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16:55 15th January 2011

Report: Royals sweep Donny aside

Doncaster 0
Reading 3 (Long 29, Kebe 68, McAnuff 74)

Brian McDermott's rampant Royals simply blew Doncaster away at a windy Keepmoat Stadium this afternoon.

Shane Long opened the scoring on the half hour mark, latching onto a lovely Jimmy Kebe ball over the top before touching it wide of the onrushing Neil Sullivan and into the bottom right corner.

And a totally dominant Royals outfit deservedly doubled their advantage when Jimmy Kebe raced onto a Mikele Leigertwood one-two and lobbed the out of position Sullivan for a sublime second.

Jobi McAnuff added a third soon after to put the result beyond doubt, challenging Matt Kilgallon and earning a ricochet that eluded Sullivan and flew into the bottom left corner for 3-0.

Doncaster, had little in response, failing to threaten a solid Royals back four which was led majestically by skipper Ivar Ingimarsson.

A jubilant away following celebrated a comfortable and fully deserved away victory and a performance which certainly signalled the Royals' intentions for the second half of this season.

Doncaster: Sullivan, Hird (M Woods 60), Mills (Friend 33), O'Connor, Kilgallon, Wilson, Oster, Lockwood (c), Coppinger, Sharp, Hayter (Brooker 60)
Subs: Souza, Shiels, G Woods, Chambers.

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Griffin, Harte, Ingimarsson (c), Pearce; Karacan (Tabb 80), Leigertwood, Kebe, McAnuff; Hunt (Church 80), Long
Subs: McCarthy, Cummings, Antonio, Howard, Robson-Kanu.

Ref: E L Ilderton

Att: 9,496 (545 away)

First Half

A swirling wind immediately looked like it would play a part in proceedings and the early chances came from aerial balls forward. Jimmy Kebe's cross into the Rovers box fell to Jobi McAnuff, who lashed an effort just wide of the left upright, then Andy Griffin's cross from the right caught the wind and flew over the free head of Shane Long on the edge of the six yard box.

At the other end, Billy Sharp got his head to a cross and although his header was flying well wide it almost found the sliding leg of James O'Connor, who thankfully failed to direct the ball goalwards.

O'Connor was bombing forward again on the 15 minute mark, almost latching onto a lovely ball forward from former Royals midfielder John Oster. Long, at the other end meanwhile, tried to bustle onto a hopeful ball forward and for a moment it seemed Sam Hird took it away from him with the use of an arm - bit nothing was given.

The game continued in a scrappy vein. but with 29 minutes gone, the deadlock was broken by none other than Shane Long. Jimmy Kebe hooked an early ball over the top and beautifully into the path of Long, who found himself one-on-one with Neil Sullivan. He took a touch toward goal and then steered it wide of the onrushing Sullivan to finish with aplomb.

Minutes later, Long seemed through again, but he was blatantly body-checked on his run towards goal. To the Royals' surprise, the referee gave nothing for a robust challenge on Long, who was causing the Rovers defence constant concern.

Kebe was also causing problems, beating four or five in midfield to forge a route down the right that ended in a cross that almost found Karacan inside the Rovers box.

At the other end, James Hayter squandered half a chance when he headed Matt Kilgallon's cross high over Federici's crossbar.

But Reading ended the half on top - the unstoppable Long bundling the ball past three or four players on the edge of the box, before hooking a left-footed effort just over the crossbar.

Second Half

Reading came out strong at the start of the second half and, after Long was foiled by an offside flag, McAnuff was given a good chance to add to the score. Noel Hunt's flick fell perfectly into McAnuff's burst from midfield, but as he was about to pull the trigger O'Connor slid in to challenge and concede a corner.

At the other end, the home fans were roused by an almighty appeal for handball. A cross in from the right fell to Sharp, who turned and shot. It seemed to hit Ingimarsson's arm, but from point blank range it would have been harsh to award the hosts a spotkick.

In fact a similar appeal was swiftly waved away at the other end moments later, when Jimmy Kebe's drive was arguably charged down by a Rovers arm.

Then a crucial second blow was dealt - from the right foot of Jimmy Kebe! The impressive Leigertwood won the ball and fed Kebe with a one-two to send him scampering down the right. Sullivan came out to cut it off but, realised he wasn't going to make it and with the keeper in no man's land, Kebe delicately lofted the ball over the Rovers stopper and into the open net.

Everything was going right for the Royals, as the third goal proved. A rattled Rovers defence couldn't clear their lines and when Kilgallon swung a right boot at the ball it ricocheted off the tackling McAnuff's boot and flew past Sullivan and into the bottom left corner. In celebration, McAnuff jumped on the shoulders of Jem Karacan and rode towards the away fans, who roared in appreciation.

The hosts had little in reply. Martin Woods drove wide with a sweetly struck effort from 25 yards but besides that speculative effort, Reading's back line remained solid throughout the latter stages, giving the home fans nothing to take heart from.

Reading fans, however, rightly partied into the evening...
    Data provided by Press Association