Pardew: We Were Lucky

Last updated : 14 August 2003 By Rob Cooper
A Nicky Forster double-strike and a goal from Steve Sidwell ensured Reading defeated Boston United 3-1 last night.

However Pardew was less than impressed with his side's performance. After keeping it tight in the first half the Royals proceeded to attempt to throw the game away in the second period, gifting the home side a penalty.

For a while it appeared as if below-par Reading were to again be knocked out of the cup by lower league opposition. Boss Alan Pardew admits his side were somewhat lucky to progress to the next round.

Speaking after the game he said: "We were fortunate because we didn't play well in the second half. We just had a period where we lost out way in the game for some reason. Even so we got through and that was the main priority.

"I wasn't very happy to be honest with our passing, we are better than that as a rule. I felt we got to negative and started playing the ball to the goalie too much, once we started looking positive in the final fifteen minutes we looked like we had in the first half."

As well as not been happy with his side, the Reading manager is not yet happy with his tactical decisions, he believes he can still get more out of his side. New signings Shaun Goater and Scott Murray have failed to really sign in Reading colours following their summer moves to the Madejski.

"No team in the league is nailed down and is right. They can't be. You need to find your new players strengths and weaknesses, we haven't found that yet, and nor will any other team."

Shaun Goater last night again looked distinctly off colour. The 33-year-old has as yet failed to justify that he was worth £500,000. Alan Pardew withdrew the Bermudan again last night as he is still some way short of match fitness.

"I've got to protect him for Saturday," admitted Pards.

"I thought he was terrific in the first half, he trained this (yesterday) morning and perhaps he didn't need to do that. I need to know how to handle him and get the best out of him.

"I don't know his game inside out yet, but he was instrumental in the first goal, his set up play was terrific and we just need more of it."

Whilst Goater's Reading career is still in its infancy, fans will expect some top performances from him soon or his established footballing pedigree will mean nothing.