Bartley Takes Reading 'Hot Seat' - 18th May
Mark Bartley (pictured) has been appointed as Reading Town's new manager. And it's a case of as you were at Scours Lane, with Marcus Richardson being appointed assistant manager with Roy Hanley and Lawrence Kingsbury the coaches.
The four took charge of the team earlier this year when Roddy Slater was forced to give up the manager's role for personal reasons, although he did not officially resign until the final Hellenic League game of the season last month.
Town secretary Richard Grey said: "They did a reasonable job at the end of last season, halting a slump that was taking us towards the relegation zone. "They won four of the last five games and we are hoping they can carry that form into next season. Mark is very positive about the future and plans to bring in more experienced players." Bartley said: "I am really pleased to be given the opportunity. I see it as us carrying on from where he left off last season at a difficult time. We want to move the club forward and we plan to keep the core of the squad we had last season, but we will be bringing in new players – at least three or four." Town's late surge away from the relegation zone was largely due to the brilliance of Ray Spence, who switched to Scours Lane once South Reading had completed their Reading Football League fixtures. Bartley is hoping to persuade Spence to play permanently for Town.
The Scours Lane club are also to form a reserve team, who will play in the restructured Hellenic League set up. The second string – to be managed by youth team boss Pete Collins – will be a mixture of players not selected for the first team and youth team players. Bartley and Richardson will sign on as players, but the manager says that, with the calibre of footballers they hope to sign, they are not expecting to play regularly. "We are both experienced players and can fit in if we get a run of injuries at the same time," said Bartley.
Management Selection - 5th April
Reading Town are in the process of deciding who should head up their team next season, and are set to appoint a new manager within the next week or two.
Roddy Slater, who was in charge for much of this season before taking a break due to personal reasons, has confirmed he will not be returning. Following his departure, his assistants, Lawrence Kingsbury and Roy Hanley, took over with player-coach Marcus Richardson and skipper Mark Bartley also having a significant input on team affairs, particularly when it came to recruiting players. The team struggled and a poor run sent them plummeting down the table. But they then hit a good spell, which produced four wins from their last five games and they finished 13th in the Premier Division of the Hellenic League.
Those who took charge of the team appear keen to carry on next season, but the final decision will rest with the club, particularly chairman Roland Ford. "Since Roddy officially resigned, we have had few inquiries about the vacancy," said Ford. "We plan to start interviewing next week, so it shouldn't be too long before we have a new manager in place."
Ford returned from holiday to see his side finish the season with a 5-1 home win over relegated Pegasus last Saturday. Ray Spence, whose introduction to the side helped spark the late revival in fortunes, scored two of the goals during another man-of-the-match performance. It is no secret, however, that Ford will be expecting a much improved 2011-12 season from the team.
What the Scours Lane club desperately need is to secure more sponsorship which would be used to finance the team. It was a lack of cash which led to their problems starting in the first place. A year ago then manager Colin Millard asked Town for more money which he wanted to strengthen the team. But it wasn't forthcoming, so he promptly left for Thatcham and the whole first-team squad, apart from defender Mike Hancock, followed him out of the door. Millard, who later lost his job at Thatcham, has been spotted at Scours Lane a few times recently, and a third spell at the club cannot be completely ruled out.
Confident! - 29th April
Reading Town are aiming to finish a disappointing season on a high on Saturday and it will be a major surprise if they fail to do so.
Town take on Pegasus Juniors in the final Hellenic League fixture of the season at Scours Lane (3pm kick-off), a week after beating them 4-0 in Hereford. Pegasus are rock-bottom of the Premier Division after winning only three of their 41 games and they all came at home in September and October. The team that beat them last weekend was the weakest fielded by Reading this season. They had no substitutes and forward Omari Edwards-Holmes had to play in goal as regular keeper Graham Sims was not available. Yet, all that said, Town will not be taking them lightly tomorrow. Assistant acting manager Roy Hanley said: "We scored early on, but then they (Pegasus) had a good 20 minutes and gave us something to think about. "This is their last game in the league and I am sure they will be trying their best to end it with a win. But then so will we. "The season hasn't gone nearly as well as we had hoped for and it would be nice to end it with a good performance. We owe it to our supporters."
Town were themselves in some relegation trouble until last week when they chalked up three wins in five days – 5-2 at home to Carterton (who were relegated), 1-0 against Thame and then 4-0 at Pegasus. Four of those 10 goals were scored by Ray Spence and he also had a hand in at least three others. On his day the gifted forward is one of the most talented players in local football and his amazing run which set up the winner for Marcus Richardson against Thame was probably the best move seen at Scours Lane this season. But it all went horribly wrong at Binfield on Monday.
Spence, perhaps rather unluckily, was sent off for two yellow cards late in the first half and Town went on to lose 2-0. Yet, despite having 10 men, they still attacked incessantly and caused Premier Division runners-up Binfield plenty of problems. They were missing both Richardson, who is suspended for a sending off offence in Sunday football, and leading scorer Danny Seaward. Richardson remains banned, but Seaward is set to return as he looks to add to his 25-goal tally for the season.
Lack Of Consistency Costing - 15th April
Town held their own for 80 minutes at Highworth on Tuesday, the only trouble was, they were three goals down at the time. Their makeshift defence, with centre-backs Mike Hancock and Danny Lingwood both missing through injur, conceded three goals inside the opening 10 minutes of this Hellenic League game.
"It was the same old story," said acting-manager Lawrence Kingsbury. "We shot ourselves in the foot with some poor defending. We then sorted things out and played well after that, but it was an impossible task coming back from three goals down against one of the top six sides in the league. But we certainly had enough chances, hitting the crossbar and having one-on-ones with the keeper, but yet again we couldn't score. It was very frustrating. Even the Highworth manager admitted after the game we could easily have got something out of it."
But Kingsbury said the team's problems occur because he finds it virtually impossible to play the same team in two successive games. The lack of consistency in the team is badly costing us," he added. "Players drop out through injury or unavailability and it makes it difficult to prepare for a match."
Shayne Small-King and Ray Spence were both given a rare league outing on Tuesday. Spence is one of the most talented players in local park football and, with Premier Division champions South Reading having completed their Reading League fixtures, Town are hoping he will be available for their remaining games. For the second week running, Town are without a Saturday game, but at least it gives their injured players more time to recover for the team's hectic Easter schedule. They have two home games next week, hosting Carterton on Tuesday and Thame on Thursday (both 7.45pm kick-offs), followed by the trip to Hereford to play Pegasus Juniors on the Saturday. Then on Easter Monday, Town make the short journey to Binfield. Town have dropped into the bottom six of the Premier Division and, with four teams to go down, they are not entirely safe from relegation.
"I think one more win will see us safe and we will be looking to win both our home games next week," added Kingsbury.
Surprise In Store - 1st April
Reading Town's stand-in manager Lawrence Kingsbury believes his side can surprise Hellenic League leaders Ardley United on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
Ardley won 4-0 at Scours Lane in January, but the scoreline did not reflect Town's performance. "It was certainly not a 4-0 game," said Kingsbury. "We gave them plenty to think about and created a lot of chances, while conceding soft goals. Since then there has been a big all-round improvement and Ardley will see a different side this weekend. We have got to go there and impose ourselves on them. With a bit of luck, I feel we have every chance of going there and getting a result."
The return of centre-back Danny Lingwood and the signing of experienced goalkeeper Graham Sims has certainly bolstered the defence. Lingwood was returning from a four-month holiday, but as Kingsbury said: "It looked as if he had never been away. He was excellent, as was the rest of the defence." Michael Hancock, who formed a solid partnership with Lingwood early in the season, is set to return to the squad, having missed last Saturday's 2-1 home win over Wootton Bassett Town. Youth team players Jordan Cousineau, who scored the opener against Bassett, and Ben Spence look set to retain their places.
New Faces At Town - 4th March
Shaun Dyke (pictured), who helped Winchester City win the FA Vase in 2004, has joined Reading Town, and Matt Bicknell, who played in the same team, is expected to follow him to Scours Lane.
Tranell Richardson, also signed from Henley earlier this week. Brother of striker Marcus, he made his debut in Town's 5-4 defeat by title-chasing Wantage at Scours Lane on Tuesday. Reading came from 3-0 down to level at 3-3 and again at 4-4 before conceding a fifth goal.
Shane Maskell, who was on the bench against Wantage, has also signed, while fellow Reading Sunday League player Deon Denny is expected to follow.
"We badly need strengthening," said stand-in manager Lawrence Kingsbury. "We need more experienced players and the likes of Dyke and Bicknell fit the bill."
Dyke is in red-hot form having scored four goals for Westwood United when they recently beat Frilsham and Yattendon 5-0 in the Reading League. Left-back Bicknell's previous clubs include Didcot and Hungerford. Reading's urgency in bringing in new faces follows a disastrous run which has seen them win only one of their last 13 league games. And their failings were again exposed in their nine-goal thriller against a Wantage side who are favourites to be promoted. Town gave away sloppy goals while missing numerous chances themselves. They certainly had enough of the play to have secured a deserved point and Kingsbury, filling in while Roddy Slater takes a break from the game, was pleased with the character shown by his team. "There is a good spirit among them," he said. "They all want to play for each other and they can't be accused of lacking in effort."
He will be hoping for better luck on tomorrow when Oxford City Nomads are the visitors to Scours Lane. Town then entertain local rivals Bracknell next Tuesday (7.45pm). "Our next three games are all at home and gives us a chance to pick up points and end our slump," added Kingsbury. "Hopefully we will have most of our new signings available, in addition to having players back from injury."
Slater Takes A Break - 25th February
Reading Town coach Lawrence Kingsbury will take charge of the team at Shrivenham on Saturday as manager Roddy Slater is taking a short break from the game.
He will need to make at least two changes from the side beaten 4-2 at home by Shortwood United last Saturday.
Centre-back Mike Hancock and left-back Matt David are both suspended following their red cards against Highworth three weeks ago.
"The reason Roddy is taking a break is not football related," said club chairman Roland Ford."He will be welcomed back when he feels right, but he has been under a lot of pressure recently as results haven't been going his way. In his absence, Lawrence will look after the team with the assistance of players Mark Bartley and Marcus Richardson."
Town have managed only won league win in their last 13 games, sending them sliding down the table. Lawrence will miss the experience of Hancock at the back, but he is hoping that Alex Salmon will return from injury. Defender Demitrius Lawrence, who missed the Shortwood game, could also be fit to resume. Town have so few established full-backs on their books that skipper Bartley has been forced to switch from his midfield role in recent weeks and young David is more of a wide front runner than a left-back.
While Hancock is out of three matches, David received a one-game ban for his two yellow cards against Highworth.
But David is facing a further suspension as he was sent off again for two yellow cards in the 2-1 defeat at Abingdon Town last week.
Physio Runs For Charity - 25th February
Reading Town physiotherapist Lorna Collins is running in the Reading Half Marathon later in March. And she is looking for plenty of support from club members, players and officials.
Lorna has entered along with friend Sarah Wilkins. Both are also physios with the Reading FC Academy. They are running for charity and both are considering wearing fancy dress. But, while they intend going to the start line together, they are unlikely to finish anywhere near each other. As Lorna explains: "Sarah is a serious runner and is aiming to do the marathon in around 1.25. I am looking to do around 2.10."
Both women are looking to raise money for the Swings and Smiles charity as well as for the Alzheimer's Society – "in memory of my grandad," said Lorna
Those wishing to support the pair can donate on line. For the Alzheimer's Society it is www.justgiving.com/Lorna-Collins0
For Swings and Smiles it is www.justgiving.com/Lorna-Collins-Sarah-Wilkins
Bartley Ban Affects Reading -28th January
Reading Town will be without influential skipper Mark Bartley as they desperately look to end a long run of disappointing results.
The midfielder (pictured) this week started a three-match ban after his red card against Flackwell Heath earlier this month. The first game he misses will be the Bluefin Insurance Brokers Cup 3rd round tie at Slimbridge on Saturday (3pm kick-off). But, more importantly, Bartley is also out of the Hellenic League derby with Wokingham and Emmbrook at Larges Lane, Bracknell, next Tuesday (7.45pm kick-off).
Town have been sliding down the Premier Division after picking up only one point from their last seven games. And that was at Larges Lane two weeks ago when they shared four goals with Bracknell.
Their poor run started with a 2-1 home defeat by Slimbridge in November when the visitors grabbed an undeserved last-minute winner. The two teams met again two weeks later at Wisloe Road and again Town suffered heartbreak, going down to another late goal.
In both games Town produced a good performance against the high-riding Gloucestershire side. "We were desperately unlucky not to have drawn both games," said manager Roddy Slater.
His side were out of luck again last Saturday, losing 4-0 at home to Ardley, missing numerous scoring chances, while gifting the league leader's two goals. After the game, Slater said: "That was our best performance since Slimbridge. We created at least seven first-half opportunties, but missed the lot. "We need to be a lot more clinical with our finishing and stop gifting goals to the opposition." Town also conceded two more goals in the last 10 minutes, due to the 'defence switching off' said Slater. Alex Salmon and Ashley Watkins both missed last Saturday's game due to injury and could return. Forward Luke Farrugia was also absent due to a bug and he too should be back for Saturday. Tuesday's opponents Wokingham and Emmbrook have made a seven-day approach for Town forward Sam Whiting, who only recently joined the Scours Lane club.
Better Defence Needed To Contain Leaders - 21st January
Reading Town will need to defend a great deal better on Saturday if they are to contain Hellenic League leaders Ardley United at Scours Lane.
Having twice thrown away the lead in last Saturday's 2-2 draw at Bracknell, Town's defensive frailties were again exposed when they lost 2-0 at home to Flackwell Heath in the Berks and Bucks Senior Trophy on Tuesday night. The fact that last season's beaten finalists were able to keep it down to just two goals in the quarter-final tie was down to the brilliance of keeper Chris Rackley, stout work by central defenders Mike Hancock and Alex Salmon, plus poor finishing by the Heathens. But overall, Town were guilty of leaving too many gaps at the back, particularly down the flanks, and giving the ball away far too many times. Manager Roddy Slater will need to work hard with his players in a bid to devise a way of trying to stop free-scoring Ardley. His side did move the ball around well at times, but let it all slip at the business end. Apart from the last 20 minutes, Town offered little in attack and they were on the back foot for much of the game. Town could take very few positives out of this game, which was disappointing as there had been signs of improvement when losing to a deflected goal at Kidlington last week and then taking a point from Bracknell.
Danny Seaward, who had scored both goals against the Robins, was left on the bench, and Town created very few chances. Flackwell always looked the more threatening, but Rackley, Hancock and Salmon managed to keep them at bay in the first half, while several shots flashed past their post. The fact they hadn't conceded a goal must have given Slater something to work on at half-time. But the visitors broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute. Not all the defence moved up and two Flackwell forwards were left onside as the ball was played through the middle, leaving Ben Sturgess with plenty of time to beat the advancing Rackley. When Rackley was beaten again, Salmon rescued Town with a goal-line clearance. Seaward had by now come off the bench and he did start to cause the Flackwell rearguard a few problems. His best effort, a rasping drive, was tipped over the bar by keeper Sam Southerden in the 76th minute. Within two minutes of that, however, Town's interest in the competition was sealed when substitute Jamie West broke down the right and lashed the ball past Rackley. Town have now gone seven league and cup games without a win and they will do well to end that run tomorrow.
Ardley have won 17 of their 24 league games, and top the table by six points, although they have played more games than many of their sides below them. Their goal tally of 64 is the third highest in the division. In contrast, Reading have managed only 34 goals from 21 games.
Roland Collects Clubman 2010 Award- 14th January
Reading Town chairman Roland Ford won the Clubman 2010 award at the Reading Sports Awards.
The large audience at the Hilton Hotel in Reading were told: "This award goes to a man truly deserving of the title of clubman. "Who could be more of a clubman than Roland Ford, who formed a club and then spent the next 44 years building it up? This man formed Reading Town Football Club in 1966 and since then he has served as manager, secretary and chairman. The club is now an FA Charter Standard club with a development status, which recognises the efforts of the club within the community. This is well deserved as Reading Town runs a ladies team as well as youth and boys teams in addition to the men's first XI."
Town secretary Richard Grey added: "He is the mainstay of the club, and his drive and enthusiasm is as strong today as it was in 1966. He is 'Mr Reading Town' and without his efforts the club would never have attained the status it enjoys today. Forty-four years with one club and still going strong – he deserves recognition by the people of Reading."
Roland was presented with his trophy by former Reading FC player and Welsh international Ady Williams.
Seaward Return - 7th January
Danny Seaward looks set to return to the Reading Town team for their Hellenic League match at Kidlington tomorrow. The powerful striker has been missing for several weeks due to injury and unavailability. Town have badly missed him, as they possess the worst scoring record among the top 15 teams in the Premier Division as they have managed only 31 goals in 18 games.
Seaward (pictured) is the team's joint leading scorer with Luke Farrugia, both with 11 goals. "We have missed Danny," said manager Roddy Slater. "He is a quality player and will be in on Saturday."
Farrugia suffered a hip injury during Monday's 2-0 home defeat by Flackwell Heath and is a doubt for the match. Town's lack of firepower is a concern to Slater. "We were scoring almost for fun some while back, but now we can't buy a goal," said Slater. "In the second half against Flackwell we created chances, but we just didn't put them away. We've got a big problem."
Town will definitely be without midfielder Adam Cashin-Murray, as he has picked up a one-game ban for five yellow cards. Chris Hatton is his likely replacement as the former Woodley man looked lively when coming off the bench in Monday's game. But the midfielder who impressed Slater the most was Pedro De Barros. "He makes a difference," said the Town boss. "He works really hard and if others work as hard as him then we will be a different team." Slater will certainly be looking for an improved display, as he was highly critical of their performance against Flackwell. He described it as 'totally unacceptable' and apologised to the few fans who turned up at Scours Lane. "It was embarrassing. I will do my best to make sure it won't happen again." Kidlington will be seeking a double, having won 4-2 at Scours Lane early in the season.
Hancock Winning - 10th December
Michael Hancock is winning his fitness battle to play in Reading Town's FA Vase third-round tie away to Bristol side Cadbury Heath on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
The experienced defender (pictured) is one of several players on the Scours Lane club's injury list. But manager Roddy Slater said: "Of all those receiving treatment, Hanks appears to be the most advanced and all being well he will be available for tomorrow, which is a big relief as we are a bit light at the moment." Slater, however, still has problems in defence as Danny Lingwood, who has been a tower of strength this season, has now gone to Australia for a holiday and Darren Russell is injured. He may have to switch Alex Salmon from right-back to the heart of the defence with Demitrius Lawrence and Ashley Watkins filling the full-back roles. Up front, Marcus Richardson is extremely doubtful due to injury. Striker Luke Farrugia and midfielder Pedro De Barros are both suspended, while recent signing Sam Whiting is cup-tied.
Before training last night Slater said: "I am just hoping that one or two players will turn up to say they're fit. That would be nice, but to be honest I am not holding out too much hope."
With the tie called off last Saturday due to a frozen pitch, the Town boss has had more time to gather information on Cadbury Heath. And he said: "I think this is going to be our toughest match of the season so far, tougher than any we have played in our league. "From what I have been told, they are a very good side and we will need to be at our very best to beat them. "When we beat Warlingham in the last round I said afterwards that we wanted it more on the day than they did. We have got to show the same attitude tomorrow.
"It is just a pity we are unable to face them with a full-strength side, but I know the boys who are involved will give it everything they can." Town will be up against a side lying fifth in the Toolstation League Division 1. They have won nine and drawn one of their last 11 league and cup games, with their FA Vase victims including Ardley United, the Hellenic League leaders, 12 places higher than Town. Heath's record in November earned manager Andy Black the manager-of-the-month award.
The winners tomorrow have a tremendous incentive as in the fourth round on January 22 they will be at home to either Spennymoor Town or Scarborough Athletic. Spennymoor are the 4-1 joint favourites with St Neots Town to win the Vase. They currently sit second in the Northern League, eight points behind leaders Consett with three games in hand .
Scarborough, 25-1 to lift the Vase, are 13th in the North East Counties Premier League. Reading Town return to Hellenic League action next Tuesday evening with a trip to Thame
Big Incentive For Reading - 9th December
Reading Town have been given an extra incentive to win their delayed FA Vase tie at Cadbury Heath on Saturday as the winners of the game in Bristol will be home in the 4th round to attractive opposition from the North – either Scarborough Athletic or Spennymoor.
Athletic were formed following the demise of former Football League club Scarborough in 2007. They are currently 13th in the Northern Counties East League, having played fewer matches than every side above them. Scarborough, who ground-share with Bridlington Town in East Yorkshire, recently signed 41-year-old Dean Windass, the former Hull City, Bradford City and Middlesbrough striker. The son-in-law of manager Brian France, Windass is not expected to play too many games, however, due to his commitments as a reporter for Sky Sports. Scarborough have already played six FA Vase ties, including replays with Bridlington and Armthorpe Welfare in the last two rounds. The two derbies with Bridlington attracted crowds in excess of 700.
Spennymoor are the reigning Northern League champions. They are currrently second in the table, eight points adrift of leaders Consett.
Former leading scorer Adam Johnston recently rejoined the club from Whitley Bay, having helped them win the FA Vase in each of the last two seasons. He scored in the 2010 final at Wembley. Scarborough and Spennymoor are due to play their delayed tie on Saturday, the same time as Reading go to Cadbury Heath. Town have now had their last three matches called off, giving them valuable time to treat their long list of injured players. But, with others suspended, cup-tied and unavailable, manager Roddy Slater will still be forced to field a weakened side against their Toolstation League opponents.
Town have been given a boost by having a new supporter, Kyocera Mita. The Beacontree Plaza-based printer and copier manufacturer, who were once major sponsors of Reading FC, are giving a donation to the Hellenic League outfit covering two years. This will fund the club's minibus which takes players to away games. Kyocera Mita is also donating an FS-2020DN laser printer which will assist the club's office staff with administrative tasks.
Town chairman Roland Ford said: "We are delighted that Kyocera Mita is stepping forward to support us with this donation. Our teams are doing well, but as in every sporting field, success comes at a price, and we've been urgently needing to raise funds since losing a sponsor. "The team will now be able to travel to fixtures together in relative comfort which will deliver benefits on and off the field." Company managing director Jun Okumura said: "Kyocera Mita is pleased to be able to offer support to Reading Town. "The club puts a lot back into the local community and this demonstrates a similar ethos to Kyocera Mita's own commitment to the Reading area. We wish the club every success for the season."
Lack of funds has been holding Reading Town back in their bid to climb the non-league ladder. Ford believes that a town the size of Reading deserves a senior non-league team, offering fans the chance to see top quality games outside the Football League. With this in mind, he is still seeking further sponsorship.
Organisations wishing to support the club should contact Roland on 0118 945 3555. The new Kyocera mini-bus will be used for the first time on Saturday when Town travel to Bristol to play Cadbury Heath in the third round of the FA Vase.
Third Time Wouldn't Disappoint - 3rd December
Reading Town have had their last two matches postponed due to the icy weather and manager Roddy Slater won't be disappointed if there is a third.
Town are due to visit Bristol club Cadbury Heath in the third round of the FA Vase on Saturday (3pm kick-off). But last night Slater was struggling to name a full squad as he has been badly hit by injury, suspensions and unavailability. Among those considered 'extremely doubtful' are centre-backs Michael Hancock and Darren Russell, while another, Danny Lingwood, left for a holiday in Australia this week. "It looks as though we will be without the heart of our defence," said Slater. Town will be up against an in-form Cadbury Heath side which has rattled in 14 goals in winning their last four Toolstation League Division 1 games. Among other Town players struggling for fitness are David Stevens, Marcus Richardson, Mark Bartley and Leon Bird. No wonder Slater says club physio Lorna Collins is having to work overtime these days.
Brett Rann is on the road to recovery and, despite not being 100-per-cent fit, may be included in tomorrow's squad. To add to Slater's woes, forward Luke Farrugia and midfielder Pedro De Barros are both serving suspensions following recent red cards and new signing Sam Whiting is cup tied. The manager added: "I won't be crying if the game is called off tomorrow, but if it goes ahead then I will get a side out there and one that will battle its best for the club. "We will be going there to win it. As I said before, we would all love a good run in the FA Vase. It also brings in some much-needed revenue for the club." All the third-round winners will be rewarded with £1,100 from the FA prize fund. If the tie is off tomorrow, then an another attempt to play it could be next Tuesday. Town were scheduled to visit Witney in the Hellenic League on this night, but the fixture has been put off due to United being involved in a re-arranged Oxfordshire Senior Cup tie against Marston Saints.
Depleted Reading - 26th November
Reading Town will be forced to field a depleted side for their Hellenic Premier Division match at Highworth on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
Among many players doubtful are two of their most experienced players, central defender Michael Hancock and striker Marcus Richardson. Both are injured, while midfielders Mark Bartley and Pedro De Barros have joined long-term casualty Danny Seaward, their leading scorer, on the sidelines.
To make matters worse for manager Roddy Slater, Darren Russell, Matt David and Jamie Piercy are all unavailable and Luke Farrugia is suspended. Lyle Smith is recovering from illness and faces a late fitness check. "It's all very frustrating, but we have to live with it and I am sure we will still be able to send out a competitive side this weekend," said Slater "Highworth are a team in form. They beat Pegasus Juniors 5-0 away on Tuesday and boast a 100-per-cent record in November".
Slater praised club physio Lorna Collins, saying: "She is working extra hard to get our players fit. She is giving them the best treatment."
Central defender Danny Lingwood, who was outstanding in last Saturday when Town lost at Slimbridge to a last-minute goal, will be making his last appearance before going on holiday to Australia. So he will be missing when Town take on local rivals Wokingham & Emmbrook at Larges Lane, Bracknell, on Tuesday (7.45pm kick-off)
Hungry Town - 19th November
Reading Town will be hungry for revenge when they visit Slimbridge in the Hellenic League on Saturday(3pm kick-off).
Two weeks ago they lost 2-1 to the Gloucestershire side at Scours Lane, conceding the winning goal in stoppage time.
"We were gutted about that as we deserved at least a draw," said Town manager Roddy Slater. "We had plenty of chances to have sewn the game up before they scored their second goal. It left us all disappointed and we are very keen to get our revenge tomorrow. But if we are to get a good result, then we will need to play better than we did last Saturday."
Town made hard work of defeating Warlingham 1-0 in the FA Vase to earn a third-round tie away to Bristol side Cadbury Heath on December 4. They missed chance after chance and, as Slater said: "That's been the story of our season."
Their winning goal came from Luke Farrugia, but he will be an absentee at Slimbridge as he starts a two-match suspension following his sending off against Oxford City Nomads last month.
The Town boss has still to confirm who will take Farrugia's place up front, but he could well stick with Ashley Watkins, who came off the bench to set up Farrugia's goal with a stunning run down the left flank. "We will miss him as he has been great for us," added Slater. "But hopefully we will bring in people who can make a difference as well."
Striker Marcus Richardson went off with a slight injury last Saturday, but is expected to be fit and skipper Mark Bartley could return Goalkeeper Chris Rackley could return after serving a one-match ban last Saturday. His replacement, Kane Roberts, did nothing wrong, but he was hardly tested by Combined Counties League Division 1 side Warlingham.
No Mugs - 12th November
Reading Town manager Roddy Slater has described Saturday's FA Vase second round opponents Warlingham as 'no mugs.'
The Surrey side are lying sixth in Division 1 of the Combined Counties League, eight points behind leaders Bedfont having played four fewer games.
"They are a good side and will be up for it," said Slater. "We will need to be at our best to get through. If we switch off and squander chances like we did against Slimbridge last Saturday then we could go out of the competition. But hopefully that won't happen. All the boys are looking for a good run in the Vase and the longer we stay in then we are making money for the club, which is important."
Warlingham are playing in the Vase for the first time in their 114-year history and have already got through two rounds.
It is a big day out for the club and they are putting on two 50-seat coaches for players, officials and supporters. Whilst Warlingham were beating Staines Lammas 4-0 at their Whyteleafe base last Saturday, Town were losing 2-1 at home to high-flying Slimbridge, with the winning goal coming in stoppage time.
"We need to bounce back quickly," said Slater. "We paid the price for slack play in the last 10 minutes and we must make sure that doesn't happen again."
Slater will make changes for tomorrow's tie at Scours Lane (3pm kick-off). Keeper Chris Rackley is suspended following his red card in the Hellenic League Cup tie at Woodley. Slater had hoped to give a debut to keeper Shaun Allaway, but it appears the former Reading and Leeds youngster now intends to stay with Staines. "I hope Kane (Roberts) will do the job for us," added the Town boss."Roberts played well for Town when he made a few appearances in September."
Skipper Mark Bartley has been sidelined recently through a leg injury, but could return to the side. Chris Hatton filled in for Bartley at Oxford City Nomads, while last Saturday the role went to the Pedro De Barros.
Big Month - 5th November
Reading Town manager Roddy Slater is preparing for what he describes as a 'very big' month for the club, starting with Hellenic League Premier Division high-fliers Slimbridge at Scours Lane tomorrow (3pm kick-off).
In the next three weeks Town play Slimbridge home and away in addition to facing Warlingham at home in the second round of the FA Vase." commented Slater "We've then got Wokingham away, so it is a very tough month for us. We will certainly need to have our wits about us."
Slater (pictured) is looking for Town to establish themselves in the top six, but if that is to be achieved he knows his side will need to up their game. Town bounced back from their shock 3-2 defeat away to Oxford City Nomads last week by defeating Ascot United 3-2 at home on Saturday thanks to a late winner from Marcus Richardson.
Town let a two-goal lead slip and Slater said: "We have got to cut out mistakes. "We were sloppy against Ascot and let them back in the game. Mistakes are the difference between winning and losing games and, as we saw at Oxford, they are costing us. I feel things are starting to come together for us, but, as I said, we must cut out making mistakes. If they happen again tomorrow then we are going to get punished as Slimbridge are a good side."
The Gloucestershire side won all their five matches last month to leapfrog to the top of the table. But on Wednesday they lost 2-1 to Ardley, putting United back on top.
Slater will again be looking to Richardson (left) to inspire his side. The big striker was made captain for the Ascot game and scored twice. "He was phenomenal," said Slater after seeing him snatch an 88th-minute winner.
Town's boss thought Richardson had done well to place his shot over Ascot's stand-in keeper Stuart Hallt, but the striker admitted: "I intended it to be a cross, so I was well pleased to see it go in." Richardson then took his season's tally to seven when he raced onto a pass from Adam Cashin-Murray, held off a defender and slotted home. "When Cash rolled it in, I always though a goal was on," said the experienced former Football League striker. I was really pleased to score twice. That's what I am out there for and hopefully I can keep on scoring."
As for his team's performance, Richardson added: "I was really proud of them. The youngsters are doing great. They are learning the game very well. We had a little blip at Oxford, but we are going to have games like that at times, but I was proud of the way they bounced back against Ascot. Hopefully we can continue to get results and move up the league."
Skipper Mark Bartley, who has missed two games with injury, is hoping to be fit to face Slimbridge. Defender Mike Hancock came off at half-time against Ascot with a slight hamstring injury, but he too is hoping to play on Saturday.
Former England Hopeful Signs For Reading - 28th October
Keeper Shaun Allaway, 27, has signed for Reading Town. The one-time £2m England hopeful has not played since damaging knee ligaments when playing for Staines at Hornchurch in December 2007.
But the former Reading youngster and Leeds United player is now close to making his long-awaited comeback "It will probably be two weeks before he plays," said Town manager Roddy Slater. "He is a great signing. When a player of his calibre wants to come for you, it reflects well on our club and the ambitious hopes we have."
Allaway, who played for England at all levels from under-15 to under-20, was at Leeds for five years and sat on the bench for them in the Premiership. He also had spells at Walsall, Grimsby and QPR. Allaway, who lives and works in the Reading area, later joined Slough Town and then Staines.
He has been training with Blue Square Bet Conference (South) Staines, working hard to regain full fitness. Staines have two other keepers on their books and Alllaway knew it wouldn't be easy getting his first-team place back at Wheatsheaf Park. He has been down to watch Reading Town play in recent weeks and is looking forward to making his debut.
Chris Rackley, 18, is currently Slater's first choice and on several occasions has been one of their best players. He twice lost his place, first to Stuart Gosby and then Kane Roberts, only to regain his place. But Slater has been looking for a keeper of more experience and Allaway certainly fits the bill.
Rackley also faces a one-match ban shortly after being sent off for handling outside his area in Town's 6-3 win at Woodley in the Bluefin Insurance Brokers Challenge Cup last Saturday.
Respect - 22nd October
Reading Town will be treating Woodley with the utmost respect when the local rivals meet in the second round of the Hellenic League's Bluefin Insurance Cup at East Park Farm, Charvil, on Saturday (2.30pm kick-off).
Premier Division Town are favourites to beat their Division 1 East opponents, but manager Roddy Slater said: "We will be treating them with respect. We are expecting a hard game." Slater has still to name his team, but said: "I may make one or two changes."
Leading scorer Danny Seaward and Brett Rann both missed last Saturday's excellent 3-0 win at Wootton Bassett, while central defender Mike Hancock suffered a knock during the game. Chris Hatton was again on the sub's bench, but could be in Slater's starting line-up against his former club.
Reading: Brianna Boyce, Alfie Deacon-Turner, Harley Deacon-Turner, Jack Fulton, Jamie Kerhardy, George Marshall, Harry Morgan, Tranae Romeo, Usman Sajjad, Louis Schofield, Tyler Stace, Matthew Witts and Courtney Wright.
Defender Returns - 3rd September
Danny Lingwood looks set to return to Reading Town’s defence for their Uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division match against Witney Town at Scours Lane tomorrow. Lingwood (pictured) has missed the last three games due to suspension, and in his absence Town conceded four goals in each of them.
Mike Hancock, one of only three Town players to remain from last season, could also make his first appearance of the season. The experienced centre-back suffered an elbow injury in a pre-season friendly at Newbury. Defender Chris Hatton, who missed the Ascot game due to work commitments, returns to the squad and utility player Ryan Kingsbeer, who has recovered from injury, could make his debut. David Stevens is not available for this game.
Manager Roddy Slater is also looking to make one or two new signings and has put in a seven-day approach for an un-named player. He was not planning to finalise his team until after training on Thursday night. “If players don’t train, they won’t play,” said Slater. Town’s boss, who described Monday’s 4-1 defeat at Ascot as embarrassing, will be hoping his strikers rediscover their early-season form when Town won their opening three games. They created chance after chance when losing to Kidlington, Newport and Ascot in less than a week, but their finishing was woeful.“We created more chances at Ascot than they did. But they took them and we didn’t,” said Slater. Reading are home again next Tuesday (7.45pm kick-off) when they entertain Didcot in the first round of the Hellenic League’s AM Print & Copy Floodlight Cup. Town will open their defence of the Southern Combination Cup with a trip to Combined Counties League side Westfield on Tuesday September 28. The winners will be at home to either Leatherhead or Chessington and Hook.
Town are one of many clubs participating in Non-League Day this weekend. Due to England’s European Championship qualifier against Bulgaria on Friday, there are no Premier League or Championship fixtures on Saturday. With this in mind a campaign has been launched to try and persuade the supporters of professional clubs to visit their local non-league clubs with the first Non-League Day. As an extra incentive, fans will be admitted to non-league fixtures at a discounted price, providing they show their season-ticket for a Premier or Championship club, or a ticket stub from a match this season.
That won’t apply at Scours Lane, where Reading Town host Witney United in the Hellenic League, but, instead, fans will be given a voucher for a free drink at the bar. “We thought that would make it easier to handle for our turnstile operators,” said secretary Roland Ford. “A drink is virtually half the admission price, so fans are not losing out.”
Changes Possible - 27th August
Roddy Slater is likely to make one or two changes for Reading Towns' FA Cup tie tomorrow.
Defender Ashley Watkins, who suffered neck and back injuries in the 2-1 win at Warminster in the last round, is hoping to be fit and there could also be a place in the squad for giant centre back Mike Hancock, who injured his elbow in a pre-season friendly at Newbury
Striker Andy Gray is not available for tomorrow’s game. Town will be up against two of their former players, Chris Grace and Ian Brooks, when they visit Ascot at The Racecourse ground on Monday afternoon
Slater is hoping his side will learn some quick lessons following their first defeat of the season – 4-2 to Kidlington– at Scours Lane on Tuesday. “I saw this game as our first big test and we failed it,” he said. “We showed naivety and that was disappointing. At times we did play some good football and were rewarded with two goals, But we made mistakes. I hope we will learn quickly from them and won’t make the same again. I will be looking for a good reaction from the boys tomorrow.”
A major concern to Slater was how easily Town conceded goals to Kidlington, with all four coming from headers.
“We spoke about that after the game and that is an area where we need to improve,” he said.
Town missed suspended central defender Danny Lingwood and will still be without him when they take on Isle of Wight side Newport in the preliminary round of the FA Cup at Newbury FC’s Faraday Road ground tomorrow (ko 3pm).
This could prove another tough game, as Newport beat Kidlington in the last round. The Oxon side forced three early corners and it was from the third that led to Danny Mason opening their account in the ninth minute on Tuesday.
Looking To Maintain Start - 21st August
Reading Town will be looking to maintain their promising start to the season when they meet Fairford in the Hellenic League Premier Division at Scours Lane today.
League victories over Shrivenham and Old Woodstock, along with a win at Warminster in the FA Cup, have pleased manager Roddy Slater, but he knows a lot of hard work still needs to be done with his new-look team.
Slater will not confirm his side until shortly before the kick-off, but he is likely to keep the team that started Wednesday’s 5-3 win at Old Woodstock. Left-back Ashley Watkins could come into the reckoning after missing the game due to the neck injury he suffered in the 2-1 win at Warminster last Saturday, but Hayden Best deputised well for him in midweek.
Leon Bird is doubtful as he tweaked his hamstring shortly after coming off the bench on Wednesday. Striker Andy Gray wasn’t available at Woodstock and could be back in the squad. Teenage goalkeeper Chris Rackley is set to retain his place, having replaced the unavailable Stuart Gosby at Warminster.
Gosby, who joined from Henley, is already considering his future at Scours Lane. “I think he is looking to leave,” said manager Roddy Slater. “Chris played well last Saturday and I felt I couldn’t drop him on Wednesday.”
Town have another home game next Tuesday (7.45pm) when they take on Kidlington. Then a week tomorrow, Town will meet Newport IOW in the preliminary round of the FA Cup at Newbury Town’s ground. Scours Lane is unavailable as it is being used as the base for the Reading Festival security staff.
Relishing Challenge -30th July
Reading Town manager Roddy Slater is looking forward to the challenge posed by Zamaretto League side Hungerford Town when they visit Scours Lane tonight.
It will be Town’s first home match of the pre-season and will give fans their first glimpse of the new-look squad following Colin Millard’s departure during the summer. Slater will use the fixture to test out his players and whittle down his squad before the season begins on August 10.
Slater said: “In one respect it’s just another pre-season game but in another respect it’s a good opportunity. It will be a nice test to see where we are and where we want to get to because we want to be playing where Hungerford are. It will show us what standard we need to get to.”
He added: “I’m looking forward to it. Local fans will get to see us first hand. It will be interesting to see how we get on.”
Hungerford play in Zamaretto Division One South & West and have installed the new management team of Bobby Wilkinson and former Reading FC player Michael Gilkes. Like Town they have completely overhauled last season’s squad and brought in several new faces. However, the managers are no strangers to each other with both men coming up against each other during their Hellenic Division One East careers. Slater faced Wilkinson when he managed Henley Town and Wilkinson was at Kintbury Rangers and Milton United.
Slater said: “He’s got a very good squad. Hungerford are doing really well. Gilkes is a great coach and they’ve got a great team there."
Slater declared it the “business end” of pre-season and hopes the lads will “knuckle down” with just a couple of weeks till the season starts. He said: “The first couple of pre-season matches is about seeing if they could play and also identifying who would sign and who wouldn’t. Everybody involved from now on will be signed on. We’re down to the business end now. We’ll be getting into August after this and that’s when the season starts so we’ve got to knuckle down.”
Hartley Wintney are the next visitors to Scours Lane on Tuesday (ko 7.45pm) before Town head to Newbury next Thursday (ko 7.30pm).
Experienced Richardson Joins Reading - 23rd July
Marcus Richardson has won league titles with Farnborough and Windsor & Eton in the last three seasons. Now he’s hoping to bring success to new club Reading Town. The 32-year-old powerhouse striker, who has considerable Football League experience, is one of many signings made by manager Roddy Slater as he looks to build a brand new team at Scours Lane.
Richardson (pictured) will also be part of Slater’s management team. “I’ve got no real coaching qualifications, but I have a lot of experience which could prove useful to the younger players,” said Richardson. “I am very pleased to be joining Reading Town and working with Roddy. We have a lot of good youngsters and I believe we will be in for a good season. Our aim is to play good football and I think we will be an entertaining team. I hope more people will come and watch us.”
Reading born Richardson went to school at Waingels Copse in Woodley and started playing for Woodley Saints and then Central Colts. He went on to play for a host of league clubs, including Torquay United, Lincoln City, Rochdale, Yeovil, Chester and Macclesfield, and even more non-league sides. “Yes, I have had a lot of clubs, as I was always looking to better myself,” he added. “But I made one or two moves that perhaps I shouldn’t have done. Some lower league clubs gave me better coaching than the bigger ones. Gary Johnson (former Yeovil manager) once told me that if I had received the right coaching at an earlier age, I would have made it to a Championship club. I relied mainly on my power and pace, and I probably learned more towards the end of my league career than I did at the start.”
Richardson, who will be 33 next month, has enjoyed considerable success with Zamaretto League clubs Farnborough and Windsor, helping them to win titles. He is stepping down a few levels to play for Reading Town, but his appetite for the game has certainly not diminished. “We’ve got a whole new team and it is exciting times for the club,” said Richardson.
“Reading Town should be playing at a higher level and we will be doing our best to get out of this (Hellenic) league.”
Since finishing third last season, Town have lost their management team and most players to Thatcham Town. Only Dave Mills, Mike Hancock and Gordon Ritchie have agreed to stay at Scours Lane. Slater has brought many players with him from his previous club Henley, while other signings include former Reading striker Andy Gray.
With Richardson committed to the Reading Fives tournament, Gray led the attack in Town’s opening friendly at Calne last weekend. He was on target from the penalty spot in a 4-3 win over the Western League side. Danny Brownlie, Brett Rann and Ashaine Murray were the other scorers.
Richardson will be in the squad for their next friendly, away to Spartan South Midlands League Division 1 side London Colney tomorrow.
End Of An Era - 4th June
Reading Town held their end of season presentation evening on Thursday at The Island Restaurant in Caversham, which brought a climax to the end of an era.
With Manager Colin Millard and his coaching team of Glenn Goudie and Rob Wytchard leaving for new pastures at Thatcham Town, most of last seasons squad have indicated that they too will be moving on.
The Clubs Awards were made and went to;
Player of the Year - Michael Buck
Players Player of the Year - Chris Grace (who played in every game in all competitions, 63 in total, keeping an incredible 31 clean sheets.)
Club Captain Dave Mills then made a presentation on behalf of the players to Millard, Goudie and Wytchard.