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17:55 5th December 2009

Report: Top class win for Royals

Sheff Wed 0
Reading 2 (Rasiak 48, Cisse 66)

A top class team performance earned Reading a comfortable and fully-deserved 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday this Saturday afternoon.

Reading were the better side throughout, and were driven on by excellent displays from goalscorers Grzegorz Rasiak and Kalifa Cisse, as well as the outstanding Jobi McAnuff.

The first half was tight, but we really stepped up after half time when boss Brendan Rodgers moved McAnuff to the right, and Rasiak had already had two good chances before heading home McAnuff's cross on 48 minutes.

Luke Varney then hit the post for the home side, but that was the only worrying moment and we soon had a brilliant second; a true team goal involving McAnuff, Marek Matejovsky and then a very cool finish from Cisse.

It could then have been more for our impressive team, but no matter because it was a cracking display all round. Brendan can be very pleased after bringing both scorers into the team, and we start December in fine fettle.

Sheff Wed (4-4-2): Grant; Spurr, Buxton, Hinds, Beevers, Gray (Johnson 61), Esajas (Clarke 68), Potter, O'Connor; Varney (Feeney 77), Tudgay
Subs: Purse, McAllister, O'Donnell, Soares
Booked: Hinds (foul 36)

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Tabb, Bertrand, Ingimarsson (c), Pearce; Cisse, Matejovsky, Sigurdsson (Gunnarsson 65), McAnuff, Rasiak, Church (Kebe 23)
Subs: Hamer, Cummings, O'Dea, Karacan, Robson-Kanu

Attendance: 22,090

Ref: David Webb

First half
Brendan Rodgers made two changes to his starting eleven, one enforced and one of his own volition. The injured Brian Howard was replaced by Kalifa Cisse, while Jimmy Kebe was left out in favour of Grzegorz Rasiak. We stayed with a 4-3-3 formation, Rasiak through the middle and Simon Church the left-sided forward in that three-pronged attack with Jobi McAnuff.

It was McAnuff who created the first sight of goal with an incisive run from deep on five minutes, forcing Mark Beevers into a fine tackle on the edge of the area.

Chances were at a premium, but there was still quality on show from both teams. Cisse was playing a good role upon his return to the team, often in the right place to break up attacks just in front of our centre halves.

Midway through the half Church was withdrawn with a back injury, Jimmy Kebe on in his place. McAnuff moved to the left wing and Kebe took up a role on the right.

Reading were the better side, and McAnuff went on a fabulous run from just inside his own half, only to be hacked down by Richard Hinds, who was rightly booked. The free kick was in a dangerous position, and Gylfi Sigurdsson curled an effort only a foot wide from fully 30 yards.

Just before the break the impressive Grzegorz Rasiak showed fabulous feet to jink past three men and create a shooting opportunity, but Lee Grant was able to save.

The first half was tight but the Royals had been more composed and certainly carried the greater threat.

Second half
Reading found that extra gear at the start of the period, largely due to Brendan's excellent decsion to move McAnuff back out to the right. From the kick-off we looked likely to break the deadlock, with everything falling to Rasiak.

On 47 the big Pole had a good headed chance from seven yards but nodded over; McAnuff supplying the cross after a nice one-two with Marek Matejovsky.

A minute later Rasiak did well to create some space in the box and tried an effort with the outside of his boot but Grant was in the right place to smother down low.

It had been a whirlwind start, and on 48 we got the goal we deserved. McAnuff was once again the architect and a terrific cross was delivered to Rasiak. After going close moments before from the exact same spot, he was not about to spurn the chance and buried his header.

Wednesday looked for a quick response, and defender Tommy Spurr was not too far wide from long range.

Rasiak was involved in everything we created going forward, and then had a fourth chance in the space of seven minutes, but could only head at Grant from Jay Tabb's cross.

With only one goal in it Wednesday were always going to be threatening, never more so that when Luke Varney saw a brilliant hooked volley come back off the post with Adam Federici beaten.

But we quickly settled the nerves with a second goal of the game - and what a fantastic goal it was. Sub Brynjar Gunnarsson played a lovely crossfield ball for McAnuff, and he controlled it wonderfully. Matejovsky was on hand to play a one-two inside the full back, and McAnuff was clear down the right. Rather than just whipping it into the box first time he looked up and sidefooted a great pass to Cisse, who controlled a lovely finish low into the net. It was a brilliant team goal, and a fantastic way to double the advantage.

We were playing some lovely stuff, and Wednesday had clearly been broken. Ryan Bertrand got in a great position inside the box from Matejovsky's pass, but choose to cross and it was blocked to safety in Grant's direction.

Wednesday did their best to rally, and sub Leon Clarke headed off target before seeing one disallowed for offside. Fellow sub Jermaine Johnson also tested Adam Federici in the 85th minute but it was a comfortable save.

The McAnuff/Rasiak combination nearly paid dividends again a moment later, Rasiak forcing Grant into a cracking low save from the winger's neat pass.

Our players rightly celebrated with the supporters at full time, and the 400 or so Loyal Royals went home very happy indeed after seeing an excellent display.

After going 12 games without a clean sheet, the shutout was very welcome and every player contributed to a cracking win.
    Data provided by Press Association