Long brace beats Burnley
3rd January 2011
Shane Long scored twice as the Royals came from behind to beat Burnley at the Madejski Stadium in an entertaining Bank Holiday game. Ross Wallace had given the visitors the lead but Long replied straight away before winning the game with a second half header.
Brian McDermott reverted back to the side that had served him so well in the last few games making four changes from the side that lost to Swansea. Mikele Leigertwood and Jobi McAnuff recovered from injury and illness to take their place in the starting 11, whilst Jem Karacan and Noel Hunt came back in after being rested for the game at the Liberty Stadium.
We started the game well and Shane Long got a couple of sights at goal early on but it was Burnley who went on to dominate the first period of the half. A lovely move forward eventually saw Steven Thompson dummy the ball for Dean Marney but the former Hull midfielder put his effort straight at Adam Federici when either side it would have been a goal.
They continued to attack the Royals goal and Marney wasted another chance when he raced into the area but his effort went well wide. It was no surprise when they did take the lead and it was some pretty poor defending that allowed them to score. Firstly Ian Harte was easily beaten for pace by right back Tyrone Mears and the ball was pulled back to Ross Wallace just inside the area. The winger was given the freedom to take a touch and pick his spot in the bottom corner and raced away to celebrate in front of the visiting supporters.
That shocked us into life and within two minutes we were level, Noel Hunt flicking the ball through for Long who raced through on goal and calmly slotted into the bottom corner. It was a fine finish but he owed a great deal to Hunt whose sublime flick set him away.
Before the break Marney was denied again this time by the crossbar with Federici beaten all ends up, whilst Long had another sight of goal but had to settle for level scores at the break.
The second period began well and Long was put through on goal by a ball from Jem Karacan but he put his effort wide and before long it was clear that Burnley were being let off the hook thanks to our finishing. Kebe`s shot from a cross from the left appeared to be heading for the bottom corner but was cleared on the line.
Eventually we were rewarded with what proved to be the winning goal after Jobi McAnuff won a corner on the left hand side. He took it himself and the excellent delivery found its way tothe far post where Long was on hand to score his second of the match.
There was time to Marney to waste another chance for the visitors and sub Simon Church to have a goal ruled out for offside, after an excellent through ball from McAnuff. In stoppage time Burnley had one last chance to score with a free kick on the edge of the area but thankfully for us, Ross Wallace`s efforts clipped the cross bar and went over.
Burnley could well feel had done by to come away with nothing from this game but we felt the same after Saturday`s defeat at Swansea so it was a vital three points in the race for the play offs.