There was not much wrong with his movement or enthusiasm, but little to admire when it came to shooting accuracy.

Not that Watford were looking anything other than the team which had failed to score in six of their previous eight league games.

The Hornets appeared ready to try and change that after the break and Henderson connected bravely with a cross but sent his header too high.

Ten minutes later, the hosts were gifted the chance of the match when Ibrahim Sonko made a mess of a clearance and Bouazza ran onto the loose ball.

The Frenchman lifted his volley over the head of Hahnemann but, unfortunately for him, also over the bar.

Reading responded through that man Lita again, but his snap-shot from inside the box sailed over the bar.

Neither keeper had been tested by the wayward finishing on display, so it was a surprise when Hahnemann was called into action, and he did very well to turn Bangura's fierce volley round the post.

That save denied Watford only their second win of the season - and leaves them still rooted to the bottom of the table.

  • Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd:
    "Reading have confidence, and they have gained that from winning matches this season.

    "We have players who want to cross and pass when they should leather the ball and put it in the back of the net.

    "At the moment, things are not going for us, but we are in there and we will keep fighting until we can fight no more - and that will never happen to this team."

  • Reading boss Steve Coppell:
    "The depth of quality that other clubs possess means your players always have to be at the top end of their game.

    "The moment we feel we belong in this league is the moment we will start to panic.

    "Today, Watford's high-tempo style didn't allow us to get into our stride, and we never managed to string three or four passes together.

    "It was about the ugly words - commitment, effort and desire - today, and those are not the words you want to use when you are talking about football."

    Watford: Lee, Chambers, DeMerit, Shittu, Stewart, Smith (Powell 84), Francis, Bangura, Bouazza, Young, Henderson.
    Subs Not Used: Chamberlain, Mariappa, Priskin, Spring.

    Reading: Hahnemann, Bikey, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Oster (Little 90), Harper, Sidwell, Hunt, Lita (Long 75), Doyle.
    Subs Not Used: Federici, Gunnarsson, Sodje.

    Booked: Oster.

    Att: 19,223

    Ref: C Foy (Merseyside).

    Saturday's football photos
    09 Dec 06 |  Football


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