Hunt goal enough to down Pompey
6th March 2012
Attendance: 18,399 (1,340 away)
A 24th minute goal from striker Noel Hunt was enough to seal Reading`s seventh consecutive victory against financially-troubled Portsmouth, who now find themselves bottom on the nPower Championship.
Brian McDermott was still without key winger Jimmy Kebe and was missing Paul Connolly but had Shaun Cummings back in reserve for this fixture. However, it was Pompey took the early initiative in the match, closing Reading down at every opportunity and denying them space.
The opening 10 minutes struggled to show any clear cut chances for either side. Royals captain Jobi McAnuff found the beating of former player Greg Halford on numerous occasions down the right but the Reading strike force could not capitalise on this.
Defender Kaspars Gorkss has been enjoying some decent defensive displays as of late but could well have found himself on the score sheet as a dangerous set-piece from Ian Harte was headed way over by Latvian captain when he was unmarked.
Reading were starting to get into the game and show some of the credentials that has seen them six consecutive games before this encounter, Gorkss` centre back partner Alex Pearce also had a chance of his own from a set-piece but similarly, he could not profit.
However, the deadlock was broken by the home side on 24 minutes, as very clever work from striker Jason Roberts allowed him to whip in a dangerous cross, which Noel Hunt got a slight touch on with his head to put the Royals one up and keep the fantastic run rolling on.
Pompey struggled to find anything in reply and Reading were firmly in the ascendency. Karacan attempted an audacious 30-yard effort, while Hunt almost scored his second of the game from McAnuff`s cross but his header was an easy save for Stephen Henderson.
The second half started in a similar vein to how the first period ended, with the Royals keeping the ball but struggling to make progress with it. Pompey started to show heart as the half veered on, with Scott Allen going on a superb 30-yard run but couldn`t find an end product.
Royals striker Adam Le Fondre scored the winning goal against Millwall just three days ago and almost scored again, as good improvisation almost paid off from McAnuff`s cross but his audacious flick hit the side netting.
The second half was far from a spectacle and the visitors failed to test Adam Federici a huge amount. Marcos Fuctas seemed he may have had a chance with minutes to play, but didn`t connect with his shot from the edge of the box.
Reading comfortably saw the match out, in a game that won`t particularly be remembered by the quality involved but did not lack effort from both sides. This result leaves Reading third, just three points off Southampton with a game in hand on the league leaders.
Reading: Federici, Cummings, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte, McAnuff, Karacan, Leigertwood, Robson-Kanu, Hunt, Roberts
Subs: Andersen, Tabb, Cywka, Le Fondre, Church
Portsmouth: Henderson, Moekena, Rocha, Pearce, Ward, Halford, Mullins, Norris, Allan, Thorne, Varney
Subs: Ashdown, Webster, Etuhu, Kitson, Fuctas