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


Reading: J Kebe (82 mins), A Le Fondre (88 mins, pen), P Pogrebnyak (90 mins).
West Brom: R Lukaku (19 mins), R Lukaku (69 mins).

If Reading retain their Premier League status this year they will probably look back on the last ten minutes of this game as the turning point of their season. Having failed to impose themselves on Albion for nearly eighty minutes, and fallen two goals behind, they miraculously took all three points with the most remarkable comeback we are likely to see for some time. In an exhilarating climax the game Pogrebnyak scored the winning goal in the last minute of normal time before ripping his shirt off on his way to the corner flag to celebrate where he was buried under then entire Reading team. Euphoria, tinged with relief, engulfed the stadium.

Reading were, to say the least, mediocre for most of the game. The Royals failed to register a shot on target in the first half as they seemed to find it hard to mount any kind of pressure on the Albion defence. The visitors did not have to work hard, they simply sat back and waited for Reading to concede possession, which they did with alarming regularity. New signing Carrico took up a position in front of back four and showed some neat touches early in the game but the game tended to pass him by, and it was no surprise when he was replaced by McCleary at half time. Albion’s full back had McAnuff in his pocket and Kebe was drifting inside to hide behind Albion defenders. Reading’s crosses were coming in from deep areas and were dealt with comfortably by Foster or his centre backs. Pogrebnyak received very little protection from referee Kevin Friend, and found it hard to get into the game. Albion attacked through Morrison and Lukaku with slick precision and took the lead on nineteen minutes. Reading, already low on confidence and bereft of ideas, laboured to stay in the game.

The introduction of McCleary signalled a more positive approach form Reading and, although he initially found himself running into trouble and losing possession, he was at least making the full back work a bit harder. Reading’s first decent chance fell to McCleary on fifty minutes but his shot struck an Albion defender with Foster grounded. Reading were pushing forward in greater numbers and consequently leaving space for Albion to hit them on the break. Lukaku hit the post with a header after Morrison had got beyond Pearce to deliver a good cross. Pogrebnyak was working hard and turned sharply away from his marker and slid a ball across the six yard box but there were too many Albion defenders present and nothing came of it. Le Fondre came on for Karacan and McAnuff moved inside to link up well with Guthrie who was now dropping deeper and using the ball to good effect. Reading forced a string of corners and the patient home crowd began to rouse themselves. Albion broke away again and Lukaku hammered a shot against the bar. With that kind of luck there was still hope for Reading. Hope soon drained away as Lukaku ran at the backpedalling Reading defence and drove the ball inside Federici’s near post. It was poor defending and goalkeeping. With only just over twenty minutes left it seemed the game was over and relegation loomed even larger.

What happened next was barely believable. Le Fondre’s excellent movement and touch provided more attacking options and Reading sprang to life. With nine minutes remaining, McCleary crossed, Le Fondre deceived the defence by letting the ball run through his legs and Kebe reacted to head the ball past Foster at the far post. The goal encouraged Reading and created doubt in the Albion camp. With two minutes left, Kebe was scythed down by Olsson in the box and Reading were back in with a chance. After some blatant gamesmanship from Foster and other Albion players attempts to unnerve Le Fondre, he calmly stroked in the equaliser as the stadium erupted. On ninety minutes another rash challenge on the halfway line presented Reading with a chance to launch another attack. Pearce got his head to the ball and Pogrebnyak’s persistence produced the killer blow. By now the Reading fans who had not deserted their team at two-nil down were delirious. Baggies fans began their own ‘fire drill’ having taunted the departing Royals fans minutes earlier. The four minutes of added time went surprisingly quickly as both teams hoofed the ball backwards and forwards with differing intent, but the third goal had knocked the stuffing out of Albion and Reading were able to enjoy their third win in the last four games.
John Wells

This Premier League game took place 2522 days ago in the 2012/2013 season.