Reading beat Middlesbrough in top of the table clash
Reading were victorious in the big game at the top of the Championship. An early Danny Williams goal set the tone for the rest of the game as Reading held out for the win.
Steve Clarke opted to bring Orlando Sa in for Mccleary, with Al-Habsi coming in for the injured Bond.
As for Boro, Karanka surprised a few with leaving Adomah and Nugent left on the bench.
The Royals got off to a flyer when Williams headed them 1-0 up in 15 seconds. Reading have been scoring goals early, but this was incredible and Boro were yet to touch the ball.
We knew the first goal would be important and this made the away side attack Reading, allowing us many opportunities to break.
Boro took a while to get going and while they dominated the ball, they only tested Al-Habsi once in the first half from a free kick. It was an awkward one for Ali but he dealt with it well resulting in a boost in confidence for the remainder of the game.
It was a strange game and it seemed like both sides were just cancelling each other out, leading to few chances throughout the half.
However, the best chance of the half fell to Orlando Sa as he tried to make amends for his red card against Derby. It came from great work down the right from Blackman and the keeper could only palm it to Sa who hit the target, only to see his shot blocked excellently by the Boro centre half. 1-0 Reading at Half time.
With Chances few and far between, the only way the goals were going to occur was through a break away.
Reading had numerous chances to break but just couldn't find that final pass to give someone a chance to kill the game off.
Nevertheless, we never really looked like conceding, with centre halves Hector and McShane marshaling our defensive shape in style.
With Boro getting more and more frustrated, Karanka made a double substitution with De Pena and Nsue coming on, just after Ola John made an appearance for Reading.
Unfortunately for Boro, Ola John was the man making the impact. His pace and direct style was causing the away side all sorts of problems and he was the heart of our break aways.
Middlesbrough pushed and pushed and Ali Al Habsi was called into action a couple of times as he came and caught crosses with precision to the delight of the Royals faithful.
Just as it was getting to squeeky bum time for us fans, Blackman was given the chances to put the game to bed from the penalty spot and of course, he did just that.
A wonderful day at the office with some excellent performances throughout the side. Hector and McShane were again so solid at the back with Norwood and Williams working their socks off in front of them. Sa, Kanu and Blackman oozed class and Reading move within 3 of the top.
Hector is back to his best and it's great to see. Michael produced his best performance of the season against a very good Boro side. He was solid throughout, not letting a single thing passed him and he's starting to build a top partnership with Paul McShane. I bet Mourinho wishes he didn't send him back to us on loan.