Late Le Fondre double takes Reading top
6th April 2012
A late double from Adam Le Fondre gave Reading the victory over 10 man Leeds at the Madejski Stadium, taking the Royals top of the league.
Reading started the game on the front foot, knowing full well that a win would take them top of the Championship. An influx of set pieces almost paid off in the opening minutes but despite Noel Hunt rising well from an Ian Harte delivery, he couldn`t test Lonergan in the Leeds goal.
The Irish striker than had another half chance when the ball sat up nicely for him but his half-volleyed effort didn`t carry much conviction and bobbled through harmlessly to Lonergan. Neil Warnock`s side then had a half chance themselves when Becchio`s header was straight at Federici.
The games turning point was to occur on 12 minutes as Leeds were reduced to 10 men. Young Zac Thompson tried to shepherd the ball out of play but failed, leading to the midfielder lunging in recklessly on Jem Karacan. Referee Darren Drysdale took the decision to send the youth player off, leaving Neil Warnock seething.
Thompson`s red card would now change the whole complex of the game, with a Reading barrage camped in the Leeds half. Former Leeds player Ian Harte then unintentionally hit the woodwork against his former side after a cross from the left side.
Brian McDermott`s side were becoming continually frustrated with a resolute Leeds side who were not opening up as easy as they were in the opening stages. Captain Jobi McAnuff drove in from the left but his curling effort sailed harmlessly over the bar.
Despite constant Reading pressure in the first half, Leeds came out a different side in the second period. A 30-yard free kick was struck well by Leeds talisman Robert Snodgrass, which forced Federici into a smart save at his far post.
However, this was the wakeup call that Reading required. Ian Harte`s expert deliveries were causing problems for the Leeds defence and goalkeeper Andy Lonergan but no Reading players couldn`t find the telling touch to give their team a crucial lead.
Substitute Hal Robson-Kanu then had a great chance to open the scoring as Reading broke, allowing Jason Roberts to find the Welsh international but his touch let him down when he had space to finish. Royals defender Alex Pearce then had a header which just looped over the bar.
Reading continued to dominate the play but the away side were always a threat on the break. A long throw in was not cleared by the Reading defence, allowing their top-scorer Ross McCormack space on the edge of the box to shoot across Federici`s but his effort shaved the outside of the post.
Leeds then even had a better chance and without the best chance of the game on 73 minutes. McCormack pulled out the Reading centre half as he found space on the right, playing the ball across for Robert Snodgrass ten yards out, but the Scottish international`s shot was poor and kept out easily by Federici.
The frustration continued for Reading as they thought they were in front on 82 minutes but the linesman flag was up. Substitute Adam Le Fondre moved too early, as McAnuff`s deflected effort fell to the former Rotherham striker to tap home.
However, the deadlock was to be broken a minute later by the same man, but was onside in this instance. Shaun Cummings` deep cross was met at the back post by Robson-Kanu who headed across for Adam Le Fondre to bundle the ball home.
Reading were not happy to just sit on this lead as they went out in search for a second. Robson-Kanu found Mikele Leigertwood lurking on the edge of the box and tried to curl an effort into Lonergan`s far corner but the keeper thwarted his 18-yard strike.
The second did come five minutes later and it was the poacher Adam Le Fondre again. Leigertwood drove down the right side to found Jason Roberts in the box, who spun his man and his cross-shot was tapped home by super sub Le Fondre.
Reading: Federici, Cummings, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte, Kebe, Leigertwood, Karacan, McAnuff, Hunt, Roberts
Subs: McCarthy, Mullins, Robson-Kanu, Church, Le Fondre
Leeds: Lonergan, Lees, Bruce, Bromby, Robinson, Snodgrass, Brown, Thompson, Pugh, McCormack, Becchio
Subs: Taylor, Rogers, Webber, Forssell, Paynter