Royals sneak first win in five
6th November 2011
Attendance: 18,361 (1,297 away)
A 75th minute winner from substitute Noel Hunt gave Reading their first win in five games against Chris Hughton`s Birmingham City at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon. The game itself wasn`t a spectacle, with chances lacking either end of the pitch.
Royals boss Brian McDermott made two changes to the team that lost at Nottingham Forest in midweek, with Simon Church and Jimmy Kebe coming in at the expense of Mathieu Manset and winger Hal Robson-Kanu.
The home side enjoyed the early possession at the Madejski Stadium, with defender Kaspars Gorkss forcing Boaz Myhill into a decent save from a corner. Reading continued to press the Blues, another corner causing havoc in the Birmingham area but managed to clear.
Birmingham had their first decent effort of the night through talisman Chris Wood on 16 minutes, whose firm effort stung the palms of Reading keeper Adam Federici. The New Zealand international then had another decent chance as Burke crossed but put his header wide.
The Federici-Wood battle was to continue as the striker shot from 25-yard which caused trouble for the Australian but Shaun Cummings managed to get it away. Federici would then deny Wood again, as he kept out his low drive towards goal.
Joseph Mills has been under some pressure in recent weeks put almost got his first goal in a Reading shirt, as his 30-yard curling effort was tipped over the bar by Blues keeper Myhill. Reading captain Jobi McAnuff then went close with a header, with Myhill left stranded.
The second half in comparison was very scrappy compared to the first half, with the first decent chance coming on 60 minutes from Simon Church, as his header lacked the power and direction to beat Myhill in the Birmingham goal.
This chance was to set the game alight as clever winger Chris Burke fired an effort from 30-yards, just dipping over Federici`s crossbar, with Burke wanting a corner. However, the clearest chance of the game fell to skipper McAnuff as he intercepted a Blues pass on the edge of the box and found himself through but could only shoot straight at Myhill.
Before this game, the Birmingham defence was the meanest in the Championship having not conceded in the league since the start of October. Although this run was to come to an end, as McAnuff`s scuffed cross found its way to Noel Hunt, who managed to slip it under Myhill to give the Royals the lead.
Compared to the last home fixture against Southampton, the Royals managed to see out the win and gain the three points against one of the promotion contenders.
Reading: Federici, Cummings, Pearce, Gorkss, Mills, Kebe, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Church, Le Fondre
Subs: Andersen, Harte, Robson-Kanu, Hunt, Manset
Birmingham: Myhill, Carr, Caldwell, Davies, Ridgewell, Elliot, Spector, Fahey, Burke, King, Wood
Subs: Doyle, Murphy, n`Daw, Redmond, Zigic