Reading 3:1 Leicester City
City’s play off hopes all but disappeared bar the maths at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday as they were beaten 3-1 by Reading…
Sven Goran Eriksson made three changes for a game City could not afford to lose, against a team that had won seven on the trot: Bruma, Naughton and Vassell in for Mee, Vitor and Gallagher.
City enjoyed a bright opening spell with Kamara firing one effort over and Yakubu sending an effort flashing across goal after a neat breakway move. But it was the home side who took a 19th minute lead when Long motored past Naughton and Bamba down the left before squaring a ball for Kebe to prod over the line from close in.
If that was a blow for City, worse was to come less than two minutes later.
McAnuff waltzed round Bruma before firing a shot through a crowded area beating Weale low to his right.
Even at this stage it was looking as though Reading had earned their eighth win in a row.
City continued to have the lion’s share of possession and they created plenty of half decent chances, but every shot was blocked by a determined Reading rearguard.
Wellens had the best chance but failed to get past Mills with his shot and then Bamba planted a firm far post header goalwards but saw McCarthy parry his effort to safety.
City went in at the break 2-0 down in a game they had dominated, and it should have been 3-0, Kebe’s spooning an effort over from close in just before the half-time whistle.
City continued in the same vein in the second half, running the game but unable to make it count in front of goal. Vassell volleyed a decent chance over from a Van Aanholt throw; but City looked horribly vulnerable from Reading’s speedy counter attacks. Kebe wasted two good chances and then Oakley headed clear from under the bar as City’s grip on the game hung by a thread.
That thread finally snapped in the 67th minute when City’s back four were outstripped by another Kebe break, the ball being played back for Hunt to crash the ball past Weale and seal victory.
That was surely City’s season over.
There was one thing for the deflated visiting supporters to cheer in the 80th minute, King was given too much room 30 yards oput and lined up a low shot to the keeper’s right, but it was too little too late.
While Reading now set their sights on an automatic promotion place, City surely waved goodbye to a play-off place on a disappointing afternoon in Berkshire.
Reading: McCarthy, Mills, Harte,Griffin, Khizanishvili, McAnuff, Leigertwood, Kebe (Robson-Kanu 83), Karacan, Long, Manset (Hunt 54). Subs Not Used: Church, Federici, Tabb, Antonio, Pearce.
Leicester: Weale, Bamba (Vitor 56), Naughton, Van Aanholt, Bruma, King, Oakley, Wellens, Kamara (Howard 71), Yakubu, Vassell (Gallagher 66). Subs Not Used: Berner, Abe, Ricardo, Dyer.
Referee: GSalisbury(Lancashire). Attendance:19,199.