Royals March On
Reading made it two wins out of two in March with a deserved win at home to Man City.
After breaking the run of eight defeats in a row at Middlesbrough last week, Steve Coppell's men made it two wins in two games and jumped to the dizzy heights of 13th in the Premier League.
With Leroy Lita inexplicably loaned out to Charlton, the Royals frontline were under a lot of pressure to justify the decision and they duly repaid the faith their manager had showed in them, Shane Long and substitute Dave Kitson scoring their first goals of 2008, with Kevin Doyle chipping in with an excellent assist.
It was a pretty lacklustre first half from both sides, but City could have easily gone in front after Uriah Rennie gave the first of several ridiculous decisions.
Benjani rode a challenge from Liam Rosenior and continued with the ball before losing possession. Despite Benjani staying on his feet and their being no contact what so ever, Rennie decided to award City the free kick.
Reading were nearly punished by the ref's incompetency as an excellent Elano free kick was somehow knocked over the bar by Vedran Corluka with Marcus Hahnemann well beaten.
Rennie redeemed himself later in the half with an equally appalling decision, choosing to book Michael Johnson for simulation when there was clear contact in the penalty area by Ivar Ingimarsson.
Apart from Corluka's early miss, neither side really threatened in the first half.
Reading looked the better side in the second half and you could sense a goal coming.
The impressive André Bikey nearly broke the deadlock but his close range strike was tipped onto the bar by Joe Hart.
Minutes later, the Royals did get in front.
Kevin Doyle showed great determination down the left handside, out-muscling Michael Ball before cutting back a lovely ball for fellow Irishman Shane Long, who calmly slotted a first time shot into the bottom corner.
Long should have made it two nil a minute later, again Kevin Doyle was the provider as his cross found Long completely free, but he failed to hit the target with a poor header.
Rather than sitting back, Reading went looking for a second goal to kill the game.
Dave Kitson was brought on for Shane Long, and the ginger striker had been on the pitch just five minutes before he sealed the points for the Royals.
A quick free kick from fellow sub Kalifa Cisse found Kitson on the right hand side. Rather than taking the ball to the corner to run down the clock, Kitson cut inside, skipped passed two City defenders and cooly placed a shot passed Hart in the City goal.
Had City been given the penalty in the first half it could have been a different game, but Reading rode their luck and got the three points they eventually deserved.
All the Reading players put in a shift today, but Rosenior stood out with another solid defensive display.
Rosenior has come in for the injured captain Graeme Murty and with two impressive displays may well have cemented his place in the rejuvinated Royals side.
Marcus Hahnemann 7
Liam Rosenior 8
Nicky Shorey 7
André Bikey 8
Ivar Ingimarsson 8
James Harper 7
Marek Matejovsky 8
Stephen Hunt 7
John Oster 7
Kevin Doyle 8
Shane Long 7
Kept a winning side after the Boro game. Has silenced the critics after the Lita loan decision, with Long and Kitson both getting on the score sheet.
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