Alfie on fire again, as Royals thrash Blackpool
Tuesday 28th January 2014
Reading bounced back from their defeat to Ipswich on Saturday, as a second consecutive home hat trick from Adam Le Fondre set the Royals on their way to a convincing 5-1 win over managerless Blackpool.
Nigel Adkins named a fourth consecutive unchanged team, despite a first defeat in four games to Ipswich on Saturday and was once again rewarded with this consistency. Visitors Blackpool had not won in eleven games, but were showing good attacking intent early on at the Madejski Stadium, but were eventually caught for leaving space in behind, as the Royals took the lead.
Garath McCleary is the highest-assist player in the league and was carrying on in this vein, after dodging his man, had a deflected left foot effort coming off a Blackpool defender and kindly into the path of Adam le Fondre to tap in from five yards. The away side did have some good attacking breaks, but could not take advantage of them, as a second came ten minutes later.
Skipper Jobi McAnuff`s corner from the left was attacked by Alex Pearce at the back post, and his goalbound header was knocked in by Le Fondre, once again proving his lethal touch in the six yard box. The confidence was now in the full flow for Adkins` side, who were looking like they wanted a repeat scoreline of the 7-1 Bolton thrashing at the Madejski two weeks ago.
A corner from Reading was originally cleared by Blackpool, but recycled the ball out to the right hand side and Chris Gunter`s cross was met by Kaspars Gorkss who stayed up from the corner, but his header went just over. Kirk Broadfoot then almost had egg over his face, as the dangerous McCleary fired a low cross into the area, which the defender scuffed, but luckily for him, looped over the bar.
Jobi McAnuff is yet to score this season and came close to ending that drought, as Pearce and Le Fondre linked up from a corner again, but the latter teed up McAnuff on the edge of the box, but his firm effort was deflected wide. The Reading pressure continued, as Blackpool could not forge any decent shooting opportunity, seemingly missing their key talisman Tom Ince, who is set for a move away.
The second period started once again with Reading dominating proceedings, as Pogrebnyak forced an early superb save out of Michael Gilks in the Blackpool goal, doing well to palm the Russian`s effort wide after McAnuff`s clever pass set to him through. The third came soon after though, as Le Fondre slotted in Pogrebnyak, with the Russian cooly slotting the ball into the corner.
The chances were flowing for Reading, something that hasn`t been much of a regular feature this season. McAnuff drove inside from the left and his incisive & clever pass set Alfie through for his hat trick, but fluffed his left foot effort and bobbled harmlessly wide. Blackpool got a goal back though and it was a sublime effort from Stephen Davies, a fantastic 30-yard finish, giving McCarthy no chance.
This goal came out of nowhere, but would have given the away side a lifeline, as it appeared some nerves were creeping into Reading`s game. These nerves were soon dashed though, as Le Fondre scored his second consecutive home hat trick. McCleary drove forward and weighted a pass perfectly into the striker`s path, before confidently dinking it over Gilks to seal the three points.
Substitute Hal Robson-Kanu returned from injury to play a central striker role and was proving his worth there, firstly forcing a good save out of Gilks, firing in a snapshot effort from the edge of the box. Robson-Kanu would eventually score though and it was a great strike too, receiving the ball from the midfield, turning and firing in a superb twenty yard effort for a fifth goal for the home side.
After all his unselfish work all night, McCleary almost got a goal he deserved, but his ambitious volley from the edge of the area went over the bar. It was another thumping home win, which now means we are the highest home scorers in the league. We now need to take this confidence and goal scoring form into our away games and try to cement our play off place, or maybe even better it!
Reading - 4-4-2: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Obita, McCleary, Akpan, Williams, McAnuff (C), Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre
Subs: McCarthy, Hector, Kelly, J.Taylor, Blackman, Drenthe, Robson-Kanu
Blackpool - 4-4-2: Gilks, McMahon, Cathcart, Broadfoot, Robinson, Basham, Perkins, Osbourne, Eccleston, Davies, Chopra
Subs: Warner, Dodd, Caton, Angel, Halliday, Tyson, Goodwillie