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16:55 17th October 2009

Report: Royals lose to Baggies

West Brom 3 (Thomas 28, 65, Mulumbu 87)
Reading 1 (Mills 6)

Reading suffered a 3-1 defeat away to West Brom this Saturday afternoon, and after starting the game absolutely brilliantly, we were guilty of handing the advantage to Roberto Di Matteo's high flying side.

Matt Mills opened the scoring very early on, and Jobi McAnuff should then have made it 2-0 but shot over from eight yards.

McAnuff's miscued backpass then gave Jerome Thomas a goal, and the Baggies sealed the points in the second half with another from Thomas and a cracking volley from Youssuf Mulumbu in the very late stage of the game.

Reading showed some great ability and penetration in those early stages of the match, and if we had taken the chance for that second goal it could have been so different. There is no doubt the Baggies ultimately deserved to win, and we will lick our wounds and get back on track at QPR in midweek.

WBA (4-4-2): Carson (c), Zuiverloon, Mattock, Jara, Olsson; Mulumbu, Dorrans, Cech (Teixeria 79), Thomas, Bednar (Wood 5), Moore (Meite 79)
Subs: Kiely, Koren, Martis, Cox
Booked: Zuiverloon (foul 62)

Reading (4-2-3-1): Federici; Cummings, Bertrand (O'Dea 43), Mills (Rasiak 74), Ingimarsson (c); Karacan, Cisse, Howard; Kebe, McAnuff, Hunt (Long 53)
Subs: Hamer, Tabb, Sigurdsson, Robson-Kanu
Booked: O'Dea (foul 86)

Attendance: 20,935

First half
Reading started absolutely brilliantly, and within the first 30 seconds created a good chance for Jem Karacan but his 20-yard effort was blocked just inside the area.

Brendan Rodgers' men were completely dominant, and took the lead in the sixth minute, with West Brom having been penned in for the entire game up until that point.

Brian Howard won and took a free kick wide on the left hand side, and Matt Mills, selected in the team ahead of Darren O'Dea, got there first to head home at the back post.

It should have been 2-0 soon after when Jobi McAnuff put a great chance over the bar from only eight yards out. Jimmy Kebe worked his magic to allow Shaun Cummings to cross, and McAnuff really should have done better than sidefoot his volley over after losing his marker with the goal gaping.

West Brom saw that as a real let-off, and finally started to play in a manner close to matching their league position.

Jerome Thomas was at the heart of the Baggies' best play, and Ivar Ingimarsson fouled him right on the edge of the box; the home side baying for a penalty and red card, but thankfully only a free kick was given and no card shown.

Adam Federici pulled off a cracking save midway through the half to deny Chris Wood, on as an early sub for the injured Roman Bednar, although referee Taylor surprisingly gave a goal kick when our big 'keeper clearly got a touch.

Just before the half hour Baggies drew level, sadly with a helping hand from the Royals. We had a corner, and it was cleared up toward the half way line. McAnuff tried to play back to Federici, but completely miscued and left his 'keeper stranded some distance outside his area. Thomas nipped in and completed the simple task of turning home.

It was a desperately disappointing way to concede, and especially beause we had started the game so very well.

Luke Moore shot wide on the turn with four minutes of the half remaining, and after beginning the match in such a positive fashion, we would have wanted a greater return than to go into the dressing rooms 1-1 at the break.

Just before the interval, Darren O'Dea came on at left back in place of Ryan Bertrand, who had a head injury.

Second half
West Brom came out for the second half with plenty of purpose, and Federici had to be in sparkling form to keep the home side at bay and maintain the scoreline.

On 52 he pulled off a miraculous save from Wood, somehow keeping out a low drive at the far post.

Moore and Marek Cech then both should have done better in the space of ten seconds, Moore miscuing to his teammate, who spooned miles off target from ten yards.

Just after the hour Federici made probably his best save, somehow denying the Baggies on the break with a stupendous one-handed stop after they broke at pace.

Reading had a decent amount of possession, but Baggies always looked threatening on the break.

So it proved on 65 and Thomas, who gave Cummings lots of defending to do throughout the game, slotted home after being put in when we conceded possession on halfway.

Federici then had to climb high to deny a Cech chip, and we soon lost another player to injury, Mills hobbling off in some pain after banging in shin in a challenge on halfway.

Grzegorz Rasiak came on up front in his place and we pushed in the dying stages, sub Abdoulaye Meite executing a superb challenge to deny Kebe as he bore down on goal.

But then the game went completely out of sight in the last five minutes, Youssouf Mulumbu scoring with a cracking volley from the edge of the box to seal the points.

It was so nearly 4-1 right on full time as Graham Dorrans tried an outrageous effort from the halfway line, Federici having to make a very good save as he backtracked.

Then Howard should have given us a consolation from Kebe's pullback, but shot over right footed from 12 yards.

West Brom are one of the league's top sides right now, and we gave them a real run for their money in that first half. It could and should have been 2-0, but the failure to capitalise ultimately proved to be our downfall.

    Data provided by Press Association