Reading won a morale-boosting 2-1 victory over Newcastle United at the Madejski Stadium today and manager Steve Coppell was delighted at the performance.
Coppellâ€™s inspired, or lucky substitution â€“ take your choice – by bringing on Shane Long after 83 minutes worked to great affect, as Long notched the late winner with his very first kick.
Steve Coppell – his team easily outplayed Newcastle today
From a Newcastle viewpoint you can ask what the 3 or 4 defenders that went for the high ball were doing, as the ball got through to Long who made no mistake and gave Shay Given no chance â€“ for the second time in the game.
Dave Kitson had put Reading in front eight minutes into the second half when he shot home from just outside of the penalty box. And while Newcastle struggled almost all afternoon Reading came to their rescue inadvertently.
Following an Emre free kick out on the right corner, Michael Duberry chested the ball into the net. It looked like a gift to the Magpies â€“ but they refused to accept it. That was because terrible defending allowed Long to hit home the winner, which in truth Reading deserved all afternoon.
After the game manager Steve Coppell said:
“Our performance was more like the way we played last year – there was a lot of energy about it. From my point of view it was like seeing an old friend. I enjoyed it.”
Steve said of match winner Long:
“He wasn’t on at me to bring him on – he never does – but he is certainly one of the quickest to get on. Some of the more seasoned pros seem to take an age.â€
“Consistently this year substitutes have made an impact in our games. It’s a trend of this season. Shane came on and introduced some real gusto to our play. He has bags of energy and is a young man with a point to prove, which is a nice combination.â€
“And because he has not been through an apprenticeship he does things differently in an unexpected way. Sometimes that can be frustrating for us just as much as it is dangerous for the opposition.”