Captains brace helps Royals into play-off places
26th December 2011
Two goals from Reading captain Jobi McAnuff helped his team to overcome Gus Poyet`s Brighton 3-0 at the Madejski on this Boxing Day afternoon, with an El-Abd own goal adding to the Seagulls misery.
Brian McDermott made one change to the side that beat Leeds nine days ago, with Jimmy Kebe returning from injury to replace Hal Robson-Kanu. The home side controlled the play for the first 10 minutes, keeping the ball well and Karacan having a 25-yard shot that almost caught out Ankergren.
The chances kept on coming for the Royals as minutes later Jimmy Kebe had a close-range effort cleared off the line from Dunk. In form striker Simon Church then almost got his fourth game in three games but didn`t connect well enough from McAnuff`s good cross.
It was only a matter of time before the Royals scored and they did on 17 minutes. Good build-up on the right allowed Kebe put a hopeful cross into the box, which captain Jobi McAnuff met perfectly to give his side a arguably deserved lead.
The goal really woke Gus Poyet`s side up, getting into the game more as the half went on. The closest they came in the first period was a curling Matt Sparrow effort, which just went narrowly wide of Federici`s left hand post.
Brighton looked dangerous on the break but Reading were pushing for a two goal cushion. Le Fondre almost ensured this but his header was straight at Ankergren. However, the two goal advantage was secured again from Jobi McAnuff, who cut inside of his man and shot, taking a big deflection and ending up in the back of the net.
The Seagulls would have been shell-shocked with the goal before half time a damaging blow. They came out in the second period looking focused and wanting to get back into the game. A Tarrico shot wasn`t the best effort but showed a few warning signs to the Royals.
Up the other end, Adam le Fondre struck a 30-yard shot which just went wide. Substitute Billy Paynter then had a great chance to reduce the deficit as good play from fellow substitute Craig Noone set up the striker but the former Swindon player somehow put it wide.
The visitors then had a penalty appeal turned down by the referee after Griffin appeared to bundle over Mackail-Smith. The striker was then in the spotlight as he missed a great chance as a good ball from the dangerous Noone was somehow headed wide by the Scotsman.
Minutes later he missed another great opportunity as a ball over the top was missed by everyone but Mackail-Smith couldn`t profit and put it wide. The visitors would have been frustrated to not score after some great chances, but the Royals were to profit from this poor finishing.
Into injury time the Royals broke and Kebe played the ball across the box, only to be turned into his own net from El-Abd to pile more misery onto Brighton and to secure a consecutive 3-0 victory at home for the Royals. It also pushed Reading into the play-off places for the first time this season.
Reading: Federici, Cummings, Pearce, Gorkss, Griffin, Kebe, Karacan, Leigertood, McAnuff (C), Church, Le Fondre
Subs: Andersen, Harte, Tabb, Antonio, Hunt
Brighton: Ankergen, El-Abd, Dunk, Greer (C), Tarrico, Buckley, Bridcutt, Harley, Sparrow, Lua Lua, Mackail-Smith
Subs: Brezovan, Navarro, Hall, Noone, Paynter