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18:02 19th September 2009

Report: Royals see lead slip away

Peterborough 3 (Mackail-Smith 48, McLean 53, Boyd 90)
Reading 2 (Sigurdsson 30, Church 38)

The Royals saw a two-goal lead slip away to lose 3-2 to Peterborough at London Road, and it was truly a game of two halves.

Reading were streets ahead of the Posh in the first period, and a 2-0 lead was the least they deserved; Gylfi Sigurdsson scoring a superb free kick and Simon Church later nodding home from another of the Icelander's set pieces.

We could have been three or four goals to the good at the interval, and there only looked to be one winner.

But Craig Mackail-Smith headed home a very important goal three minutes into the second half, and Aaron McLean levelled matter just five minutes later.

Both teams then had chances, but George Boyd turned home a skillful finish right on full time to take all three points.

Subs Noel Hunt and Jimmy Kebe both had chances to level in injury time, but it was to be an afternoon of huge disappointment.

The first half saw us put in a superb performance and we truly played Peterborough off the park - but it is a game of 90 minutes and we were unable to replicate that in the second half, at great cost.

Reading (4-4-2 diamond): Federici; Cummings, Bertrand, O'Dea, Pearce; Gunnarsson (Kebe 77), Matejovsky (Karacan 57), Sigurdsson, Howard; Church (Hunt 71), Rasiak
Subs: Hamer, Ingimarsson, Mills, Cisse
Booked: Howard (foul 15), Pearce (foul 70)

Peterborough (4-4-2): Lewis, Martin (c), Williams (Day 71), Morgan, Zakuani; Coutts, Diagouraga (Keates HT), Whelpdale (Frecklington HT), Boyd; Mackail-Smith, McLean.
Subs: McKeown, Rowe, Pearce, Batt.

Attendance: 8,521

Ref: C Sarginson

First half
Reading started the game on the front foot and Gylfi Sigurdsson was very close to an early goal, his shot coming off Grzegorz Rasiak as it looked destined for the corner.

A rare Posh attack then forced Adam Federici off his line and he couldn't get a clear contact on the cross, Chris Whelpdale's header cleared off the line by Shaun Cummings.

The Royals continued to pass the ball very well, and were completely dominant, looking far more accomplished and confident.

The goal finally came on the half hour, Sigurdsson both creator and scorer. He showed very good feet to win a free kick 25 yards out, bending it right into the corner with aplomb.

It was a fully deserved lead, and Rasiak almost made it 2-0 straight after when cutting in from the right; Joe Lewis making the save.

Brian Howard then spurned the chance to put Sigurdsson in on the break as we got forward in numbers and a good chance went begging.

But on 41 it was 2-0, Sigurdsson's free kick from wide on the left finding Simon Church completely unmarked, the Welsh international nodding home expertly.

It could then very easily have been 3-0, Church just unable to make contact with Ryan Bertrand's low cross.

Reading were completely on top, and 2-0 was the very least they deserved for a dominant display.

Second half
Incredibly, after a completely one-sided first half, Peterborough found some energy and determination, and Federici had to make a good save from Craig Mackail-Smith's 46th minute header.

But soon enough United had a goal and a lifeline that up to the point looked a million miles away. The home side were awarded a debatable corner, and it was worked short. The delivery was true, and Mackail-Smith was there to head home powerfully.

This give Darren Ferguson's side renewed hope, and soon enough they were level. Marek Matejovsky was dispossessed inside the United half, allowing George Boyd to break. The midfield man got forward with ease, and slipped in Aaron McLean down the right. The frontman hit a powerful effort low at Federici's legs and it ended up in the corner for 2-2.

United had the momentum, and Federici had to make a couple of saves to keep the scores level.

Reading did soon settle though, and Rasiak headed over a decent chance on 74 as Sigurdsson found him at the back post.

Posh defender Craig Morgan was close from a corner, but Posh were ultiately to break Reading's hearts.

With time almost up, a low cross from the right found Boyd, and he produced a skillful backheel finish from only six yards out. The home crowd were in raptures after coming back from the dead.

There was still time for Reading to almost snatch a draw, sub Noel Hunt firing in a low shot that keeper Joe Lewis saw bounce off him and go over.

From the resulting corner Lewis flapped at the cross, but sub Jimmy Kebe could not direct the header and it went wide.

    Data provided by Press Association