Ten man Royals ease past Barnsley
25th September 2010
Ten man Reading comfortably beat Barnsley at the Madejski Stadium, with all three goals coming after Zurab Kizhanishvili was very harshly sent off for a second bookable offence. Jimmy Kebe was outstanding once again, scoring the opening goal, with Ian Harte and sub Hal Robson Kanu also finding the net.
Brian McDermott made three changes from the team that lost to Middlesbrough, with Alex Pearce dropped at last with Kizhanishvili replacing him at centre back. Simon Church replaced the suspended Brian Howard, with the side reverting to a 442 formation, and the final change saw Chris Armstrong come in for his first league start since April 2009 in centre midfield for the injured Brynjar Gunnarsson. He had played there for the reserves in midweek but strange to see him in the middle after he had only played at left back in the past for the club, a welcome return none the less.
The Royals started well and Matt Mills had the first chance of the game but could only head wide, and moments later Armstrong almost sets up a goal for Church but the defender just cleared in time to deny the Welsh striker.
Long and Church were linking up well upfront and the Irish striker went close after his partner set him up, before Church made Barnsley keeper Luke Steele make a save for the first time after 20 minutes.
The visitors had barely been in the game but had a great chance to score when Adam Hammill broke with the ball, alongside two of his team mates, only for Shaun Cummings to put in enough pressure to force an error and we got enough back to clear. Before the break we had a shout for a penalty when Mills effort appeared to be handled but nothing was given before Kizhanishvili went close when up for a corner. It was goal less at the break.
The second half continued in the same manner as the first and Long forced Steele into another good save, and then Church was denied by a defender when trying to score. The referee then took over with some outrageous decisions.
Firstly he booked Armstrong for chesting the ball down, apparently suggesting he handled it when he clearly didn`t, and then sent off Kizhanishvili for outmuscling a defender. The decision to award a free kick was bad enough but then he gave the Georgian defender a second yellow, after a brief chat with the linesman.
It wasn`t enough to put the Royals down though, and Jimmy Kebe in particular. The flying winger set up Long after a brilliant run forward but the Irishman`s header was saved, but when the Mali man was given an opportunity himself he did not disappoint.
Sub Hal Robson Kanu found space to cross and Kebe came steaming into head home to give the Barnsley defence and keeper no chance whatsoever! A brilliant goal and one that was totally deserved after we had dominated this game.
It looked like we would have to see out the final 10 minutes as Barnsley had a bit of possession but as the clock ticked 90 we made the points safe. Kebe, surprise surprise, won a free kick on the edge of the area and Ian Harte stepped up and drilled the ball in off the post to score his second goal in Royals colours.
In stoppage time a Barnsley free kick was charged down and the ball was picked up by Robson Kanu, who raced the length of the field and drove the ball into the back of the net for his first goal for the Royals in the league, adding to his strike in the Carling Cup this season.
The win was secured with our best performance of the season so far and the three points send us up to 7th, just outside the play offs.