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Centurion Danny on his pressure penalty…

10 September 2016

Williams on his stoppage-time winner from the spot

Friday night’s win against Ipswich marked a century of league appearances for Danny Williams in Reading colours – and what better way to mark it than a 95th-minute penalty to win the game in front of the cameras!

Joey van den Berg was hauled to the ground in a congested penalty area… Garath McCleary, who had taken a spot-kick in stoppage-time in the first half, had been taken off by that point so it was the USA international who grabbed the bull by the horns, kept the calmest head in the house, and smashed in the winner.

“I wasn’t even aware that it was my 100th appearance!” smiled Danny.  “It makes me very happy and proud, but it was more important that I could help the team today.  Someone has to take the penalty and it was me today – and I’m happy that I scored.

“Whoever knows me, they know that I don’t shy away from responsibility because I think that makes you better as a player as well.  I’ve played enough games in my career and I don’t want to shy away from these moments.  We have a young squad and I’m now one of the more experienced players in the squad, so I was sure that I was going to take the penalty.

“Anyone who has watched Ipswich knows that they are a team that is very hard to beat, and they’re strong defensively.  That’s why I’m so happy for the lads.  We knew it wasn’t going to be one of the easiest games and nobody expected it to be a 5-1 like last year!  But these wins give you a massive boost.”

Reading controlled the game in the first period and went into the break ahead, but the Tractor Boys got a foothold in the second period – especially once Brett Pitman had struck in a spot-kick of his own for the visitors.

So the Royals mixed it up a bit and ultimately got their rewards for a tough evening’s graft.

“We became a little bit impatient – it was 1-1 and the game changed after the goals,” Danny explained.  “We tried to go a bit longer to be a bit different, because Ipswich tried to press us a bit earlier in the second half.  We decided to knock some long balls towards Yann [Kermorgant] who is very strong in the air and we can make the runs in behind – but it was a bit frantic in the second half.

“I’ve played in England for just over three years and I know by now that you can’t switch off for one second.  We had a lot of games last year when we conceded in the last minute, and it’s good when it goes the other way.  We knew that we had to fight for 94, 95 minutes… and that’s what the team did well tonight – it’s a compliment to the team.”

The table makes pleasing reading going into the bulk of the weekend’s fixtures – the Royals sit third in the table, albeit with most teams yet to play their sixth game.

But that’s of little interest to Danny at this stage in the season – it’s more about points than positions in the early running.

“I don’t like to look at the table this early in the season, but it is good that we have started brightly,” he continued.  “You can easily get dragged in when you lose points and don’t win games – when you draw, lose, draw and lose again.

“So it’s good that we have won our home games and now we’re starting to win away from home as well.  But for us it’s best to keep focused and keep working hard.”

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