Nugent penalty defeats Reading
King Power Stadium
Thursday 26th December 2013
A David Nugent penalty meant Reading fell to a second consecutive defeat, as they were beaten by fellow-promotion hopefuls Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.
Royals boss Nigel Adkins, unlike his counterpart Nigel Pearson, made one change to his side that started against Wigan, as Nick Blackman replaced Billy Sharp, reverting to a 4-2-3-1 system. Neither side really had the better of the opening exchanges at the King Power Stadium, with both teams restricted to long-range efforts - Lloyd Dyer`s shot at Alex McCarthy was the only effort of note.
The game was brought to life though by the direct running of Leicester`s Anthony Knockaert, who was hauled down in the area on twenty minutes by Shaun Cummings. David Nugent took up penalty duty and duly scored the opener for the home side. The floodlight failure was becoming a problem as the game drew on, but Reading`s defending at times was worrying enough.
David Nugent was close to doubling his tally, as he managed to hit the post, before having another effort just wide minutes later. The away side rarely provided a threat in the first half, failing to have a single shot on target. Danny Drinkwater had an effort saved well by McCarthy in injury time, as he showed good feet down the right-hand side.
On the basis of this performance, we could only hope for the power cut to continue! The referee spoke to both captains about the situation during the first half, but continued with play for the time being. Into the second half, the Foxes started well and could have scored an early second, as Vardy was slipped in by Drinkwater, but the angle was too tight for the striker to score.
Adkins` side were slowly improving at the King Power and twice went very close in a matter of moments. Alex Pearce had a header cleared off the line, before Royston Drenthe came within inches of scoring his first Reading goal, as Schmiechel pulled of a fantastic save from the Dutchman`s free kick. Drenthe tried his luck again after a good bursting run, but his effort at goal was wild.
Reading were playing with some confidence now, after the hosts had dominated the majority of the game. Kaspars Gorkss had a header at goal just go wide, when he probably felt he should have done better. Pogrebnyak then had a superb header disallowed for offside by the officials - this was a very good spell for the away side, but no goals to show for it.
Leicester winger Lloyd Dyer then embarked on an outstanding Kebe-esque 70-yard run, running the Royals defence ragged, but his final effort lacked the killer finish, firing it into the side netting. Anthony Knockaert was proving a nuisance to Cummings and got the better of him again, but his effort was straight-forward for McCarthy to gather.
Dyer was a threat again on the break for the home side, breaking from a Reading corner up the other end, but was denied by a superb block by Chris Gunter. Sharp and Le Fondre were brought on by Adkins in an attempt to get something from the game, but time was running out. Gunter attempted the spectacular with a long-range volley, but as you would expect, sailed harmlessly wide.
The clock ran down and despite a much-improved second half for Reading, they left Leicester with a loss. I don`t think we can say we expected to get anything from the game, but the first half showings of late are becoming a concern, as it often takes the second half to get us up and going, but the goals conceded in the first half are giving us too much to do.
Leicester - 4-4-2: Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan, Moore, Konchesky, Knockaert, James, Drinkwater, Dyer, Vardy, Nugent
Subs: Logan, Wasilewski, Miquel, Hammond, King, Taylor-Fletcher, Waghorn
Reading - 4-2-3-1: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Cummings, Williams, Guthrie, Blackman, McAnuff, Drenthe, Pogrebnyak
Subs: Federici, Kelly, Akpan, McCleary, J.Taylor, Le Fondre, Sharp