Match Report: 2010/2011 Season

16 April 2011: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Kebe (19 mins), McAnuff (21 mins), Hunt (67 mins).
Leicester: King (79 mins).
Half Time: 2-0.

Attendance: 19,199

Pos Team P Pts GD
3 Norwich 42 74 +19
4 READING 42 72 +26
5 Swansea 42 70 +18
Reading: A. McCarthy, M. Mills, I. Harte, A. Griffin, Z. Khizanishvili, J. McAnuff, M. Leigertwood, J. Kebe (H. Robson-Kanu, 83), J. Karacan, S. Long, M. Manset (N. Hunt, 54). Subs not used: S. Church, A. Federici, J. Tabb, M. Antonio, A. Pearce.
Leicester: C. Weale, S. Bamba (M. Vitor, 56), K. Naughton, P. Van Aanholt, J. Bruma, A. King, M. Oakley, R. Wellens, D. Kamara (S. Howard, 71), Yakubu, D. Vassell (P. Gallagher, 66). Subs not used: B. Berner, Y. Abe, Ricardo, L. Dyer.
Reading: -.
Leicester: Oakley, Bruma.
Ref: Graham Salisbury.
This was a real test for the Royals in every respect. Under the leadership of former England manager Sven Goran - Eriksson, the City line-up included on-loan Premiership strikers and some very good individual players in midfield. The quality of their opponents was reflected not only in their wage bill but in their dominance of possession, especially in a first half which saw Reading take a two goal lead. In the end it was a comfortable win for the Royals and much of the credit must go to Brian McDermott for his management skills and the ability to apply his tactical knowledge to get the best out of his squad. The win, their eight on a row, leaves Reading hunting down an automatic promotion spot when even a play-off berth looked unlikely only a few weeks ago.

Reading defended well as unit and although City kept possession with slick passing and movement they were unable to get beyond the Royals back four. Karacan and Leigertwood ensured most of their opponents passes went sideways or backwards. City's strikes on goal from Kamara and Yakubu were from long range and did not test McCarthy. Reading took the lead on eighteen minutes with a goal which was almost a replica of the first goal in their last home game against Preston. Receiving the ball wide on the left Shane Long using his power and pace swept past two defenders and, under pressure, slid a perfect ball across the six yard box for Kebe to stab in from close range with City 'keeper Weale stranded at the near post. The home fans had barely had time to sit down following their celebrations when Kebe nipped in between two City defenders to take possession and ran on to slip the ball to McAnuff inside the box. In a tight situation McAnuff worked some room for a strike and drove the ball inside the far post to give Reading a two goal advantage in the space of two minutes. City responded well and crucial blocks by Mills and Khizanishvili and a good save by McCarthy from a Bamba header were required to maintain the lead. Kebe should have made it three on the stroke of half time. Reading held the ball up intelligently and McAnuff timed his run perfectly to beat the offiside trap. Having reached the goaline he cut back a superb pass to set Kebe up with clear sight of goal but his shot was blasted horribly high and wide.

The expected onslaught from City did not materialise as Reading opted to contain City's potent attacking force and hit them on the break. With the pace of Kebe, Long and McAnuff it proved too much for City who were lucky not to be punished immediately after half time. Kebe broke out of defence and slipped the ball out wide to Long who ran on and delivered a delightful curled low cross to the far post where that man Kebe was on the spot to make a hash of the finish. Determined to make amends Kebe then went on an amazing run down the left but pulled his shot wide with only Weale to beat. Reading began to mount pressure on the City defence and Harte came close with free kick which was headed off the line. In spite of his poor finishing Kebe was tormenting City with his pace at every opportunity and finally created the opportunity for the vital third goal. Having taken possession near his own penalty area he outpaced the City midfield and defence on run which took him the full length of the pitch before crossing for Long. A City defender denied Long a chance but the ball rolled into the path of Hunt who illustrated how to remain composed when in front of goal and drove the ball low into the net past the covering defenders. Yakubu should have pulled a goal back soon after but somehow managed to head wide with the goal at his mercy. To the neutral the game was over, but City had not given up hope and when an excellent long range shot from King twelve minutes from time pulled a goal back, one of two long standing Royals fans might have had slightly uncomfortable thoughts of what might happen if City managed another. They need not have worried. This is a new era and Brian McDermott's calm assurance permeates throughout the squad. They appear to be playing without fear and possess a confidence and team spirit that will be worrying all the other teams currently hoping to fill the second automatic promotion spot.

The hardest task today would be selecting Man of the Match because everyone was in such good form. Long is playing so consistently well even when he is not scoring, Kebe ran City ragged with his pace, Khizanishvili was composed as always, and Griffin caught the eye with an outstanding second half winning an amazing tackle to set up an attack and going past defenders like a winger. Reading are simply a joy to watch at the moment.
John Wells

For various reasons I've missed a few games recently, thought about staying away yesterday as when I'd not been to games we'd always won, so it was with nervous apprehension as Leicester created many chances early on and looked by far the better side , but our class up front shone through with Longy doing brilliant for our first goal for Kebe , who aside from not getting a deserved hat trick showed blistering pace that made the Leicester defenders look like they had lead boots on as they floundered in his wake .All in a solid performance with clinical counter attacks they looked more like an away performance than at home . All players gave their all and looked well up for it as we enter the last four games .

Can we do it, automatic, of course we could, but I've a feeling all those draws earlier will cost us and we'll finish a point or two short, but play offs are assured. Which means here we go again, as our play offs record is woeful , with many still unable to forget the the Wembley and Cardiff debacles . Will it be third time lucky ? Let's hope not and we do it automatically but if it is to be the play offs let's keep all crossed . There's less pressure on the team than before , we have amazing form , but the caution is we've not peaked a game or two early . In Long , Kebe and arguably McAnuff we have match winners plus the amazing lucky charm in Leigertwood . What ever is sure it's going to be a very excitingend to the season and who'd have thought that back in January ?
Nick Newbury

Got an opinion? E-Mail us at
Appropriate submissions will appear on match report pages

Reading continued their relentless promotion charge by easing past play-off chasing Leicester to record a ninth [are you sure BBC??] consecutive Championship victory. Two goals in three first-half minutes put the hosts in control and Leicester rarely looked like fighting back. Jimmy Kebe swept the Royals ahead on 19 minutes from Shane Long's cross and Jobi McAnuff's low shot made it 2-0. Noel Hunt steered in a third after the break and although Andy King fired home, the result was never in doubt. Reading, who were in the bottom half of the table in February, are now just three points adrift of second-placed Cardiff. Leicester, meanwhile, are five points shy of the top six with four games left after an untimely run of two wins in 10 games. Diomansy Kamara, Kyle Naughton and Yakubu all tried their luck from long range in the opening 15 minutes but failed to worry home goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.

The Royals took the lead when Long held off two challenges before crossing from the left side of the area for Kebe to finish from close range. Kebe turned provider for the second goal two minutes later, setting up McAnuff, who twisted and turned on the edge of the box before beating keeper Chris Weale with a low shot into the bottom right corner. City then had their best spell and King forced McCarthy to save with his feet before Yakubu headed over the crossbar. McCarthy also tipped another header from Sol Bamba round a post following a Richie Wellens corner. But the hosts got on top after the interval and Kebe went close with a couple of efforts from the edge of the box before Reading went 3-0 up in the 67th minute when, after more work by Kebe, Hunt shot home from 12 yards. Yakubu somehow headed over from six yards out before King's late strike from the Nigerian's pass completed the scoring.

BBC Sport