Pog on form, as Royals dismiss Donny
Saturday 19th October 2013
Attendance: 17,697 (Away: 569)
Reading put in one of their best performances of the season, as they beat Doncaster 4-1 at the Madejski Stadium, to rise into the play-off places.
Despite a two-week international break, Nigel Adkins was still dealt with a few injury problems, with Royston Drenthe, Danny Williams, Mikele Leigertwood and Billy Sharp still out, while Alex McCarthy picked up an injury in training just the week. This meant a first league start of the season for goalkeeper Adam Federici, while Adam Le Fondre and Pavel Pogrebnyak were paired up front together.
It was a frantic & positive start from the Royals, who wanted to take advantage of a nervy-looking Doncaster side, who had only conceded four goals away from home all season. The early pressure did lead to a deserved goal and it was a superb team goal at that, as Pogrebnyak was set through by Le Fondre and his ball inside was laid off by McCleary for Guthrie, who finished superbly from the edge of the box.
The opening exchanges of the game made it seem that Reading were going to hit the away side for four or five, and they almost had a second minutes later, as Guthrie`s dangerous cross from the right was attacked by Le Fondre, but former defender Bongani Khumalo deflected it away from goal. Turnbull was then forced into action to deny young Obita with a great save, after good play from the Pog.
With credit going to Donny boss Paul Dickov, the turning point in the first half was his choice to revert to 4-4-2 & bringing on Theo Robinson. The away side looked much more dangerous with two men up top and got themselves back into the game on the half hour mark. Pearce conceded a free kick twenty yards out and Duffy`s free kick was saved superbly by Federici, but Robinson smashed in the rebound.
The Royals would have felt hard done by after their good start and especially after Turnbull made another fantastic save minutes previous, after Guthrie`s effort was deflected. Donny were growing in confidence and almost took the lead, as Khumalo`s powerful header just went over the crossbar. Garath McCleary almost caught them on the break though, after a superb 40-yard driving run, forced Turnbull into a low save.
Reading did retake the lead five minutes before the break though, with McCleary again proving to be the driving force in the goal. The former Forest man ran through the Donny midfielder and dissected the defence with a great pass for Le Fondre to improvise superbly with his back to goal and flick the ball delicately and luckily trickle over Turnbull`s line. The away side were getting back into it, but Adkins` probably deserved it on the run of play.
After the break, Reading continued to play on the front foot and Le Fondre had a header just wide, after good wing play from right-back Chris Gunter. Pavel Pogrebnyak was playing his best game in a Reading shirt today and almost got a deserved goal, as the Russian`s good control gave McCleary space and his pull back to the Pog was well-timed, but he fired his effort into the side netting.
The away side were to be dealt a hammer blow in the final quarter of the game, as Rob Jones had to be taken off due to a serious arm injury, which left Doncaster with just ten men, as they had used all of their allocated substitutions. This really opened up the floodgates from Reading`s point of view, as the visitors had to go for an equaliser with a man light and the Royals duly took advantage of this numerical benefit.
Substitutes Hal Robson-Kanu and Jobi McAnuff were linking up superbly on the left hand side in their short cameo roles and it was this that led to the third, as Robson-Kanu`s cross was missed by the skipper, but fell kindly to Garath McCleary to finish exquisitely first time from twelve yards. Adam Federici was forced into a rare save into injury time, after parrying away Robinson`s firm, long range effort.
Pogrebnyak was unarguably man of the match after a superb performance and it would only be fair that he got a goal to show for it. The Russian forward was played through and despite having a tight angle to aim at, shrugged of Khumalo and smashed an effort past a similarly impressive Turnbull in the Doncaster goal. It was probably our best attacking display of the season and takes us into the play-off places.
Reading - 4-4-2: Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Morrison, Bridge, McCleary, Baird, Guthrie, Obita, Le Fondre, Pogrebnyak
Subs: Taylor, Gorkss, Kelly, Akpan, McAnuff, Robson-Kanu, Blackman
Doncaster - 4-5-1: Turnbull, Quinn, Jones, Khumalo, Wabara, Duffy, Keegan, Wellens, Furman, Coppinger, Brown
Subs: Maxted, Cotterill, McCullough, De Val, Bennett, Robinson, Paynter