Match Report: 2011/2012 Season

10 April 2012: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Harte (14 mins).
Brighton: -
Half Time: 0-1.

Attendance: 20,610

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 Southampton 42 82 +36
2 READING 42 82 +27
3 West Ham 42 76 +25
Reading: A Federici, I Harte , K Gorkss, A Pearce, S Cummings, J McAnuff, H Mullins, J Kebe, T Cywka (B Gunnarsson, 60), N Hunt (S Church, 79), J Roberts.
Subs not used: A McCarthy, A Le Fondre, B Afobe.
Brighton: P Brezovan, A El-Abd, G Jara, I Calderon, G Greer, G Dicker, W Buckley (K Lua Lua, 66), Vicente, A Navarro, C Mackail-Smith (S Vokes, 81), A Barnes (G Assulin, 82).
Subs not used: M Painter, C Ankergren.
Reading: Harte, Pearce, Kebe.
Brighton: El-Abd, Greer.
Ref: Mick Russell.

As has already been said, we were lucky. Brighton were more than decent, and with half our team out injured it was no surprise to see us on the back foot for most of the game. Saying that, we were pretty solid. They got through a couple of times but apart from that we managed to keep them at an arm's length. Penalty was a ridiculous decision (probably influenced by him missing one in the first half) but Fed's made a great save to send us into delirium. Pearce should have buried his header, and Hunt had a couple of openings which he didn't take advantage of...all in all I'd say it was a well deserved, gritty 3 points.
Winchester Royal

Brighton dominated but had no end product. We defended well but looked like we were carrying a few passengers at times (I guess that was likely with such a make-shift midfield). Dirty deflection for our goal but who cares? Agreed their penalty looked soft, think the ref gave it as there was a shout two seconds before which he waved away so to have another so soon after probably swayed his mind. New ground is lush, fits in perfectly with the landscape around and the west stand wouldn't look out of place in a Champions League tie! Liked how they projected images of Reading players in the concourse to make us feel more at home, also liked how they select a special guest ale for the visiting team although not sure how London Pride fits us in any way? All in all a tense game, one which on the balance of play we didn't deserve to win, but there is a reason why we are second in the league. Tenacious, disciplined and hardworking, bring on Southampton!
Royal Prince

I'm not sure I can take another 4 games like that. Brighton passed the ball around impressively and controlled several periods of the game so I just hope they play like that against West Ham in a few days time. There was little of the play acting they showed at the MadStad and Feds was my man of the match by keeping us in it when I was certain we would crack. His penalty save was first class. But suddenly losing the pairing of Karacan and Ledge had an obvious effect and our normal harassing of the opposing midfield was missing. I hope Ledge is back against Saints or we may not ride our luck again. Roberts really wound the crowd up as per West Ham and his grin was a mile wide.
Bucks Dave

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Ian Harte's goal earned Reading a win that moves them level on points with Championship leaders Southampton. Harte's deflected first-half free-kick secured a 13th win in 15 matches for Brian McDermott's team. Vicente hit the bar for a dominant Brighton and Ashley Barnes had a penalty saved by Adam Federici. Gus Poyet's team's four-match winless run leaves them two points off the play-offs but the Royals are now six points clear of third-placed West Ham. The top two clash on Friday, as McDermott's side travel to Southampton.

The hosts, eager to put themselves back in the play-off spots, made a flying start with Barnes having a header saved by Federici and also shooting wide from close range. Australian Federici also denied an acrobatic effort from Vicente as the visitors were forced on to the back foot. But Reading snatched the lead when Harte's free-kick took a big deflection and left goalkeeper Peter Brezovan no chance. Vicente lifted a shot over after a well-worked move but Brezovan had to be at his best to turn away a header from Noel Hunt. The home team, who had a string of other penalty appeals, were given the opportunity to pull level when Barnes was brought down by Alex Pearce, only to have his spot-kick saved by Federici. Federici pulled off another fine save before the hour when he denied Craig Mackail-Smith, before Pearce headed on to the bar late on as Reading came close to doubling their advantage.
Reading manager Brian McDermott: "It was a night of resilience and character. Brighton are a difficult side to play against, they had a lot of the ball and we had to hang in there. We have followed up a hard-fought win over Leeds with another win and all I'm thinking about now is the Southampton game. St Mary's will be the place to be on Friday, I'm sure."

BBC Sport

Reading's astonishing run continues. Since 1 November, when the Royals lost at Nottingham Forest to drop to 16th in the Championship with a third of the season gone, they have been 15 points better than anyone else in the division. It is an simply remarkable run of 18 wins in 22 games, but this latest instalment of the Royals' rampage they were heavily indebted to their goalkeeper Adam Federici, who saved a penalty and made a host of fine saves. "It was a night for resilience," said the Reading manager Brian McDermott, whose side now lead West Ham by six points with four games to play. "There are different ways of winning matches, and that was a different way for us to win." Ian Harte's early deflected free-kick was enough to earn the visitors yet another win. McDermott said he was concentrating only on Southampton, the league leaders who his side face on Friday, but with juicy home fixtures against Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace to follow that top-of-the-table tie, a return to the division they dropped out of in 2009 seems on the cards.

It might have been a very different story had Federici not plunged to his right to keep out Ashley Barnes' penalty and suck the wind from Brighton's sails early in the second half. "It's a match-winning save," said McDermott. "He's a top professional. He gets massive plaudits from the staff in the dressing room, he conducts himself so well. He does everything he can to make himself a top goalkeeper." Federici produced a wonderful scrambling save to deny Craig Mackail-Smith shortly after his penalty stop, the best of several tips, grabs and paws the keeper produced. When Brighton did find a way past Federici they were denied by the woodwork. Seven minutes before the break Vicente played a gorgeous one-two with Ashley Barnes, but curled his shot on to the bar from six yards. Two defeats over Easter have loosened Brighton's grip on the play-offs and they now trail Cardiff, in sixth, by two points. Gus Poyet's side could consider themselves unfortunate to have come up against a goalkeeper in such inspired form, but the Albion manager saw something of his promotion-winning 2010-11 side in the visitors. "It happened to us last year," said Poyet, for whom this was a first home defeat in 2012. "We won eight in a row in March and we were no better than any other team, even Dagenham and Redbridge. But when you're at the top, you win games." With Reading missing Mikele Leigertwood's rangy and reassuring presence in midfield, large chunks of the game resembled a game of attack v defence. Statistics show, though, that the defence in question is the best in the Championship. They stayed predictably resolute in the face of Brighton pressure and should have been given a two-goal cushion with 10 minutes to go, but from, yet again, Harte's free-kick, Pearce thumped his header against the bar. It was not winning ugly, simply winning plain. And that, for the moment, is enough.

The Guardian