Match Report: 2011/2012 Season

11 February 2012: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Kebe (25 mins), Roberts (43 mins).
Coventry City: -.
Half Time: 2-0.

Attendance: 18,006

Pos Team P Pts GD
6 Hull 29 49 +6
7 READING 29 48 +10
8 Brighton 30 48 +3
Reading: A Federici, I Harte, M Connolly, K Gorkss, A Pearce, J Mills, M Leigertwood (J Tabb, 87), J Kebe (T Cywka, 76), J Karacan, N Hunt (S Church, 67), J Roberts.
Subs not used: M Andersen, A Le Fondre
Coventry City: J Murphy, R Keogh, M Cranie, R Wood (J Clarke, 7), C Christie, S Clingan (D Bell, 59), G Deegan (C Baker, 76), O Norwood, C Platt, G McSheffrey, A Nimely.
Subs not used: F Eastwood, C Dunn
Reading: Leigertwood.
Coventry City: Cranie, Clarke, Christie.
Ref: David Coote.
As I left the ground today I overheard two resigned City fans discussing the possible away fixtures next season in League One. Their pessimism was mirrored in their team’s performance who waited until they were two goals down before showing any real enterprise. The outcome of this game, although predictable, was not as comfortable as it might have been for the Royals. Ahead by two goals at half time, Reading were grateful for three excellent saves from Adam Federici to prevent City from getting back into the game in the second half. With Mills replacing McAnuff on the left Reading had to rely on Kebe to open up the City defence. Loan signing Connolly came in at right back and, after clumsily conceding a free kick and causing havoc with a wretched back pass, settled down to a very solid performance. He looked very comfortable on the ball, passed the ball well, and looked very secure defensively.

City enjoyed a lot of possession in the first half but lacked penetration. Midfield was congested and there were few openings created by either side. Leigertwood made a good run into the box which came to nothing. Hunt’s effort was blocked after a good cross by Mills. Kebe was looking very lively, and McSheffrey was remarkably allowed to flatten him with a late tackle without even a warning from referee Coote. Undeterred, Kebe stuck to his task and was rewarded with a goal in the twenty-fifth minute. Connolly found Roberts with good long ball who held the ball up before rolling the ball into the path of Kebe as he raced forward into the box. Unpredictably Kebe stabbed the ball up and over Murphy into the far corner of the net. Kebe continued to torment the City defence and was hauled back as he wriggled between two defenders resulting in a yellow card for Cranie. The second goal came as half time approached when slack marking allowed Connolly to meet a deep corner and Roberts deflected his goal bound header into the net.

Finding themselves two goals ahead Reading began passing the ball well through midfield and City, with nothing lose, pressed forward. The game was more open and should have produced more goals. Roberts appeared to be brought down in the box but referee Coote was unsympathetic to Reading’s appeals. Leigertwood opted out of a fifty – fifty challenge after Kebe slipped him a ‘hospital ball’ on the half way line allowing Nimely an unchallenged run at goal. As Fedrici fell to his right he amazingly deflected Nimely’s powerful strike over with his outstretched left hand. Encouraged by this effort, City forced two further excellent saves from the Reading ‘keeper through long range efforts by Mc Sheffrey and Nimely. Karacan had his now customary superb game in front of the back four. Harte’s unspectacular contribution went almost unnoticed, but his positional sense, touch, and distribution were a cut above everyone else on the pitch. The referee saved his worst decision for the final stages of the game when Mills went on a great run and was halted by a blatant hack from behind right in front of Mr Coote who unbelievably waved play on. Church came on for Hunt and headed a sharp chance over from close range and Cywka was again impressive wide on the right in the last fifteen minutes. I can only assume it is Le Fondre’s lack of pace which is denying him a chance of playing alongside Roberts ahead of Church.

With Connolly, Gorkss, Pearce, Harte, Leigertwood and Roberts in the side today, Reading looked physically stronger than they have for some time, which may stand them in good stead for the battles ahead. With so many teams closing in on the automatic promotion places the Royals will need to scrap for points between now and the end of the season especially away from home. The last four away games are West Ham, Brighton, Southampton and Birmingham – a daunting prospect but not beyond this squad.
John Wells

Thought the game was a routine win, we did just enough, we controlled it. Felt we could have stepped it up if they had clawed one back. Thought their fans were good to be fair 1300 for bottom of the table, about three times more than we would bring there when we are top half. Burnley will be a tougher ask.

We never seemed to get going at all. Very dull first half and RFC scored with about the only two chances we had. Coventry looked very poor at the front and at the back first half. Second half pretty much all Coventry and bizarrely against the bottom team Federici was the stand out MOTM as he kept us in it. Number 13 were either not impressed or frozen cold - but were very quiet. All the new boys did well - although Roberts was much quieter than against Bristol. Like the look of Cywka. Good to see Legs back. Kebe pretty quiet apart from the moment of magic in the first half. Mills very quiet first half apart from one great cross but much more involved second half. Still if you win 2-0 without getting out of first gear I suppose it cannot be all bad.

Thought our fans were awful. I know it was cold but bloody hell, utter dump... and not much better on the pitch. Federici made sure we didn't embarrass ourselves today. If they'd nicked a goal and got their fans right behind them I think they could have turned it round, we made them look half decent. Great work rate from Karacan, Connolly seems decent, Cwyka looks useful and Roberts didn't have an amazing game but wasn't bad either, definitely worth having in the side. Mills was poor at left mid and our fans need to have had a few pints to be bothered to support the team. That's about all I took from that game. I know there's a lot of people who bum Church on here, and clearly McD is also one of them, but personally I'd rather see Le Fondre come on.
rob the royal

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Jimmy Kebe and Jason Roberts found the net as Reading made it back-to-back home wins in the Championship with victory over Coventry. Kebe opened the scoring for the hosts with a deflected lob. Roberts then bundled the ball home from Ian Harte's corner two minutes before the break to hand the Royals a comfortable advantage. Alex Nimely and Gary McSheffrey came close for Coventry in the second half, but Reading cantered to victory. After a quiet start at the Madejski Stadium, Kebe marked his comeback from a knee injury with a goal after 25 minutes. The Malian picked up a loose ball outside the penalty area, burst into the box and lobbed a deflected effort past Murphy from 15 yards. Having struggled to make an impression in the first half, the goal energised Reading as Alex Pearce and Kaspars Gorkss came close before Roberts eventually made it 2-0. Harte whipped in a corner from the right, Matthew Connolly nodded it on and Roberts popped up to usher the ball over the line for his second goal since arriving from Blackburn last month. Coventry pushed for a route back into the game in the second half and Adam Federici denied on-loan Manchester City youngster Nimely, following his turn and shot from the edge of the box, before the Australian had a much easier save to make from McSheffrey's mis-hit left-footed effort. Coventry had the better of the second half chances but were unable to convert any of them, ensuring their miserable away run drags on. Andy Thorn's side are without a victory away from the Ricoh Arena this season.

Reading manager Brian McDermott:
"We haven't played for two weeks and we will be better for that. Coventry played good football and we had to try to get ourselves in the game. At 2-0 in the second half we looked like we were running out of steam. Our goalkeeper [Adam Federici] made some fantastic saves and that's why he is a top keeper."

BBC Sport