Reading FC Match Report: 2014/2015 Season - Championship
READING 2 BRIGHTON 1
Reading: J Mackie (24), J Mackie (56)
Brighton: C O'Grady (53, pen)
Reading ended their recent run of poor results and home with a deserved victory inspired by an outstanding performance from Jamie Mackie. His two goals and phenomenal work rate lifted the crowd and provided the vital spark which has been missing in recent home games. With all three recognised central strikers warming the bench, Mackie provided an excellent example of direct forward play which must surely make him an automatic choice for a central striking role in the immediate future. His two goals were superbly taken, demonstrating his ability to score with either foot. It is worth noting his two recent crucial goals in away games also came from equally assured strikes with his right and left foot.
Steve Clarke was forced to bring in Cooper to replace the heroic and battered Pearce. The young centre back proved a more than adequate replacement, and Chalobah somewhat surprisingly standing at left back also had a very good game. The energy and pace of Mackie and Blackman up front had Brighton’s back four at full stretch. Williams anchored midfield superbly in the first half and Brighton struggled to escape their own half of the field. Robson-Kanu had a sight of goal early in the first half when he broke through on the left but he miscued his shot and it flew high and wide. Mackie opened the scoring picking up a loose ball outside the box and lashed the ball past a startled Stockdale with his right foot. The Brighton ‘keeper left helpless by the power and pace of Mackie’s strike. Hector should have made it two moments later when the ball fell to him five yards out from a corner, but he tried to burst the net and his attempt flew high in to the stand. McCleary also had chances to add to the lead but on each occasion he inexplicably elected to cross the ball when presented with a clear sight of goal.
Mackie set the tone for the second half racing over two hundred yards to close down three payers in quick succession as Brighton passed the ball around in their own half. Undeservedly Brighton equalised eight minutes after the interval with a penalty from O’Grady when referee Haines was deceived by Ledesma’s tumble in the box as he brushed Cooper’s outstretched hand. The home fans were behind their team all the way this evening and were rewarded with a second goal from the fans Player of the Month, Jamie Mackie, just three minutes later. Having chased a long diagonal ball out wide on the right he cut inside and drove the ball low past Stockdale from the edge of the box. The ball nestled inside the far post and the home fans celebrated their second goal following three goalless Tuesday evenings in succession.
Reading remained on the front foot and only towards the end looked a little edgy as Brighton went looking for another equaliser. A bit of needle began to creep in as Brighton’s frustration and lack of discipline produced some unpleasantness. Mackie certainly managed to wind them up (which, it must be said, was not too difficult) and McCleary and Pogrebnyak allowed themselves to get drawn into it and were each shown a yellow card. Ince, Dunk and Bennett went into the book for Brighton. Reading almost had a third when Pogrebynak and Blackman had a chance to score in a melee which eventually saw the ball smuggled away for a corner. Keown made a brief debut as Reading saw out the six minutes of stoppage time to secure three very important points.
The win lifts Reading a long way above the relegation zone and extends their unbeaten run to three games. With Championship status virtually assured and a good home win, we can all look forward with some optimism to the prospect of a packed Madejski Stadium, a battle with Bradford, and the possibility of a Wembley encounter with Arsenal.
Two more goals from in form Jamie Mackie saw Reading defeat Brighton 2-1 at the Madejski Stadium and record their first home win in four attempts. After three straight home league defeats, without scoring a goal, this was a very welcome win. The result and performance hinted at Reading turning a corner as it follows two decent draws at Bolton and Bradford.
The win saw Reading climb to sixteenth place in the Championship and pull 13 points clear of the drop zone. Relegation now seems a very far fetched concept with the season drawing towards a close and big gap between the bottom three. Steve Clarke said his focus was on the league this week, but the reality is that Reading's most important match is next Monday's FA Cup replay against Bradford City. As if anyone needs reminding, a trip to Wembley to face Arsenal in the semi-final awaits.
Clarke's team selection made it clear he was resting players ahead of a busy schedule that includes Saturday's trip to Watford in the league before that huge cup match at the Madejski. Alex Pearce was expected to miss out after breaking his nose at Bradford and found his place taken by Jake Cooper. Stephen Kelly was picked at Bradford as Reading went hunting for the draw but Chris Gunter returned to the starting eleven tonight to give Reading more bite going forwards. Simon Cox and Pavel Pogrebnyak found themselves on the bench giving Jamie Mackie his chance to shine once more up front for the Royals. In a much shuffled side Jordan Obita was entirely absent giving Martin's son Niall Keown a place on the bench.
Keown then went on to make an unexpected debut for Reading as he come off the bench in stoppage time to play out the last five minutes with Reading leading 2-1.
Reading were good value for the win after Mackie scored a goal in each half. Both were well taken long range efforts with the first on 24 minutes after a pass from Hope Akpan setting Reading on their way. Reading could have been ahead before Mackie's goal with Garath McCleary's free-kick going over and Robson-Kanu should have done better with another shot that was too high. The rare sight of a home goal at the Madejski Stadium could have been followed by more before half time with Hector getting in a decent shot on target.
After the break Cooper conceeded a penalty after a push, which was scored by Chris O'Grady on 53 minutes. The visitors were only level for three minutes before Mackie scored his second. Reading had chances to extend their lead with Mackie continuing to look very lively up front. Nick Blackman nearly got on the scoresheet but his strike was just over the Brighton crossbar. With time running out there was a big goalmouth scramble in the Brighton area with substitute Pogrebnyak and Blackman both nearly hitting the target. Brighton never looked like finding a late equaliser but did manage a single shot that was hit straight at Federici in the dying moments.
This Championship game took place 1371 days ago in the 2014/2015 season.