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Royals abysmal as Stevenage progress

0 - 1

Madejski Stadium

7th January 2012

Attendance: 11,295


A clueless and slacking Reading side lost at the hands of League One opposition Stevenage this afternoon, thanks to a deflected effort from Darius Charles in the 20th minute.

Brian McDermott made three changes to the team that lost at Cardiff, with two being enforced. Hal Robson-Kanu and Adam le Fondre came in for the injured Noel Hunt and Jimmy Kebe, while Jay Tabb was given a start ahead of Jem Karacan, who was rested.

The game endured a scrappy start, as Wilson almost curled an effort in from the edge of the bix, but Federici made a smart save to palm it wide. The Royals did then have a half chance minutes later as Welshman Simon Church scuffed his shot, but was deflected just wide of the post.

Stevenage continued to control the play, with Graham Westley`s side proving more than a match for Brian McDermott`s men. Reading failed to have a decent spell in the first period but Stevenage did and eventually took the lead on 20 minutes.

Captain Jobi McAnuff was indecisive in clearing the ball and eventually gave it away, leading to Darius Charles getting the ball at his feet and his effort deflected off a Reading defender, wrong-footing Federici and giving the visitors a dream start at the Madejski.

Jay Tabb still hasn`t scored for Reading but came within inches of ending his drought as the ball came to him on the edge of the area, despite meeting it well, it just went wide. Stevenage were not going to sit on their lead, in fact they searched for a second. Byrom`s 30-yard thunderbolt just went wide of Federici`s goal.

Chances were flowing for the visitors as they had another chance to extend the lead. Goalscorer Darius Charles should have done much better from five yards as the ball fell to him, but could only blaze way over the bar.

The second period started with the hosts showing some flow to their game. Adam le Fondre struck a superb 25-yard effort, which Day just about managed to keep out. Brian McDermott decided to shift it around, bringing on Michail Antonio.

The best and only clear cut chance for the Royals then fell to Antonio, as Church did very well to flick the ball onto the winger, but he somehow sliced his shot wide. The visitors then went up the other end to almost make the Royals pay, as Wilson came close again but his was again stopped by Federici.

Stevenage striker Beardlsey then had an effort after he turned well. Reading started to turn up the heat in the last 15 minutes, putting some rare pressure on the Stevenage goal. Robson-Kanu crossed well for Church to meet it from five yards but it was just wide.

The dangerous long-range shooter Byrom then had another 30-yard drive, which was again thwarted by Federici. Stevenage broke away once again, with Wilson having another shot at goal but Federici pulled off a stupendous save to keep the score line respectable.

The Royals pressed in the final few minutes. Antonio had a shot blocked inside the Stevenage box but that summed up a gutless performance from Reading, who failed to get into any sort of flow during the game.

Reading: Federici, Cummings, Gorkss, Pearce, Harte, Leigertwood, Tabb, McAnuff (c), Robson-Kanu, Church, Le Fondre

Subs: Andersen, Mills, Morrison, Gunnarsson, D'Ath, Antonio, Manset

Stevenage: Day, Henry, Laird, Ashton, Roberts ©, Byrom, Bostwick, Wilson, Freeman, Beardsley, Charles

Subs: Julian, Long, Cowan, Thalassitis, Harrison, Edwards, Shroot

Star Player

Adam Federici - not for the first time this season, kept the scoreline very respectable. In the form of his life at the moment, wouldn't be surprised if he was snapped up by a Premier League side soon.

Date:Saturday January 7 2012
Time: 6:10PM

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