But then, out of nowhere, the game turned on its head. Pogrebnyak (who was giving Cahill and Terry a torrid time) scored a terrific header reminiscent of Chris Sutton's goal (yes he did score one, I didn't dream it!) back in 1999 against Man Utd (where, trivia fans, we ended their 29 game unbeaten run by thrashing them 5 v 0...but I digress...). And, four minutes later, a Cech howler from a Charlie Guthree free kick, and Reading were 1 v 2 up. A score that didn't remotely look like changing until Cahill fired in a speculative (and lucky) long range effort on 69 minutes to draw us level. By this stage RDM had made some very attacking substitutions and we were really going for it, and were either going to win the game, or be on the end of a hiding by throwing caution to the wind.
Then on 81 minutes, a terrific Chelsea move culminated in Cashley laying on a sweet ball that even Torres couldn't miss (yes he was off-side, but let's not get bogged down in the facts!) and we were 3 v 2 up. And then, in extra time, with their keeper up the field for a corner, Torres knicked the ball, passed it to Hazard (that man again) and with the goal at his mercy he PASSED THE BALL TO IVANOVIC so he could score instead. And in that moment, the Chelsea fans collectively fell in love with Hazard, and I found myself yelling at the screen, "That's how football's played, Sturridge. You PASS the damn ball you selfish twat!".*
Make no mistake, we didn't play well enough to win this game 4 v 2. But we did play some really nice, flowing football (albeit intermittently). So I'm taking a lot of positives out of this game.
Top of the table, for the first time since November, 2010. Long may it continue!
*Because not long after Sturridge came on mid-way through the second half, he again refused to pass to a teammate (Mata, who was in a much better position) and instead shot himself (and of course missed). And quite frankly Sturridge is the most selfish player you'll ever see, and I for one can't wait for us to sell him (and I know most Chelsea fans feel the same way about him).
Brian M Logan