News and Views
Report: Reading Win At Home With Mackie Brace
10 March 2015
By Hob Nob Anyone?
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.
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