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21:57 26th October 2009

Report: Royals robbed by Foxes

Reading 0
Leicester City 1 (Waghorn 45)

The Royals somehow suffered defeat at the hands of Leicester City on Monday evening, despite a performance which saw them dominate possession and create a whole host of goalscoring opportunities.

Brendan Rodgers' side again lacked that little bit of luck as the Sky Sports cameras came to town, and were making plenty of headway in the game before Martyn Waghorn's strike gave the Foxes an unlikely lead just before the break.

Jobi McAnuff, Simon Church and Grzegorz Rasiak all saw efforts kept out by a combination of last gasp deflections, woodwork or impressive goalkeeping, and it was a microcosm of our season as the home support went away bewildered as to how their side had nothing to show for their efforts after yet another good team display.

Reading (4-4-2 diamond): Federici; Tabb, Bertrand, Pearce (c), Mills; Matejovsky, Howard, McAnuff, Sigurdsson (Kebe 65); Rasiak, Church (Long 65)
Subs: Hamer, Cummings, Cisse, Gunnarsson, Karacan
Booked: Matejovsky, Mills, Howard

Leicester (4-4-2): Weale; Neilson, McGivern, Brown, Hobbs; Wellens, Oakley (c), King, Gallagher (Berner 85); Waghorn (Campbell 59), Fryatt (Howard 59)
Subs: Logan, Morrison, N'Guessan, Kermorgant

Attendance: 16,192

First Half
Brendan Rodgers was without injured defender Darren O'Dea, but left back Ryan Bertrand was fit to start the game.

The Royals started with purpose, and just 30 seconds in Simon Church's dinked flick on found wideman Jobi McAnuff marauding down the right wing, though the midfielder's shot was easily held by Chris Weale.

Church was the aggressor again after seven minutes, making a foraging run to the edge of the box, before seeing his 20 yard effort deflected past the post.

The visitors responded quickly as Matt Fryatt dragged a shot wide of the post from 12 yards, before seeing a swerving long range effort well held by Adam Federici.

Marek Matejovsky was back in the starting XI and looking as visionary as ever, as his well disguised reverse pass sent Grzegorz Rasiak through on goal - though the big Pole was eventually hounded out of contention by the Foxes' backline.

The former Southampton and Derby striker would get an effort away after a quarter of an hour, though his neat turn and shot bounced inches wide of the Leicester goal.

If that was a matter of inches then the next incident was down to centremeters, as McAnuff was somehow denied an opening goal. The former Palace man latched onto another Simon Church header before dashing into the box, and seeing his initial shot deflected onto the post.

The diminutive wide man then did well to react and send a follow up towards goal, but watched on helplessly as the effort flicked off the boot of a City defender and wide of goal.

The Royals were looking dangerous in the opposition half and gave Foxes 'keeper Weale plenty to think about, as Matejovsky's long range effort was clasped gratefully by the former Yeovil stopper after 30 minutes.

A stroke of luck did come our way moments later as a ball deflected off Richie Wellens and into the path of Simon Church, but one on one with Weale the young forward could only drag a shot just past the post.

That shots on goal column just kept stacking up for the home side, as seven minutes before the break Church smashed goalwards after a wonderfully intricate corner kick routine, only to see the Leicester number one deny him once more with an absolutely brilliant diving save.

Church again came close after controlling a deft back heel from Brian Howard, but once more sent his shot just wide of the post from 25 yards.

That heavy Royals pressure made it all the more galling as the Foxes took the lead seconds before the break.

Martyn Waghorn was the man that got it, sending a looping header into the net from a well whipped in corner.

It was a harsh blow and completely against the run of play, a fact acknowledged by the loyal Madejski support as they applauded their team off the pitch after the half time whistle.

Second Half
The interval didn't appear to curtail Reading's spirit, as another swift break from Jobi McAnuff teed up Church once more five minutes in, though from just eight yards out the Royals' number 18 could only sidefoot the ball wide.

City looked dangerous on the break and Adam Federici had to pull off a brave stop to deny Matty Fryatt on 52 minutes, whilst both McAnuff and Bertrand sent dangerous crosses rolling across the six yard box to no avail.

Substitute Shane Long combined well with Grzegorz Rasiak with 20 minutes remaining but could only blaze his half volley over the bar from distance, before a thirty yarder from Howard deflected inches wide of the goal with Weale stranded.

The chances kept on coming. A short corner routine was only half cleared by the Foxes but as the ball dropped awkwardly to Matt Mills on the penalty spot, the centre half could only skew his shot over the bar.

In many ways it was lucky that the fixture was played out in front of the Sky Sports cameras, as the lack of Royals' fortune at times had to be seen to be believed. With eighty minutes on the clock Jimmy Kebe latched on to a world class cross-field ball from Matejovsky, but the Malian's cross was diverted agonizingly wide by a combination of Rasiak's boot and a Leicester defender.

It was clear it was just not to be on the night, as Brendan Rodgers' side threw everything at the Foxes in the dying moments, to no avail.

We will have to pick ourselves and go again at Coventry City this coming Saturday; if nothing else surely a slice of fortune is due to come our way.

    Data provided by Press Association