Match Report: 2011/2012 Season

29 November 2011: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Church (27 mins), Le Fondre (78 mins), Robson-Kanu (80 mins).
Peterborough: Rowe (16), Sinclair (90 mins).
Half Time: 1-1.

Attendance: 15,907

Pos Team P Pts GD
8 Blackpool 19 27 +5
9 READING 19 27 +2
10 Hull 18 27 -1
Reading: A Federici, I Harte, K Gorkss, A Pearce, S Cummings, J McAnuff, M Leigertwood (J Tabb, 89), J Kebe, J Karacan (A Le Fondre, 61), N Hunt, S Church (H Robson-Kanu, 61) .
Subs not used: M Manset, M Andersen.
Peterborough: P Jones, T Kennedy, G Zakuani, C Alcock, R Bennett, T Rowe, G McCann, L Tomlin, G Boyd, E Sinclair, P Taylor.
Subs not used: J Lewis, R Tunnicliffe, M Little, J Thompson, D Kearns.
Reading: Gorkss, McAnuff, Leigertwood.
Peterborough: Kennedy, Tomlin, Boyd.
Ref: A Woolmer.
Two superbly taken second half goals settled this highly entertaining and keenly contested mid table clash. Peterborough had Reading on the back foot in the first half and paid for not making more of their dominance when substitutes Le Fondre and Robson-Kanu struck in the space of two minutes giving little hope of a comeback. Having said that there were a couple of anxious minutes of added time when Federici's hesitation allowed Sinclair to take the ball past him and roll it into an empty net in the ninetieth minute. October's unbeaten run of five games yielded seven points as the Royals hovered in mid table. Three wins in November, in spite of losing two games, has pushed them up to ninth place and only two points outside the play off positions. Suddenly Reading are scoring again.

Peterborough took everyone by surprise with their pace and passing as Reading rocked under an early onslaught which, thankfully for Royals fans, only produced one goal for the visitors. Rowe gave them the lead when he headed home powerfully from a corner floated deep into the penalty area. Boro' should have made it two when Harte elaborately created some space for himself to relieve the pressure but then inexplicably rolled the ball to Sinlclair on the edge of the box. Fortunately for Reading Sinclair was too surprised by his generosity to take full advantage and shot wide with the goal at his mercy. A Harte corner created an equaliser as an unmarked Kebe headed goalwards and Church touched the ball over the line from close range. Goals seemed likely to come at either end at any moment but it was Boro' who looked the better side. Their passing was crisp and throughout the side they had players with pace and the inclination to run at defenders. Cummings and Pearce were turned easily as they naively got too tight to their man who simply rolled off them and accelerated away. It was disciplined defending as a unit which kept Boro' at bay, but it was not all one way traffic as Leigertwood tested 'keeper Jones from long range.

Reading stepped up their game in the second half and although Boro' continued to threaten, particularly through Taylor, Reading defended for more efficiently and denied the visitors any clear chances. It was developing into a stalemate until Brian McDermott replaced Karacan and Church with Le Fondre and Robson-Kanu. Immediately there was a greater urgency about Reading's play and crosses were arriving from both wings in quick succession. A deep cross from Harte found Kebe who touched the ball back for Le Fondre to calmly guide the ball into the top corner. Once again it was the composed and accurate finish of a natural goalscorer. Two minutes later Robson-Kanu put Reading two ahead with a stunning finish. Having won the ball in midfield he surged straight at the heart of the Boro' defence and as three defenders and the 'keeper converged on him he kept his head and curled the ball around Jones and inside the post with the outside of his left foot. It may not be the goal of the season but there is unlikely to be many better. Still Boro' refused to lie down and we rewarded with a late goal from Sinclair but it was too late by then to matter.

The only blemish on the evening was an undeserved yellow card for McAnuff from a fussy and inconsistent referee which means he will be facing an immediate ban. He played well when moved inside to accommodate Robson-Kanu (his probable replacement for the next game) on the left wing. Le Fondre proved again with his passing, movement and finishing he is by far a better option than Church. I am still not sure about Harte. He is excellent on the ball and, apart form his howler of an error in the first half, has a very calming influence on the team. His delivery from free kicks and corners are always likely to produce goals but he is easy meat for a pacy winger and therefore needs protection. Pearce and Gorkss won everything in the air seem to have formed a solid partnership in the centre of the defence and they were certainly tested tonight. Overall things are improving slowly but surely. The next three games, Blackpool and Leeds away, and West Ham at home, will give us a much clearer indication of which way the season is likely to go.
John Wells

Another game of 2 halves. First half verging on the shocking, especially the first 20 mins. Second half much better after the substitutions. 5 in midfield worked a treat from where I was sitting. And 2 top quality goals... I was legging it back to the car when sinclair scored, how bad was Feds mistake?

It seems to me that we are playing so much worse this season than this time last season and yet staggeringly we are now one point ahead of where we were after game 19 then! Kebe is really poor this season. I can only think Brian has shagged his wife and feels guilty or something - because his continued inclusion in the starting 11 is mystifying. As we have always said Harte adds more in an attacking sense but as soon as he is in the side we ship more goals. However if we win 3-2 every week, none of us will complain. I think Cummings, Gorkks and Pearce are looking like a very reliable and stable defensive unit. Neither Karacan nor Legs had their best games for us. McAnuff was mixed but much better than Kebe. Church really did very little apart from a tap in. Hunt gave 100% as usual but we looked so much better when HRK and ALF came on. All in all it felt quite hard work watching that - although very pleased to see my first RFC win of the season (as I missed Brum and Doncaster).

What the hell do McDermott and Gibbs say to the players before matches or maybe they left it to Jobi tonight The first fifteen minutes was a disgrace and we were not only outplayed but also outfought in that spell. Even though we improved slightly once the soporific effects of the team talk wore off we were very still very fortunate to go in level at half time not least because the otherwise impressive Sinclair missed the golden chance served up on a plate by Harte. We were slightly better in the second half particularly once the substitutions were made. Le Fondre seemed to link up the play and bring others into the game. I was pleased for Churchy to get his goal and continue his record of being the only Reading player to score in the first half this season but like most people I can't see how he gets the nod over Le Fondre. Great finish from Alfie and a fantastic run and finish from HRK.
Elmer Park

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Reading moved to within two points of the Championship play-off places with a win over Peterborough. The visitors broke the deadlock when Tommy Rowe headed home but Simon Church levelled things up from close range. Adam Le Fondre made it 2-1 with 12 minutes to go with a curling effort into the top corner. Hal Robson-Kanu then made sure of the win, taking it past two men and firing home, before Emile Sinclair netted a consolation in injury time. Darren Ferguson felt the result was harsh on his side who started brightly, even admitting that he thought a draw would be unjust, let alone a defeat. Rowe had an early effort blocked by Alex Pearce before Lee Tomlin fired wide and Sinclair saw an effort tipped round the post even before they opened the scoring. In the end though they were punished by second-half substitutes Le Fondre and Robson-Kanu, who both came off the bench to score. Peterborough slip to 13th place, five points off the top six and four above the relegation zone.
BBC Sport