Church goal downs Leeds
17th December 2011
A second minute goal from in-form striker Simon Church gave the Royals all three points at Elland Road on Saturday afternoon.
Reading boss Brian McDermott was forced to make three changes to his line-up that defeated West Ham 3-0 last week, with Jimmy Kebe, Ian Harte and Noel Hunt all picking up knocks during the week. In came And Griffin, Robson-Kanu and Simon Church, with the Royals bench looking quite weak.
The game had a frantic start as the Royals took the lead in just under two minutes. Simon Church is the only Reading player to score in the first half this season and he did it again, as the Welshman run through when no-one did and chipped Lonergan superbly to give the Royals a surprise lead.
Leeds retained the majority of the ball after the restart, putting some dangerous crosses into the box which the Reading defence dealt with. Despite this pressure, there were no real chances for the home side, similarly to the visitors.
Leeds had Andy Lonergan in goal instead of Alex McCarthy as the Whites were playing his parent club and the former Preston stopper was forced into action on 20 minutes. Good build up play from Robson-Kanu and Le Fondre teed up McAnuff but his curling effort was saved from Lonergan.
The home side did then create a half-chance minutes later as Becchio attempted a half-volley in the box but Gorkss blocked well. The half struggled to create chances despite the flow of attacks, with the Latvian captain having a chance of his own from Leigertwood`s free kick but headed over.
Simon Grayson`s side did manage to find a decent chance into first half injury time, as Snodgrass delivered a great cross into the box for McCormack, but his header was straight at Federici, which meant the Royals went in at half time with the lead.
At the start of the second period, the hosts almost equalised from a complete fluke as Paul Connolly`s over-hit cross almost looped in if it wasn`t for Federici`s squandering hand. Leeds continued to press and a clever flick from Clayton forced Federici into a smart save.
A Gorkss slip then almost proved costly for the Royals but Becchio failed to read it. Substitute Andy Keogh then attempted an audacious overhead kick. The pressure continued from the home side as a scramble in the box almost led to an equaliser but Becchio couldn`t connect.
However, Brian McDermott`s side were always going to be a threat on the break and it almost paid off as captain McAnuff sent Cummings away and his cross met Church, whose header skimmed the bar. Although, the Welshman was offside and wouldn`t have counted.
Fellow substitute Michail Antonio`s encouraging cross in injury time could have sealed the points had Church made decent contact. However, the Royals saw the game out for a fantastic victory and their first win at Elland Road in the league.
Leeds: Lonergan, Connolly, Kisnorbo ©, Lees, Pugh, Snodgrass, Brown, Clayton, White, McCormack, Becchio
Subs: Taylor, O`Dea, Vayrynen, Sam, Keogh
Reading: Federici, Cummings, Pearce, Gorkss, Griffin, McAnuff ©, Leigertwood, Karacan, Robson-Kanu, Le Fondre, Church
Subs: Andersen, Morrison, Tabb, D`Ath, Antonio