Crewe Alexandra 1 Reading 0

By Footymad Previewer
Last updated : 01 November 2003

Crewe stretched their unbeaten run to five games with a 1-0 victory over Reading.

Steve Jones' first-half strike proved to be decisive and Dario Gradi's side were good value for the points which draws them level with the visitors on 24 points.

At the other end the Royals had a Forster goal disallowed for a push on a defender. In truth, Fozzy made minimal contact with the backline before spectacuarly blasting home so the goal should perhaps have stood.

Moments later Scott Murray went down like a lead balloon inside the home side's box but the referee waver play on.

Jones, the goalscorer, who was a constant thorn in Steve Coppell's side with his pace, was also denied a free kick six minutes after he broke the deadlock on the quarter-hour.

He was hauled down by Reading skipper Adrian Williams and the Welsh international was also lucky to stay on the pitch eight minutes before the break when he impeded Jones again as the striker broke through clean on goal on the left wing.

Williams was only booked, but there was no escape for Reading when Jones latched on to Justin Cochrane's pass on the left of the box and pulled the ball past Marcus Hahnemann from the acutest of angles.

However, in truth Marcus, who has been clumsy of late was indecisive when rushing out of his goal and should have smothered the opportunity.

Dean Ashton went close with a fizzing free-kick which just cleared the bar as Crewe looked to have scored a second.

However, Royals striker Nicky Forster should have equalised five minutes before the break when he deflected Ricky Newman's near post cross wide from close range.

Reading were the better side after the break and were camped in the Crewe half for long periods, but they lacked any real penetration.

Jones almost made it 2-0 when he broke through, and with Hahnemann advancing off his line he trickled the ball the wrong side of the post.

Expensive summer signing Shaun Goater was introduced with the giant Bas Savage for the final ten minutes but the visitors could not find a way through.

Harper in particular was guilty of missing a chance when going forward although Murray and Shorey are amongst the many players who will feel they should have done better with attempts of their own.

After the game Coppell admitted his side was lacking in the final third.

"We did a lot of promising things but from our point of view we missed out on a point," he said.

Crewe boss Dario Gradi said: "We could and should have had the second goal. I think we have still got to improve on our composure in that situation. If we did I think we would be quite a good side."

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