Holloway anger boils over after Cureton sees red

Reading 1 - Queen's Park Rangers 0
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The Independent Online

As Peter Kay's pay-off line goes in a recent beer advertisement: "I thought everyone knew." Well, Steve Sidwell was a man after the comedian's heart when he explained the most controversial incident of an otherwise desperately poor game.

As Peter Kay's pay-off line goes in a recent beer advertisement: "I thought everyone knew." Well, Steve Sidwell was a man after the comedian's heart when he explained the most controversial incident of an otherwise desperately poor game.

To recap, with 17 minutes remaining and Reading already in the lead, the Royals' midfielder gave the professionals' call of "Jacks", when his opponent Jamie Cureton was about to trap the ball. Having heard that, he let it run to Sidwell and when Cureton saw he had been duped, the QPR striker lashed out with a kick and two shoves, leading to the inevitable red card.

At least Sidwell was prepared to explain his actions rather than hide in the dressing-room, for which he must be given some credit. "I've given him the shout 'Jacks' which is football speak for let it run through your legs. You normally do it to people on your own team but obviously he's fallen for it and it's come to me.

"Maybe it was a bit unsportsmanlike but then he raised his arms. If he had just accepted it and got on with the game everything would have been fine." Then came the Peter Kay defence. "It happens all the time in football," the England Under-21 international added. "I do feel bad about it and it was Jamie's return to the club that he loves. He wanted to put in a good performance and it's a shame how it turned out. It happens all over the country in every game and it's gone horribly wrong today.

"Some people might say it's cheating. Do I regret it? Yes and no. Yes because of the outcome and no because we got the points and that's all that matters. All clubs use it, as you have to put a name on the ball."

If Sidwell, the stand-in Reading captain for a second consecutive victory, is to be believed, doing what he did is simply a more subtle version of the other tricks of the professionals' trade, such as shirt-pulling, pinching your marker and tripping them off the ball.

However Cureton's foolhardy reaction has brought it to wider attention although both managers were reluctant to be drawn on the matter too much. A victorious Steve Coppell, whose team are now fourth, said: "It's not my issue. He had to be sent off with what he did." A despondent Ian Holloway said he never encouraged his players to do such things.

Holloway, who saw his side beaten by Nicky Shorey's perfectly-placed free-kick from 25 yards, was more concerned that the Londoners had lost their third game in a row and that he had lost his temper.

He went on an anger management course last year but suffered a relapse here. "To say I was angry about what happened was an understatement and I made a total ass of myself. And I don't mean a donkey. My anger was directed at one or two of my players. Cureton apologised and I wasn't having it. I was screaming and shouting and I went back to the old me of last year [before the course]."

While Holloway was describing his woe, a phone rang to the tune of Tarzan's jungle cry and he just put his head in his hands.

The way he feels right now, not even the loin-clothed one could save him from his current despair.

Goal: Shorey (65) 1-0.

Reading (4-4-2): Hahnemann; Hughes, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey; Little, Harper, Sidwell, Brooker; Kitson (Owusu, 56), Morgan (Forster, 68). Substitutes not used: Young (gk), Convey, Newman.

QPR (4-4-2): Day; Bignot, Shittu, Santos, Padula (Best, 75); Rowlands (Cook, 85), Gallen, Bircham, Miller (Ainsworth, 85); Furlong, Cureton. Substitutes not used: Edghill, Bean.

Referee: R Beeby (Northants).

Booked: Reading: Kitson, Harper; QPR: Bircham, Rowlands.

Sent off: QPR: Cureton.

Man of the Match: Hughes.

Attendance: 20,272.

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