Roberts goal earns fourth win in row
17th February 2012
Attendance: 17,185 (476 away)
Jason Roberts` third goal in four games was enough to earn Reading a 1-0 win over play-off chasing Burnley, which has put the Royals up to third in the table after four consecutive wins.
Royals boss Brian McDermott could welcome back captain Jobi McAnuff for the first time in five games at the expense of Hal Robson-Kanu, who dropped to the bench. It was a very even start to the encounter but as the 10 minute mark approached, the Clarets started to take control
Good play down the left between Mee and McQuoid allowed the former Bournemouth player to cross for an unmarked Charlie Austin, whose header came back off the bar with Federici left stranded. The former Royals trainee was keen to prove a point to the club that let him go as a junior.
This gave the Royals a decent wake-up call and started to work there may into match, with wing duo Jimmy Kebe and Jobi McAnuff causing plenty of problems. And it was through that Reading took the lead on 12 minutes as good work from McAnuff teed up Jason Roberts whose scuffed left-footed found its way over Lee Grant in the Burnley goal.
Many thought captain Jobi McAnuff was due to a spell on the sidelines after a hernia problem but was a surprise inclusion and was proving a real handful for the Clarets defence. On numerous occasions he cut inside the Burnley back line but lacked the final product.
Despite this pressure, the visitors once again came back into the game. Chris McCan sliced on effort from the edge of the box after Reading failed to clear a succession of corners. However, Reading had a great chance to double their lead.
A surging 40-yard from Jimmy Kebe, he was hacked down by Michael Duff and from the resulting Ian Harte free kick, Ben Mee showed some brave examples of defending as he twice blocked efforts from Hunt and Roberts after Lee Grant fumbled the set-piece.
Eddie Howe`s side came out after half-time keen to make an impression with being behind in the game. Austin found himself a rare chance getting behind the Reading backline but Federici made a decent save form his one-on-one effort.
The Clarets had already hit the woodwork once this evening and it was to deny them again as a corner to the near post was headed goal wards by dangerman Jay Rodriguez but the post was to stop the scores being level.
The game continued to prove to be end to end in the final quarter. Jimmy Kebe had a header cleared off the line by Kieran Trippier on 70 minutes, before Martin Paterson almost recreated his magic as he did in the play-offs three years ago but his half volley went wide.
The match eventually drifted away with Burnley not applying a huge amount of pressure in injury time, a Rodriguez effort from the edge of the box was the closest the away side came to scoring an equaliser.
Hunt could have sealed the points late on but his pass across goal was too much for Le Fondre or Kebe to tap in. However, it didn`t prove to be crucial as Jason Robert`s goal was enough to take Reading up to third and put them well in the race for automatic promotion.
Reading: Federici, Connolly, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte, Kebe, Leigertwood, Karacan, McAnuff, Hunt, Roberts
Subs: Andersen, Tabb, Cywka, Robson-Kanu, Le Fondre
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Edgar, Mee, Wallace, Marney, McCann, McQuoid, Austin, Rodriguez
Subs: Jensen, Easton, Bartley, Ings, Paterson