Reading 3:1 Leicester City
It was déjà vu for City at the Mad Stad as they ran headlong in to a Reading side that comfortably notched up their eighth successive win in a manner identical to twelve months previously, the last time City played at Reading.
Nigel Pearson made just one change from the side that lost so disappointingly at Bristol City with Drinkwater replacing Marshall but they were soon on the back foot as the Royals laid siege to City’s goal. In one frantic spell Schmeichel dived low to keep out Hunt’s shot and then Morgan and St Ledger both headed off the line in the space of a few seconds as City somehow survived.
It wasn’t long before the home side had the advantage when McAnuff laid the ball in to the path of the onrushing Leigertwood who drove the ball handsomely past Schmeichel and in to the top corner from twenty yards.
City had little to offer in response and were unable to keep the ball as Reading owned the midfield and continued to play most of their football in City’s half. Half time arrived to City’s relief and gave them a chance to regroup but, surprisingly, Nigel Pearson chose to replace Beckford with Howard and Kennedy with Bamba, with St Ledger moving to left back.
The visitors began the second half with more purpose and were able to put some pressure on the Royals’ defence but despite this pressure there was little in the way of a serious threat to Federici’s goal.
Nugent worked hard and created a couple of shots that both went wide and the end product was lacking. Despite City’s possession and pressure it was Reading who continued to look the more dangerous side with real pace on the break that eventually brought reward in the 75th minute when Hunt’s cross was met by Roberts from six yards and he side-footed home to give Reading some breathing space.
This was the cue for the home fans to sing “Where the f**k is Matty Mills?” and this was followed up soon after with “You could have had him for a tenner”.
In the final minute Reading added a third and once again Hunt was the provider from the right wing as his cross was headed home at the far post by Church.
There was just time for Danns to add a consolation as City fans headed for the exits and he had time to control a loose ball before he drove low in to the corner from ten yards.
So Reading continue their march up the league and City fans are left to contemplate a second defeat on the road in the space of five days and an infuriating inconsistency. City were second best all over the park today against a side that was confident and has now beaten City five times in a row. Reading aren’t blessed with a highly talented side but what they have is pace and a phenomenal work ethic which City couldn’t handle.
It serves as a reminder (as if it were needed) that Nigel Pearson’s side still has a long way to go.
Reading: Federici, Cummings, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte, McAnuff, Karacan, Leigertwood, Robson-Kanu, Hunt, Roberts (Church 84). Unused Subs: Tabb, Le Fondre, Andersen, Cywka.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Peltier, Morgan, St Ledger, Kennedy (Bamba 46), Drinkwater (Gallagher 74), Danns, Wellens, Dyer, Beckford (Howard 46), Nugent. Unused Subs: Marshall, Schlupp.
Referee: B Madley (West Yorkshire). Attendance: 21,858.