Reading compile McDermott misery with victory
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Reading`s play-off hopes remained intact, after piling more misery on former manager Brian McDermott and Leeds, beating them 4-2 at Elland Road last night.
Birthday boy Nigel Adkins made three changes to his side, bringing in skipper Jobi McAnuff, Kaspars Gorkss and Garath McCleary, who were all on the bench against Brighton last week. The game was due to kick off at 7.45pm, but due to congestion problems, was delayed by 30 minutes. It was fairly even in the opening exchanges in Yorkshire, with Connor Wickham having the first effort at goal.
Reading looked as if they were going to play on the break at Elland Road, with good pace in a front four of Robson-Kanu, McAnuff, McCleary and Drenthe. It was a break that brought about our first meaningful attack, as HRK did well to create space for Drenthe, but his deflected effort fell to feet of McAnuff, but the skipper couldn`t take advantage, as he didn`t make clean connection with the ball.
We did soon take the lead soon after though, all through Leeds` own undoing. A ball was played back between Butland and Jason Pearce, and miscommunication between the two allowed Garath McCleary to close down the keeper`s kick and tap into an empty net. It was a gift for Royals, but the home side were struggling to break down our defence, with Pearce and Gorkss looking comfortable.
Danny Guthrie eyed up a free-kick from long range soon after, but despite getting it over the wall and on target, it didn`t carry enough pace to test Butland. The one-time England international was soon forced into a good save though, as McCleary`s early cross found Robson-Kanu, who despite looking like he wasted his chance at the back post, was denied with a crucial touch from the keeper.
From this corner, Alex Pearce would have been disappointed to not have got his header on target at the back post, having been unmarked from Drenthe`s corner. It was clear Leeds were lacking in confidence, with this transmitting onto their fans at Elland Road, who in their last game witnessed a 5-1 mauling at the hands of Bolton. It seemed a similar mauling was on the cards just after half time.
Lone strike Robson-Kanu used his body well to win a free kick on the edge of the area, which was dispatched very well by Royston Drenthe beating Butland on his side with sheer power and technique - it was the Duthman`s second goal in as many games. It wasn`t the best start to the second period from McDermott`s men and it wasn`t going to get any better minutes later either.
After a Reading corner into the area was clear away by the hosts, Jobi McAnuff recycled the ball and passed the ball to Guthrie, whose cross missed everyone expect Nick Blackman who ran onto it, to head home a third. A third goal in eight minutes saw a fourth goal for the Royals, as Leeds were well and truly capitulating, with the home support unsurprisingly riled too.
A long, direct ball from Obita was raced onto by Robson-Kanu, who easily outmuscled Zaliskus, before rifling home from ten yards. Four goals up an hour in, what could have gone wrong for Adkins` side? When Leeds replied with two goals in two minutes, it really could have gone wrong. The apparent consolation goal came from Matt Smith, after Pearce headed down for the sub to tap in at the back post.
One goal wasn`t a problem for the Royals, as long as they don`t concede a second soon after. Guess what? You know what happened. Leeds won possession back soon after Reading kicked off and Rudy Austin found space 30-yards out, a thumped in a sublime long-range effort, dipping at the last moment to give Alex McCarthy no chance. Elland Road had new found belief.
Leeds` gameplan now for clear with Wickham and Smith`s height, the balls into the Royals area were coming in thick and fast. Sam Bryam was within inches of reducing the deficit to just one goal, but went just wide, following a corner kick. It was not all one way though, as we were looking a massive threat on the break - with Drenthe hitting the post from a tight angle, after a good one-two with McAnuff.
Chris Gunter then went on a fantastic 70-yard run down the right side of the pitch and found Blackman lurking round by the penalty spot, but slipped as he was about to hit his effort, firing over the bar. Ross McCormack could well have got the home side back into the game, after he attacked Mowatt`s left-wing cross, but couldn`t make any clean contact with his thigh and went harmlessly wide.
This was the last real chance Leeds had, as we saw out the game well, after a quickfire double from the home side. It was very crucial we quietened the home crowd down after those two goals, as a third goal soon after could have panned out a very different game in Yorkshire. A very good three points that keeps our play-off push well on the track, with just over ten games to go.
Leeds - 3-5-2: Butland, Lees, Pearce, Zaliukas, Bryam, Austin, Murphy, Mowatt, Pugh, Wickham, McCormack
Subs: Cairns, Wooton, Brown, Poleon, Stewart, Hunt, Smith
Reading - 4-2-3-1: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Obita, Guthrie, Akpan, McCleary, Drenthe, McAnuff, Robson-Kanu
Subs: Federici, Hector, Cummings, Tshibola, J.Taylor, Blackman, Le Fondre