Reading FC Match Report: 2012/2013 Season - Premier League


READING 2 SUNDERLAND 1

Reading: J Kebe (7 mins), J Kebe (85 mins).
Sunderland: C Gardner (29 mins, pen).

Reading’s climb up the table continued with a deserved three points from a Sunderland side also currently in good form. The confidence gained from a recent run of good results was clearly evident as Reading pinned Sunderland back in their own half from the kick off taking an early lead through Jimmy Kebe. It took a penalty to bring the visitors back into contention, and from that point the result could have gone either way in a highly entertaining game. Shrewd substitutions from Brian McDermott to freshen up the attack once again produced a crucial late goal from Kebe to send the wild with delight.

The last two home games in the Premier League had ended with a flourish from Reading. Today we had the same storming finale but on this occasion Reading dominated the game for long periods, especially in the first half. Referee Lee Mason absurdly booked Mc Anuff in the first minute for nothing more than a mistimed challenge in midfield and then angered home fans allowing similar indiscretions in quick succession from Sunderland players go unpunished. After six minutes it was McAnuff who slid the ball into the path of Jimmy Kebe in the box. Kebe’s first touch was perfect setting himself up to lash the ball high into the net giving Mignolet no chance. Sunderland simply could not get out of their own half as Reading strung together passes and won just about every challenge and loose ball. McCleary was tormenting his full back who eventually received a yellow card for hauling him down as he left him trailing in his wake. The visitors resorted to desperate long punts upfield to relieve the pressure. On twenty-four minutes Federici had to pull of two saves in quick succession, the second form Larsson from close range was particularly impressive. Encouraged by these attempts Sunderland began to threaten the Reading goal. A rash challenge from Pogrebnyak in the box gave Sunderland the chance to draw level. The referee’s assistant placed his flag across his chest and referee Mason gave a penalty. It looked a harsh decision from where I was sitting, although I was some distance from the incident. Gardner confidently tucked it away. Reading stormed back. Mignolet saved brilliantly from Pogrebnyak’s header and then McAnuff was fouled in the box but didn’t go down, and referee Mason lacked the courage to award a penalty.

Reading came out in the second half with clear intent to restore their lead but Sunderland were also looking for a win. Reading coped well with the threat offered by Sessignon running at the heart of the defence. Le Fondre appeared on the touchline after sixty-four minutes much to the delight of the home fans and came on for McCleary who had done nothing wrong but McDermott clearly wanted to play two up front. Pogrebnyak’s work rate was again impressive and his final contribution was a subtle dummy to release McAnuff who was immediately brought down just outside the box. Harte’s free kick crashed in to the wall. Blackman replaced a weary Pogrebnyak. Marriappa came close to giving Reading the lead with a header from Harte’s corner which smacked against the bar. Johnson was posing problems running at Harte and with ten minutes to go rolled a good pass behind the Reading back four to N’Diaye. Fortunately for Reading, N’Diaye was having the sort of day when he seemed incapable of hitting a certain part of a cow’s anatomy with a stringed instrument and he blasted wide from close range. Sunderland brought on new signing Graham who came close on to scoring in quick succession as the game came to the boil.

With time running out Blackman won free kick wide on the right. Harte swept in another good cross and Jimmy Kebe nodded in at the far post. Wild celebrations followed and Reading prepared for the inevitable onslaught. Kebe was now clearly on a high and chased back to make crucial blocks to prevent Sunderland from getting crosses in to the box. Reading saw out the remaining time with committed defending throughout the team. The points were far too precious to let them slip in dying minutes of the game as illustrated by a brilliant but painful block by Akpan. I think everyone is beginning to believe Reading can survive in this league. I am sure Sunderland would agree.
John Wells

This Premier League game took place 2499 days ago in the 2012/2013 season.