Plymouth Argyle 2 Reading 2

By Footymad Previewer
Last updated : 02 November 2004

Steve Coppell believes that Reading and Plymouth can both challenge for the Premiership after the two sides claimed a point apiece in a dramatic match.

Royals striker Dave Kitson bundled home an injury-time corner as Coppell's men fought back from a disastrous first half during which a Steve Sidwell own goal after 18 minutes and a strike from Scottish international striker Stevie Crawford gave Argyle 2-0 interval lead.

However, another own goal, from Graham Coughlan, brought a changed Reading into the game in the second half before Kitson struck in the second minute of added time.

A relieved Coppell conceded that runaway leaders Wigan looked likely Championship champions but added: "I would say, outside of them, there's another 16 teams with nothing between them.

"We'll take what we've got, We've got a long journey back, and another mountain to climb - Stoke at home. We beat them a few weeks back, so they will be looking for suitable revenge." Argyle manager Bobby Williamson was at a loss to explain why all three points evaded his side after a dominant opening 45 minutes.

"The players have let themselves down with their second-half performance and I'm disappointed for them as much as I am for the fans," he said. "We should have had three points tonight.

"We deserved a standing ovation at half-time and we deserved the silence we got at the final whistle. It wasn't for the lack of effort - lack of concentration has cost us.

"We knew there would be occasions in the game when we had to defend and, on the two occasions when they got their goals, we never defended as well as I would have liked." From the off, Argyle were a continual menace to a Reading side that looked nothing like a side with Premiership pretensions, and the game was initially as one-sided a contest as is possible to imagine.

It was a minor miracle that the Royals reached the 18th minute before conceding, and, even then, they gave the Pilgrims a helping hand when Sidwell inadvertently deflected Mickey Evans' header past erratic goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann.

A rare Reading attack ended with Argyle's French goalkeeper Romain Larrieu acrobatically turning aside Kitson's header, before Crawford picked up the scraps of Evans' challenge on Hahnemann to slide home the second.

Reading were a different prospect at the start of the second half, and Bobby Convey wasted a good chance to level before Coughlan stooped to head turned Nicky Shorey's free-kick past Larrieu.

Argyle soon regained the ascendancy, however, and Evans was unlucky not to score when his low shot hit the inside of a post.

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