Reading face hosts as Todd stands firm

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The Independent Online

Reading will face the host club Atletic Terrassa in the European Cup-Winners' Cup final here in Spain today following their 2-1 victory yesterday against the Dutch side Oranje Zwart in a thrilling, fiercely contested game. Earlier, the Spanish team had claimed their final place with a 3-0 defeat of Grunwald, the Polish army side.

There were some anxious, early moments for Reading with the great Pakistan player Shahbaz Ahmed and THE Dutch international Sander van Heeswijk proving a handful for the Berkshire club's defence.

However, with Simon Mason in good form in goal and Rob Todd as steadfast as he has been throughout the competition, Reading survived to take the lead in the 23rd minute. Jon Wyatt broke through the Dutch defence to shoot the ball into the top of the net from the edge of the circle.

Eight minutes later, at their third penalty corner, a Ben Barnes shot was deflected into the net off a defender's stick for Reading's second goal.

Reduced to 10 players following the temporary suspension of their captain for verbal abuse, the Dutch were looking ragged until, a couple of minutes into the second half, they pulled a goal back through Gerald Dewamme on the break.

Reading immediately swung back on to the attack with two goalscoring opportunities falling to Mark Pearn while at the other end only a desperate last-minute tackle from Rob Todd denied Shahbaz an equaliser.

As the game swung from end to end the Reading defence survived three Dutch penalty corners while Reading's best effort of the second half was a stinging shot from Andy Todd from the edge of the circle after he had weaved his way through a packed Dutch defence.

In the women's tournament in Cologne, Purdey Miller's hat-trick ensured Fyffes Leicester a 7-1 win against Uccle of Brussels and they today play the Irish club Hermes for the bronze medal.