Match Report: 2011/2012 Season

17 March 2012: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: McAnuff (47 min), Karacan (49 mins, 65 mins), Roberts (90 mins).
Barnsley: -
Half Time: 0-0.

Attendance: 9,381

Pos Team P Pts GD
1 Southampton 37 72 +33
2 READING 37 70 +22
3 West Ham 36 67 +21
Reading: A Federici, I Harte, K Gorkss, A Pearce, J McAnuff (H Robson-Kanu, 67), M Leigertwood, H Mullins, J Kebe (S Church, 83), J Karacan (J Tabb, 76), N Hunt, J Roberts.
Subs not used: M Andersen, A Le Fondre.
Barnsley: L Steele, S Foster, S Wiseman (J Stones, 52), J McNulty, L Collins, N Doyle (S Dawson, 70), M Done, K Smith, C Davies, F Nouble, D Rose (D Cotterill, 71).
Subs not used: L Lidakevicius, A Gray
Reading: Mullins.
Barnsley: Smith, Rose.
Ref: Darren Sheldrake.

A tale of two halves if ever there was one. We were pants in the first half - slow and seemingly unable to string two passes together. But come half time Brian worked his magic - we hit them with two quick goals by playing the ball on the deck. Game over. Barnsley were poor and I can only recall one catch by Federici - the other shots all sailed wide. Special mention to Karacan who came out for the second half a new man and really pushed forward. His second was a beauty. Roberts was a class above the other forwards. He brought the ball down and kept it - even setting up some great passes. A great second half although the chants of top of the league proved premature.

A lack of creativity and accuracy in our final-third passing cost us in the first half, though we were the better side and could have gone ahead. We were superb in the second half. The early goal gave us an injection of confidence and Barnsley couldn't handle us. Leigertwood and McAnuff still playing way below their best, and Kebe didn't quite get going, but we still blew Barnsley off the park. Roberts' hold-up play in the second half was exemplary, really glad he got a deserved goal. Karacan's goal was a real beauty. The centre-backs were damn near faultless again and we just didn't look like conceding. Mullins ok first half, solid defensively but a bit sloppy second half - by which time it didnít mattter. What a great day out. 14 wins out of 17 and we're still improving. Wouldn't swap our squad for anyone else's in the league right now.

I didn't think we were too bad in the first half. We certainly had more cutting edge in the second half, but we still had a one-on-one in the first minute, had a couple of other chances and never looked in any danger. There was really only one side and it, and I don't remember a Barnsley chance of note. As comfortable and professional performance as you'll see, and it could've been 6, 7 or 8-0 McAnuff or Jem for MOTM. Honourable mentions for the defence, and the Hunt-Roberts partnership works well. Solid debut for Mullins. All in all an excellent day, and even got to see a helicopter winch rescue going over Woodhead pass on the way!
The Prisioner

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Reading maintained their promotion charge with an emphatic win at Oakwell to secure their ninth win in 10 games. After a goalless first half, strikes from Jobi McAnuff and Jem Karacan set the Royals on their way to victory within minutes of the restart. Karacan added a brilliant third from long range in the 65th minute, while the prolific Jason Roberts completed the rout with a smart finish late on. It moves Reading three points clear of third-placed West Ham, who drew. But it leaves Barnsley on the fringes of the relegation fight after a run of six games without a win. Their form is in sharp contrast to Reading, who had won eight games on the trot before their midweek draw at Doncaster.
A repeat of that outcome looked on the cards when Brian McDermott's side failed to break the deadlock in the first half, even if it was mainly down to Barnsley keeper Luke Steele that the scores remained level. He did well to deny Noel Hunt from a tight angle after just 45 seconds before making superb saves from Roberts and Mikele Leigertwood. But Reading were ahead in the 47th minute when Roberts laid the ball off for McAnuff to hit a low drive from the edge of the box. Two minutes later, Barnsley failed to clear a ball in the penalty area and Karacan lashed in from 12 yards. Karacan added a third with a blistering 25-yard strike before Roberts completed the scoring in the 90th minute after good work from Alex Pearce.

Reading manager Brian McDermott: "To come to a tough place like Barnsley and win 4-0, I can't ask any more of my players. It was tough in the first half; I've not seen a team play as well and come at us like they did. They upset our rhythm and had a couple of early chances. There was no need for any harsh words at half-time. I knew that if we got the ball down and passed it that we would score."

BBC Sport