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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:01 17th April 2010

Rampant Royals hit Posh for six

Reading 6 (Pearce 3, Sigurdsson 25(p), 76, McAnuff 29, Kebe 44, Long 59)

Peterborough 0


Brian McDermott's rampant Royals equalled the club's biggest ever win at Madejski Stadium with one of the most dominant performances you could wish to see, leaving Peterborough in tatters after a superb display.

We were in control for every one of the 90 minutes, and were desperate to score a seventh to register the biggest ever victory on this ground. We were rampant going forward, and unbeatable at the back.

Every single man in blue and white hoops played their part, and United did not have a single shot on target as we controlled 67% of the game's possession.

As soon as Alex Pearce headed home in the third minute there was no way back for United, and Gylfi Sigurdsson's pen, Jobi McAnuff and Jimmy Kebe made it 4-0 at the break.

Shane Long and another from Sigurdsson made it 6-0, and we had two disallowed late on, while there was also a clear first half penalty shout that would have given us the chance to score seven goals here for the very first time.

It was one of the most enjoyable 90 minutes of football you could wish to see, and right now Madejski Stadium is quite simply a brilliant place to watch football. Brian McDermott and his players are serving up some truly stunning performances, and this was an afternoon to savour.

Reading (4-2-3-1): Federici; Griffin, Bertrand, Khizanishvili (Gunnarsson 69), Pearce; Howard (c), Tabb (Karacan 76); McAnuff (Henry 62), Kebe, Sigurdsson; Long
Subs: Hamer, Robson-Kanu, Church, Rasiak
Booked: Sigurdsson (simulation 20)

Peterborough (5-3-2): Lewis (c); Bennett, Griffiths, Geohaghon (Mills 16), Morgan, Zakuani (Simpson 30); Frecklington, Lee, Rowe; Little (Green 86), Mackail-Smith
Subs: McKeown, McCrae, Appiah, Wright

Attendance: 15,982 (386 away)

Team news
The Royals made one change to their side from the Newcastle game in midweek. Zurab Khizanishvili was passed fit so he started at centre back. Brynjar Gunnarsson was also fit so was named on the bench and Kalifa Cisse missed out on a place among our replacements.

First half
From the very off it was clear that this was a game involving two teams with very different momentum - Reading looking positive, comfortable on the ball and absolutely bursting with confidence. Peterborough came out very sheepishly and it was inevitable that we would take advantage.

Our 'keeper Adam Federici had not touched the ball - and it had probably not even been in our half - before the Royals made it 1-0. Brian Howard's right wing corner was well met by Alex Pearce, and his header found the back of the net via the shoulder of a Posh defender.

We were not about to rest on our laurels, and Gylfi Sigurdsson then forced two stops from United's highly-rated 'keeper Joe Lewis in the space of a couple of minutes - the first of which was particularly impressive as he denied his thumping strike from ten yards.

Reading were playing some fabulous stuff, with Jimmy Kebe at the heart of most of our best moves - his pace and a number of beautiful touches in possession made it impossible to defend against him.

United had started the game with a wingback system, and their new boss Gary Johnson switched to a 4-4-2 just past the 15 minute mark, Exodus Geohaghon substituted when seemingly not injured.

The visitors were not able to stem the tide, and we should have had a penalty on 20 minutes when Sigurdsson was blatantly fouled - but incredibly was booked for diving.

We did get a spot kick five minutes later though, Ryan Bertrand popping up on the right hand side of the box and clearly brought down by a trailing leg. Sigurdsson was the coolest man in the ground, allowing Lewis to dive early and then rolling it into the other corner.

Within seconds of the kick off we had the ball back, and Kebe forced another good save from Lewis to his right.

Before the half hour was up we had a third goal, and winger Jobi McAnuff was absolutely delighted to score his second of the season. Sigurdsson set him away with an absolutely brilliant pass from inside the centre circle, and he gained possession on the corner of the box. He cut inside his man with aplomb, opened up his body and drilled home a very nice finish. He celebrated like it was a huge relief to notch again, and a number of teammates gave him a big pat on the back for a very good finish.

United then made a second substitution as Gabriel Zakuani was forced off injured, Josh Simpson on in his place. To say Peterborough were deflated would be the understatement of the century.

Brian Howard, impressive throughout, was next to try his luck from the edge of the box, shooting not too far wide.

Kebe was giving the visiting defence all kinds of headaches, and was sent clear one-on-one against Lewis after a nice Reading move, but the Posh number one snatched the ball from his feet.

With Chelsea's Director of Football Frank Arnesen in the stand, Bertrand had an extra incentive to impress, and he could have won a second penalty on 41 minutes but elected to stay on his feet and stabbed a shot wide.

We did get a fourth before the break, and it was no surprise that Kebe found the back of the net. His pace exposed the United left back in no man's land, and he raced clear to smack home a cracking finish. The Malian had been absoutely superb again, and fully deserved his goal. No left back in the world would want to face him on this form.

Second half
United had a cracking chance just four minutes after the break - although justice was done because Andy Griffin was clearly fouled by Lee Frecklington as he raced clear, only for the Posh man to selfishly shoot wide at the near post when a colleague was free in the middle.

Normal service was soon resumed though, and McAnuff then Shane Long were both denied by Lewis after getting into good positions close to goal.

Long was obviously keen to score, and he got his name on the sheet just before hour, racing clear of the defence, holding off his man well and stabbing home left footed from ten yards. It was his first in nine games and a good finish.

One more goal would equal our biggest ever wins at Madejski Stadium, and it nearly came in some style when Howard hit a dipping volley but Lewis was behind it.

McAnuff was then withdrawn to rapturous applause, and Jay Tabb was also given a great ovation when he was given a rest late on. Both had performed superbly and fully deserved the recognition. Kebe was soon looking for number six, and shot across the face of goal after getting in down the left.

The sixth came with fifteen minutes left, and Griffin did brilliantly inside the box, giving Long the simplest of chances - but incredibly he hit the bar from a couple of yards out, only for Sigurdsson to gather possession and score.

United were almost given a consolation when the under-employed Federici came out of his area, but Craig Mackail-Smith could only hook wide under pressure.

Kebe was close to getting his second after a super cross from sub James Henry, but shot over as it bounced up in front of him with Lewis rushing toward him.

With cries of 'We want seven' ringing out in the final minutes, sub Jem Karacan saw a goalbound effort blocked, then United almost scored an own goal but Lewis, easily the visitors' man of the match, managed to keep it out.

With three minutes of normal time to go, Lewis somehow clawed a shot off the line after wonderful skill from Sigurdsson to create the opening. We were desperately looking for our biggest ever win at Madejski Stadium.

A minute later Sigurdsson did have it in the net after a brilliant finish - but sadly was given offside. Then Kebe also beat Lewis - but again we were given offside!

We couldn't get that record, but it was of no concern because our supporters had seen a wonderful afternoon's entertainment and football of the very highest quality.

Full credit to Brian McDermott and the team for a wonderful display - supporters simply don't want the season to end!

    Data provided by Press Association