Reading 0 Blackburn Rovers 0: Reading survive Matejovsky mishap but Coppell rages

Rather like dog bites man, manager condemns referee may not be news. Steve Coppell questioning one certainly is. Andthis was one of the rare occasions when the Reading man-ager allowed that normal stoicalvisage to slip.

Never mind that, against talented visitors who still harbour European qualification pretensions, his team edged towards security. Or that, after shipping goals all season, his defenders, with Andrey Bikey in except-ional form, secured their third clean sheet in five games. Or that, once his midfielder Marek Matejovsky departed after two cautions, Coppell's side performed with great resilience to claim one point and could even have mugged Blackburn and gained all three. The "emotional helter-skelter", as he recently described the tension of the relegation scrap, finally got to him.

Before the referee Mark Clattenburg's over-zealous 72nd- minute dismissal of the Czech international, a Rovers side displaying "not a great deal of spark or energy", according to their manager, Mark Hughes, had looked there for the taking. One could not dispute Matejovsky's first caution on the hour, for a foul on David Dunn, but the second, following an innocuous collision with Jason Roberts,was unnecessary.

"We might have had two different refs," Coppell said of Clattenburg, who during this edgy but never malicious contest produced nine yellow cards. "In the first half he was laid back and let things go. In the second half he was a terror. It was bump, whistle, and then a yellow card."

One could comprehend Coppell's irritation. Before the interval Blackburn's captain, Ryan Nelsen, was cautioned for using his knee to knock the ball out of Marcus Hahnemann's hands as the goalkeeper was about to clear, as was the American goalkeeperfor reacting to it. Yet earlier Nelsen escaped punishment after yanking back Kevin Doyle.

"For a top referee it was inconsistent," said Coppell, who added, with heavy-handed sarcasm, of Matejovsky: "He's a real animal of a midfielder, isn't he? How many fouls did he commit? Three all afternoon? But we had Mr Hyde refereeing in the second half. The imbalance in the way the game was refereed affected it. Nelsen should have beensent off after 20 minutes. He would have been sent off in the second half."

In the early stages, the hosts had not appeared a side with relegation worries. Doyle was in assertive mood, and only a desperate challenge by Andre Ooijer on Stephen Hunt at the near post denied Reading. Coppell's defence have been less vulnerable of late, but there was always a feeling that Roque Santa Cruz and Jason Roberts could profit if David Bentley could provide the ammunition. Itnever happened.

Reading were far more threatening after the break, and Doyle headed over before Hunt spurned two difficult opportunities. Before Matejovsky's sending-off Rovers had looked only sporadically dangerous. A Bentley volley had brought a fine save from Hahnemann and a beautiful ball from David Dunn for once eluded Bikey and Santa Cruz looked certain to score, but poked the ball the wrong side of the post.

Once Matejovsky departed, Rovers drove forward far more purposefully, and nearly scored when a referee's assistant failed to flag four Blackburn players who appeared offside as a free-kick was driven in. One, Zurab Khizanishvili, dispatched a powerful header which Hahnemann saved. "There would have been a minor revolt if that had gone in," reflected Coppell.

Santa Cruz could still have won it, but was thwarted by Hahnemann at close range. And a kind of justice was done.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution