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Hunt wins it for Royals

Reading
2 - 1
Sunderland

The Mad Stad

15.00

Attendance: 24,082

Referee:

A late, late winner from Stephen Hunt gave Reading an important win at the Madejski Stadium.

The winning goal, although controversial, gave Reading a deserved win in a game they dominated for long patches.

Sunderland started brightly and veteran Andy Cole nearly spoilt the Royal's Christmas Party within the first five minutes.

Royals skipper Graeme Murty kept Cole onside following a through ball from ex-Manchester United colleague Dwight Yorke, but his shot was straight at the Reading 'keeper Marcus Hahnemann.

The Royals' keeper could only parry the ball straight back into Cole's path, but his touch was poor, allowing Hahnemann to pounce on the loose ball.

Despite Sunderland's bright start, Reading soon took control of the game and could have been three up by half time.

First Dave Kitson came close, as his curling effort from range was inches over the bar, before Craig Gordon made a superb save from a Steven Hunt header.

The Reading chances continued to come as Kevin Doyle dragged his shot wide after finding space in the penalty area.

The second half was more of the same from Reading as they continued to dominate.

With an hour played Hunt again came close to scoring, his long range effort had Gordon beaten this time, but was painfully denied by the post.

Reading finally found the net with twenty minutes to play. Ibrahima Sonko flicked on a great free kick by James Harper, for Ivar Ingimarsson to tap in his first goal of the season.

Reading continued to pressure the away side and should have doubled their lead, but again Doyle failed to hit the target.

Sunderland were given an unlikely lifeline with eight minutes to play, a challenge from Sonko brought down Kenwyne Jones for a Sunderland penaly.

Although replays suggested that there was no contact, Michael Chopra didn't care, and his cool finish from the spot brought the sides level.

The goal seemed to give Sunderland a boost and they could easily have won the game with just two minutes left. Jones out-muscled Ingimarsson to find himself one-on-one with Hahnemann, but his lack of composure allowed the American to make the save.

The miss was costly for Sunderland, as two minutes into injury time, Stephen Hunt finally got his goal. Substitute Shane Long did well to get a cross in, which Hunt met on the volley at the far post. Gordon got a hand to it with what looked like another great save, but the officials deemed the ball to have crossed the line.

Replays were inconclusive, but it was no less than Reading deserved from a game they dominated.

Reading move up to 12th place, seven points ahead of Sunderland who drop into the bottom three.

Star Player

Stephen Hunt was superb today and thoroughly deserved his goal, regardless of whether it crossed the line or not.

The Irishman, who got his third goal in as many games, has been linked with a January move to Sunderland, but after piling on the misery today, it remains to be seen if Roy will be keen on him much longer.

Roy's Rage

Roy Keane has once again been given something to moan about due to the controversial nature of the Reading winning goal. Although his complaints could well be justified, I'm sure he'll conveniently forget to mention the lack of contact that led to the Sunderland penalty.


Writer:Chris Kitley
Date:Saturday December 22 2007
Time: 9:06PM

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League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Newcastle 46 29 7 10 94 45
P Brighton 46 28 9 9 93 34
3 Reading 46 26 7 13 85 4
4 Sheff Wed 46 24 9 13 81 15
5 Huddersfield 46 25 6 15 81 -2
6 Fulham 46 22 14 10 80 28
7 Leeds Utd 46 22 9 15 75 14
8 Norwich 46 20 10 16 70 16
9 Derby County 46 18 13 15 67 4
10 Brentford 46 18 10 18 64 10
11 Preston 46 16 14 16 62 1
12 Cardiff 46 17 11 18 62 -1
13 Aston Villa 46 16 14 16 62 -1
14 Barnsley 46 15 13 18 58 -3
15 Wolves 46 16 10 20 58 -4
16 Ipswich 46 13 16 17 55 -10
17 Bristol City 46 15 9 22 54 -6
18 Q.P.R. 46 15 8 23 53 -14
19 Birmingham 46 13 14 19 53 -19
20 Burton 46 13 13 20 52 -14
21 Forest 46 14 9 23 51 -10
R Blackburn 46 12 15 19 51 -12
R Wigan 46 10 12 24 42 -17
R Rotherham 46 5 8 33 23 -58
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