Following on from a 1-0 away win at Upton Park against West Ham, next up at the Madejski, in Reading’s inaugural season in the Premiership, was another London club, Chelsea.
If, however, big spending Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side were expecting an easy game at the Premiership's newest boys, they were in for a bit of a rude awakening. Another capacity crowd at the Madejski settled down at 5.15 to watch the start of the game, what they didn’t know then was that the game would be remembered for two goal mouth incidents, that saw both Chelsea’s goalkeepers stretchered off the field.
Maybe not surprisingly, I can’t really remember much about the football, other than it was a scrappy bad tempered game. Within the first minute of the game things got bad after Stephen Hunt and Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech collided as they both went for the ball. Apparently, Hunts knee had accidentally struck Cech’s head and fractured his skull. Cech was eventually stretchered off and straight to hospital where he later had surgery.
The game continued but tensions were increased by the incident. Chelsea managed to find the back of the net on 43 minutes, but only after Frank Lampard’s shot had ricocheted off several legs before hitting Ivar Ingimarssons shine and in for an own goal.
Things only got worse when Chelsea’s substitute goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini was knocked out by Sonko as he threw himself at the ball. Cudicini was eventually stretchered off after a long time being treated on the pitch. John Terry went in goal.
The game also had two red cards, Bikey and Obi Mikel, both being sent off. In the end Chelsea retained their lead and went home with a 1-0 win.
Petr Cech would end up in hospital with a fractured skull
|Michael Essien warms up before the game|
|John Terry would end up playing in goal|
|Petr Cech about to be stretchered off the pitch|
|Sonko sells Drogba a dummy|
|Undeterred Stephen Hun goes in hard on Michael Essien|
|Kevin Doyle gets his shot away under pressure|
|Leroy Lita battles for the ball|
|Kevin Doyle closely marked|
|The tackles are still flying in....!!!|
|How many defenders does it take to clear the ball....!!!!|
|Steve Sidwell challenges Joe Cole for the ball|
|Tempers flare, look who's in the thick of it again|