Match Report: 2010/2011 Season

11 September 2010: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Long (37 mins, pen), Harte (65 mins, pen), Kebe (90 mins).
C Palace: -
Half Time: 1-0.

Attendance: 17,921

Pos Team P Pts GD
7 Norwich 5 10 +3
8 READING 5 8 +3
9 Coventry 5 8 +1
Reading: Federici, Mills, Harte, Pearce, Cummings, McAnuff, Howard, Kebe, Karacan, Gunnarsson, Long (Church, 89). Subs not used: Hunt, Williams, Robson-Kanu, Antonio, McCarthy, Khizanishvili.
C Palace: Speroni, Gardner, McCarthy, Bennett, Clyne, Danns, Garvan, Dorman (Counago, 46), Djilali, Marrow (Cadogan, 65), Vaughan (Andrew, 80). Subs not used: Price, Davis, Barrett, Holness.
Reading: Howard, Mills.
C Palace: Bennett, Clyne, McCarthy, Vaughan.
Ref: K Hill (Hertfordshire)
Gutsy performances from Shane Long and Jem Karacan helped to secure this very important victory for the Royals. Reading fans had had time to ponder over the impact of Sigurdsson's departure and the arrival of Harte and Khiizanishvili during the past week and were accordingly subdued in contrast to the exuberant Palace fans from the kick off. In the opening thirty minutes both sides struggled to create scoring opportunities. Reading enjoyed more possession in the early stages of the game but Palace, aware of the threat of Kebe and McAnuff, were quick to close them down. Palace had the first sight of goal when McCarthy blasted over from close range at the far post. It was an even contest as Reading struggled to find any pattern to their play.

With half time approaching the game came to life. First Mills popped up to guide a header onto the bar. The crowd came to life and then Long received a ball out wide on the left with is back to goal and spun past McCarthy and raced into the box. The Palace defender impeded his progress and Long went down. Long picked up the ball and converted the spot kick with a low hard finish. The goal was greeted with roar of relief by the Royals fans. It was just what Reading needed to settle their nerves and although Palace responded with some determination and Federici had to make a good save hurling himself to his right to punch away a volley from Dorman. Karacan almost scored with a good long range effort which flew just wide. Kebe pulled a shot wide with his left foot having earlier lost a shooting opportunity by transferring the ball to his right.

Reading still had a lot to do in the second half but with the onus on Palace to press forward to equalise their task was made easier. Counago came on for Marrow and soon got behind the Royals defence when he nutmegged Mills on the left, but his dangerous cross fizzed across the goalmouth without anyone getting near it, fortunately for Reading. Cummings had to defend well to prevent another promising break by Palace. McAnuff began to shake off his marker and went on a good run which ended with a curling shot lacking sufficient power to beat Speroni. The crucial second goal came when Karacan broke from a deep position to make a penetrating run at the heart of the Palace defence. Palace retreated and Karacan slipped a well timed pass to Long who was brought down for a second penalty. Harte was given the opportunity to demonstrate how a penalty should be taken by stroking the ball low into the corner of the net. Palace crumbled and Howard should have made it three when Kebe rolled a pass into his path, but he struck his shot wide. He had little impact on the game and rounded off a poor performance by getting himself booked. (His afternoon could have been even worse as he ran across the road in front of my car as drove out of the car park!).

It was left to Jimmy Kebe to put the icing on the cake when he cut inside to prove he can score with either foot a left foot finish at the near post. The Palace fans had been a credit to their club for encouraging their team throughout. It was pity a handful let them down by trying to climb the barriers after the final whistle to get at the Reading fans.

League positions mean little right now but it is comforting to see the Royals hovering near the play-ff postions. Today Palace were poor in attack and although Cummings defended well at times and Harte passed the ball extremely well, their lack of pace might prove a problem.Long played exceptionally well today. He caused Palace problems in the air, on the flanks and he was direct near goal. Karacan's energy was an inspiration to everyone. Reading deserved their win and I still think it is a tall order to win promotion with the current squad, but I have confidence in McDemott's ability to get the best out the players he has available.
John Wells

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Two penalties helped Reading ease to victory over Crystal Palace. The home side had seen captain Matt Mills hit the crossbar with a header before Shane Long scored from the spot after a foul by Paddy McCarthy. Long earned another penalty when he was tripped by Julian Bennett, with full-back Ian Harte stepping up to double Reading's lead from 12 yards. Jimmy Kebe completed the victory just before full-time when he finished clinically from the edge of the area.
BBC Sport