McCarthy vents fury as rivals close the gap
Reading 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
The midwinter blues have hit Wolverhampton Wanderers hard. Mick McCarthy's men have not won in the Championship in January, and this was their fifth consecutive game without victory. Reading have not been flawless this month but this comfortable win, despite the scoreline, thanks to Neill Collins's own goal after 60 seconds, means that The Royals have done the double over Wolves and have closed to within two points of the league leaders.
Collins's night got worse when he was sent off in injury time for swearing at the assistant referee and it was clearly catching. McCarthy's reaction to the goal that condemned his side to a second defeat in those five games was short and sweet. "What a shite start," he said. "It shouldn't happen. Absolute tosh, rubbish, drivel."
The former Republic of Ireland manager continued in a far more colourful and expletive-filled vein after that, all of which made it clear that he is extremely worried about the disappearance of a previously powerful position at the top of the table. "How we respond now is what's important. I can't do anything about what's happened here," he said in a calmer tone.
Steve Coppell, the Reading manager, who would refuse to hype up Christmas, let alone a football match, had spoken beforehand about the impact a win for either side would have here, "regardless of the three points". Although of course they come in handy, too. On the basis of McCarthy's reaction, it would seem as if that is round one to Coppell in the psychological battle for promotion.
What caused McCarthy's anger started with some dithering at right-back by Kevin Foley, which saw Stephen Hunt win back possession. He found Chris Armstrong, who crossed, and in jumping for the ball with Kevin Doyle, Collins, the Wolves centre-back, saw his attempted clearance arc and loop over Wayne Hennessey and under the crossbar.
Given that Reading's last league outing was a 2-0 defeat at Swansea City 10 days ago, the early strike soothed some of the hosts' nerves that their own push for automatic promotion might be faltering. The only thing to upset Coppell's men was Michael Duberry being forced off with a cut head, leaving Coppell with only one of his first-choice back four.
Noel Hunt had a free-kick saved by Hennessey, who also saved from James Harper, but the expected onslaught from the visitors, bar that of the four-letter kind, never arrived.
Goals: Collins og (2) 1-0.
Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Kelly, Duberry (Gunnarsson, 30), Pearce, Armstrong; Kébé, Cissé, Harper, S Hunt; N Hunt (Long, 81), Doyle (Lita, 82). Substitutes not used: Andersen (gk), Matejovsky.
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Hennessey; Foley, Stearman, Collins, S Ward; Kightly, Henry, Quashie (Edwards, 86), Jarvis (Vokes, 85); Ebanks-Blake, Keogh (Iwelumo, 63). Substitutes not used: Higgs (gk), Vokes, Hill.
Referee: R Booth (Nottinghamshire).
Booked: Reading Gunnarsson; Wolves Ward.
Sent off: Collins (90).
Latest in Sport
The Prince of Wales Stakes today is regarded by many as the No1 race of the Royal Ascot meeting and ...
by Gareth Purnell
19 June 2013 02:01 AM
Today’s St James Palace looks a cracker and there has been sustained money for Dawn Approach since t...
by Gareth Purnell
18 June 2013 02:01 AM
Newcastle don’t need a football director – they need a new medical team after finishing bottom of the injury league
Newcastle United have shocked their fans by appointing Joe Kinnear as director of football but new f...
by Alex Miller
17 June 2013 04:39 PM
ACT Brumbies v British and Irish Lions - player ratings
Premier League fixture list unveiled: David Moyes and Jose Mourinho on an early collision course
Liverpool expected to complete deal for £6m Spanish winger Luis Alberto in next 48 hours
In pictures: Royal Ascot 2013 - Opening day
Exclusive: Cristiano Ronaldo advised to stay at Real Madrid for further 18 months before making possible switch to Manchester United
- 1 Disability campaigners celebrate 'victory' after government rethink over plans to make it more difficult to claim disability benefits
- 2 'Jail reckless bankers': Report urges the Government to introduce new criminal offence for reckless management
- 3 Breaking the Silence: In the reality of occupation, there are no Palestinian civilians – only potential terrorists
- 4 We never knew Nigella Lawson - and we still don’t
- 5 Vice pulls 'breathtakingly tasteless' fashion shoot glorifying the suicides of famous female authors from Sylvia Plath to Virginia Woolf