Guthrie shines as Royals win final friendly
Striker Pavel Pogrebnyak scored his first goal in a Reading shirt, as the Royals beat Crystal Palace 2-0 in their last pre-season friendly.
There was also a first appearance for new signing Chris Gunter, who suffered an ankle injury on the club's pre-season tour of Portugal. Royals boss Brian McDermott named a very strong line-up for this game and is more than likely to be the team that faces Stoke next week in the opening game of the Premier League at the Madejski Stadium.
Reading started the game the brighter, but the only half chance they had in the opening stages was a volley that Le Fondre fired over the bar. Palace defender Chris Martin then should have done better with a header at the back post, before Pogrebnyak had the best chance of the game. The Russian's chipped shot from 5 yards had too much weight and went over.
However, the Royals were much improved in the second half and took the lead on 52 minutes. Good pace and a smart pass from the impressive McCleary allowed Pogrebnyak to fire a shot at goal from 10 yards, which found its way in after coming off the post. Reading doubled their lead a minute later, with Robson-Kanu crossing low for Le Fondre to bundle home.
Palace very much struggled in the second period, but the introduction of Reading-target Wilfred Zaha gave them some hope, forcing a good double-save out of Adam Federici. Eagles forward Jermaine Easter then had a good chance to reduce the deficit, although his low shot fizzed past Federici's post unharmed.
The performance of fellow new addition Danny Guthrie was also very notable, adding some very good, composed and creative spark to the midfield. Winger Garath McCleary also made a very good impression on the Royals faithful, showing great acceleration, skill and vision in his performance on the right-wing.
Reading: Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte, McCleary, Guthrie, Leigertwood, Robson-Kanu, Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre
Subs: McCarthy, Mariappa, Tabb, Obita, Church, Hunt
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