Match Report: 2011/2012 Season

6 April 2012: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Le Fondre (84 mins, 90 mins).
Leeds: -
Half Time: 0-0.

Attendance: 22,775

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 READING 41 78 +26
2 Southampton 40 78 +34
3 West Ham 41 75 +25
Reading: A Federici, I Harte, K Gorkss, A Pearce, S Cummings, J McAnuff, M Leigertwood, J Kebe, J Karacan (H Robson-Kanu, 40 (H Mullins, 89)), N Hunt (A Le Fondre, 69), J Roberts.
Subs not used: A McCarthy, S Church.
Leeds: A Lonergan, A Bruce, P Robinson, L Bromby, T Lees, M Brown, D Pugh, Z Thompson, R McCormack (D Webber, 85), R Snodgrass (R Rogers, 85), L Becchio (M Forssell, 87).
Subs not used: C Taylor, B Paynter.
Reading: -
Leeds: Robinson, Pugh, Becchio. Sent Off: Thompson (12 mins).
Ref: Darren Drysdale.
Two late goals by substitute Adam Le Fondre released a torrent of emotions from the home fans. Having seen their team subjected to a disgraceful attempt by United to kick their team off the park and frustrated by blatant time-wasting and feigning of injury to run down the clock, the sense of justice was overwhelmingly satisfying. There was also the sense of relief having seen United come close (undeservedly) to taking the lead near the end having pinned their opponents in their own half for most of the game. Finally the joy of taking three points which meant Reading were, for at least a day, at the top of the Championship for the first time since 2006. Leeds' game plan was clear from the start as they conceded three free kicks in the first three minutes. Brian McDermott can feel proud of the way his players refused to be intimidated by United's clear intention not merely to compete fiercely but to inflict injury on them. Leigertwood, McAnuff and Karacan were clearly targeted, the latter leaving the ground on crutches. How only one Leeds player received a red card is beyond belief. Neil Warnock should be ashamed of himself. It is no wonder he has failed as manager in the Premiership each time he has secured promotion. He clearly he has neither the ability or ambition to build a team beyond a functional unit to scrap in lower divisions. But enough of the dark side of the game. This was another celebration of the work of a manager who is not only successful but is achieving success with dignity, intelligence and integrity. The Royals are worthy of their place at the top if the league for their composure, discipline, professionalism, courage and skill.

It is fair to say the main feature of the first half was the brutal tactics of United to unsettle the Royals; but in between the free kicks, sending off, and lengthy delays for treatment to Reading players, Reading came close to scoring when Gorkks headed powerfully just over the bar and Harte's cross hit the inside of the post. With so many stoppages Reading were never allowed to mount the pressure their numerical and tactical superiority should have provided. Only three minutes were added to the first in spite of treatment to Karacan alone exceeding that amount of time. United had managed to kill the game and there were no goals before the interval.

It was clear the job had been done as far as United were concerned as they restricted themselves to only a couple of ugly challenges in the second half and even went on the offensive. With Snodgrass, Becchio and McCormack up front they possessed a real attacking threat. Midway through the half Kebe stumbled and lost possession on the edge of this own box and McCormack picked up the loose ball and hit the outside of the post with a good long range effort with Federici beaten. McCormack then set up Snodgrass with great opportunity but his weak shot was well saved by Federici. Leigertwood, clearly not disturbed by United's attempts to intimidate him, was showing some great touches in midfield. Half chances were beginning to increase for Reading, prompting McDermott to bring on Le Fondre. It was a master stroke. Within minutes he had the ball in the net but the goal was disallowed for offside. In the eighty-third minute Robson-Kanu headed a deep Kebe cross back across goal and Le Fondre was in the right spot to brush the ball over the line with his chest from close range to send the home fans wild with delight and relief. The result was sealed with another poachers touch by Le Fondre when he nudged Robert's shot past Lonergan in the last minute. Royals fans then had the pleasure of watching United chase shadows as their team passed the ball around to eat up the stoppage time. It did cross my mind that it would have been more just not to add the time wasted by the United players at throw-ins particularly in the second half.

I seem to remember in 2009 Reading needed to beat Birmingham in the last game of the season to secure automatic promotion and went down 2-1 at home and then lost in the play-offs. This season I am hoping that by the time that fixture arrives this season Birmingham will have seured a play-offs spot with no chance of automatic promotion, and Reading will already be promoted!
John Wells

Absolutely fantastic showing from the team. Under the constant threat of getting a kicking, with little or no protection they plugged away, dominated and did the business. 9s for everyone except ALF and Roberts who both deserve 10s IMO. I know we won, but I'm absolutely fuming with the ref. Pugh should have been sent off twice! Brown should have gone too, possibly did enough for two or three reds or second yellows. Becchio was lucky to still be on come the final whistle. We should have had two penalties and if ALF was offside it was marginal at best and I think he should have had the hat-trick.
The most shameful refereeing display I've ever seen and the worst display of thuggish cheating I've seen. Including Warnock's other sides. That result is 100% pure distilled justice and I hope Leeds explode and get relegated next season, the cheating tuncs. Good decision from the creator of God to bring on HRK over Mullins and really go for their throat.
ALF is fantastic. And also well done to Feds for a good couple of crucial saves. Thankfully Snodgras fluffed his chance to score and hit it virtually straight at Feds, though he still had to move a little to his right and be strong.
Roberts MotM
Ian Royal

I have to say for 84 odd mins i thought this was going to be one of those days especially when goal was disallowed. Alfie is SOOO good with his positioning and his 2nd goal was a great finish.
For me Roberts had his best game in a royals shirt and was outstanding, did everything you want of your striker and i think him and Alfie worked pretty well. Ref was a complete joke Leeds were lucky not to be down to 8 LOL at warnock saying the red was a 'harsh yellow' at most and that he only got sent off as the players surrounded him!
I think all players felt it today and Tuesday then on to Friday is asking alot in terms of 2 wins but with these boys you never know.
Enjoying being top of the league (for now anyway)

What a fantastic result. I'm not sure I'm comfortable instilling BMcD as the new 'God' with Jason Roberts at the club. He was, and has been, absolutely immense. Even given our good all round performance, he was a class above everyone else on the field, and today even more of a threat running with the ball than Kebe. What a terrific signing he has been. And what a trio Roberts, ALF and Hunt are proving to be! Long, Church and Manset, anyone? Feel for Jem, he epitomises the 'engine room' midfield role, and has had a great season. Pugh's challenge was disgraceful, and that the referee had a completely clear view of it makes the decision to not even award a foul, nevermind a card, utterly unbelievable. Not convinced Thompson's challenged warranted a red. Either of Brown's sickening scissors tackles might have - as the commentators noted, his reputation goes before him, and it's difficult to believe he didn't know what he was doing.
I love ALF!
So excited this even drove me to buying my first tickets of the season, so I'll be in the North Stand for the Forest home game where who knows, we might even secure promotion.
Brilliant, quite brilliant.

Dirty, dirty, filthy Leeds but justice prevailed in the end with a priceless three points for the mighty Royals to go top of the table!! Happy days. The relief when Le Fondre chested home the first goal was like the lid being opened from a pressure cooker, amazing. Neil Warnock ( Colin Wa*ker ) is a disgrace to the game of football and hopefully will one day choke on a Pukka pie because the bloke is a moron, his post match interview defies belief. Looks like Karacan may be out for the rest of the season after a horrendous tackle and the the bald headed twat of a referee should also hold his head in shame because he was an absolute joke as well. Big mention for Jason Roberts who had a tremendous game holding the ball up magnificently and working his socks off.
We didn't play well today but we won, less pressure away from home but two massive games coming up on the south coast, our fate may be known sooner than we think ie next weekend but I think we all know it's going to go down to the wire. Good thing is it's in our hands, five games left, four wins needed, simple. Hold on to your what evers because it's going to be a month to remember, or, one to haunt us for many years.
Nick Newbury

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Reading moved top of the Championship after Adam Le Fondre's late double broke the resistance of 10-man Leeds. In a feisty first half, Leeds had Zac Thompson sent off after 13 minutes for a rash tackle on Jobi McAnuff. The visitors frustrated Reading and went close when Ross McCormack's shot hit the outside of the post and Robert Snodgrass wasted a gilt-edged chance. But Le Fondre chested in Hal Robson-Kanu's nod across goal after 84 minutes and sidefooted in for Reading's win. It was a hard-fought success for Brian McDermott's side against a Leeds team who resisted resolutely for the most part and whose play-off hopes are now all but over. Reading, on the other hand, only enhanced their automatic promotion credentials with a seventh home win on the trot as they inflicted the first away defeat Leeds boss Neil Warnock has suffered since taking over the Elland Road club. Warnock had highlighted the depleted nature of his side because of injuries and suspensions leading up to the game and it did not take long for the visitors to suffer another setback when Thompson was sent off.

Reading had gone close with headers from Noel Hunt and Kaspars Gorkss before Thompson, 19, flew into a tackle on winger McAnuff to get his marching orders. Former Leeds defender Ian Harte showed little sentiment as he went close with a long-range shot before a left-wing cross inadvertently came off the far post. Leeds nearly made their predicament worse but Danny Pugh escaped a red card for a studs-first tackle on Jem Karacan. In a first half of eye-watering tackles rather than eye-catching football, Karacan eventually hobbled off after a Michael Brown challenge proved the final straw for him. With the home side failing to make their numerical advantage count, McCormack fired a shot against the outside of the post before Snodgrass had an even better chance. The Leeds captain had a clear sight of goal only to sidefoot too close to Royals keeper Adam Federici, who parried the shot away. The miss proved crucial as Reading heeded the warning and went up the other end to score when Jimmy Kebe's cross was nodded back across goal by Robson-Kanu and Le Fondre, who had a goal disallowed for offside minutes earlier, was in the right place to provide the finishing touch. Le Fondre slotted in a second when he benefited from good work from Jason Roberts as Reading leapfrogged Southampton, who play their game in hand on the Royals against Portsmouth on Saturday.

BBC Sport

Reading kept their composure to prevail in a foul-tempered clash with Leeds United and climb to the top of the Championship for the first time this season. After 84 minutes of feisty resistance from the visitors, the substitute Adam Le Fondre struck twice to add fuel to the home team's dream of going up to the Premier League as winners of their division. Brian McDermott's men currently stand a point above Southampton, who play Portsmouth on Saturday. Neil Warnock arrived complaining of a "catastrophic" week in which his side suffered so many injuries and suspensions that Leeds had to take on the Championship's most in-form side without six first-team regulars. The visitors' ambition was still intact, however, and with a place in the play-offs still theoretically possible, Warnock deployed a bold 3-5-2 formation as he set out in search of a win. But Reading had other ideas. McDermott's team quickly asserted their supremacy, Noel Hunt heading fractionally over in the second minute. Kaspars Gorkss then did likewise following a corner. By the 12th minute Leeds were struggling to contain not only their hosts but also their own frustration, and Zac Thompson was shown a straight red card for a splenetic lunge at Jobi McAnuff. From that point Leeds' seemed to switch to a stifling strategy. They could have been diminished ever further a few minutes later when Danny Pugh performed an ugly tackle on Jem Karacan. The referee allowed play to continue, and bad blood festered. Between those two fouls, Ian Harte, the former Leeds player who was cheered by the visiting fans as a reminder of the club's past glories, struck an upright with a cross from the left.

Just after the half hour mark, with Reading embedded in the opposing half, McAnuff curled a shot from the left just over. Those were the main fragments of football in a half disfigured by skirmishes, one of which led to Karacan limping off. The complexion barely changed in the second period. Adam Federici was forced into a save by a Robert Snodgrass free-kick in the 47th minute but, as in the first half, most of the attacking play was heading in the other direction. Harte's set pieces were a persistent danger, one free-kick from wide on the left almost finding its way into net in the 52nd minute. Pearce went close from another in the 60th minute, nodding the Irishman's delivery just over. In between those chances Pugh escaped with a yellow for another wild tackle, this time on McAnuff. Leeds almost snatched a goal against the run of play in the 72nd minute when Jimmy Kebe slipped outside his own box, enabling Ross McCormack to crack a 20-yard shot off the post. Two minutes later McCormack created an even better chance, dribbling in-field from the left before slipping the ball through to Snodgrass, who was free 15 yards from goal. The midfielder shot straight at Federici. That set the stage for a frenetic finish. Alex Pearce had a header cleared off the line; Mikele Leigertwood blasted over from 14 yards and then, finally, Reading edged in front. Robson-Kanu did well to nod a Kebe pass back across the face of goal and Le Fondre nudged it into the net from close range. One minute from time Le Fondre struck again, helping a Jason Roberts shot over the line from two yards.

The Guardian