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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
21:55 8th December 2009

Report: Moses wins it for Palace

Reading 2 (Pearce 31, Sigurdsson 80 (pen))
Crystal Palace 4 (Clyne 7, Ambrose 45+1, Moses 45+2, 88)


A brilliant individual performance from Victor Moses inspired Crystal Palace to all three points at Madejski Stadium this Tuesday evening.

The 18-year-old England youth international was absolutely superb on the night, and scored two top class goals to put his team on the way to victory.

The youngster was the main difference between the two teams, and he is clearly destined for a higher level - soon.

Moses was expectional, but similarly Reading were left disappointed with their own performance and could not find the consistency they continue to strive for.

Nathaniel Clyne's early goal put Palace on the way, but Alex Pearce headed home an equaliser and we could well have had a penalty for handball inbetween.

Two long range strikes in first half stoppage time from Darren Ambrose and then Moses made it 3-1 at the break; the first swerving viciously past Adam Federici at his near post and the second a superb curler right into the corner.

After the restart Ivar Ingimarsson hit the bar, then sub Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a penalty to make it 3-2. But Moses soon snuffed out any hopes of a comeback with a brilliant 88th minute individual effort and it was game over.

Reading (4-3-3): Federici; Tabb, Bertrand (Sigurdsson 68), Ingimarsson (c), Pearce; Cisse, Gunnarsson (Robson-Kanu HT), Matejovsky; McAnuff, Kebe, Rasiak.
Subs: Hamer, Cummings, Mills, O'Dea, Karacan

Palace (4-4-2): Speroni; Clyne, Butterfield, Fonte, Hill; Derry (c), Danns, Ertl, Ambrose (N'Diaye 81); Andrew (Lee 65), Moses (Sears 90)
Subs: Davis, Smith, Carle, Scannell
Booked: Butterfield (foul 33), Clyne (foul 40), Moses (handball 86)

Attendance: 16,629 (1,513 away)

Referee: Kevin Friend

Team news
Reading made two changes from Saturday's win at Sheffield Wednesday, one enforced and one tactical. Jimmy Kebe replaced the injured Simon Church, while Brynjar Gunnarsson was chosen ahead of Gylfi Sigurdsson. Matt Mills was back in Brendan Rodgers' squad on the bench.

First half
Palace got off to a flier, and were ahead with only seven minutes gone. The Eagles built a move tidily and patiently down the right, and full back Nathaniel Clyne got forward well. Clyne found space to shoot fully 25 yards out, and rasped home a good low strike down into the corner that Adam Federici couldn't get down to.

Reading had to regroup quickly, and showed good character to fight back and lift themselves in search of a goal.

Jay Tabb had a very strong penalty appeal turned down after what looked a clear handball from his fired cross into the area, but referee Kevin Friend was not interested.

Former Palace man Jobi McAnuff was lively, and with 13 minutes gone he did well to fashion a chance for Grzegorz Rasiak, but the striker slightly mishit it and a defender was also in close attendance to turn it away.

The same pairing then combined on 20 minutes, and Rasiak headed narrowly wide from his teammate's corner.

Palace forward Victor Moses has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs, and on this form it was clear for all to see that the 18-year-old is destined for a higher level. His pace, strength and above all ability made him a defender's nightmare, and on 26 minutes he did superbly down the left but Neil Danns could only head his cross at Adam Federici.

McAnuff was Reading's key player, and he helped win a corner on 32 minutes with more good play. He took it himself on the right wing, and Alex Pearce bulleted home a superb header from 12 yards for a deserved equaliser.

We quickly built a head of steam, and McAnuff drew both full backs into bookings within the space of two minutes, also dragging a cross shot not too far wide.

Moses then took control again, and with two minutes of the half remaining he shot narrowly over the bar.

There was to be plenty more drama before the interval, and the game swung in a pivotal spell of injury time.

As the clock ticked past 45 minutes, Palace again broke down their right and evaded the challenge of Ryan Bertrand. Darren Ambrose took a speculative shot from 20 yards, and caught it well. It went in past Federici at his near post, and the vicious swerve simply evaded our 'keeper.

That goal was a cruel blow coming so close to the break, but incredibly there was still time for another before the whistle blew for half time. The scorer came as no surprise as Moses curled home a wonderful 25-yarder right into the corner, Federici absolutely no chance.

3-1 flattered the visitors, and a key moment of quality from Moses had just tipped the game in their direction.

Second half
Brendan Rodgers responded quickly, and brought Hal Robson-Kanu on to push for a way back into the game.

It almost paid immediate dividends as Robson-Kanu did really well down the right, and McAnuff's resulting shot from 12 yards was deflected wide for a corner.

McAnuff took the set piece himself, and Ivar Ingimarsson got in a good header that hit the bar and went over.

Palace were happy to sit back, and midway through the period Rodgers made another effective tactical switch. Sigurdsson came on and we switched to three at the back, and it prompted a good incisive period for the home side.

McAnuff seemed to be at the heart of all our best play, and he struck a good shot over on 75 before seeing another effort deflected over the top three minutes later.

The pressure was building, and with 11 minutes to go we got a foothold. Rasiak was pulled down in the box and a penalty looked the right decision, although quite why no card was shown was something of a mystery as the Pole was surely about to strike at goal with only the 'keeper to beat.

Sigurdsson took responsibility, and tucked home very well, giving the 'keeper no chance as he dived the wrong way.

Rasiak then hit one on the turn inside the area as we looked for a leveller, but it faded well away from goal.

We were doing our utmost to get on level terms, but that man Moses again proved the key player at a pivotal moment. He cut in from the left and showed brilliant skill to work space inside the box. He curled in a wonderful effort that gave Federici absolutely no chance and it was game over.

Soon enough Moses was substituted, and all four sides of the Stadium gave him a deserved ovation. Without him, Palace would have found it far, far harder to get in on goal, but we must also look at our own team performance and boss Rodgers was left unhappy with his side's display, bemoaning a lack of consistency.

On a few occasions we came close to getting back into the game, but the match just ran away from us at key moments and we look to the weekend to bounce back once more.

    Data provided by Press Association