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19:17 28th August 2010

Report: Mills wins it for Royals

Leicester 1 (Dyer 52)
Reading 2 (Sigurdsson 23, Mills 86)

The Royals earned their first win of the season after a very good display away to Leicester.

The ever-impressive Gylfi Sigurdsson opened the scoring with a very classy goal, and after Lloyd Dyer equalised with an excellent strike, Matt Mills powered home a brilliant header with just four minutes to go, giving us a deserved victory.

Mills put in a heroic performance, playing on for the majority of the game when obviously injured, clearing a goalbound City shot off the line just seconds after he had scored.

There were excellent displays from a number of individuals - notably Shaun Cummings, who played very well at left back in his first game since December, Adam Federici, who made a brilliant save at 1-1, and Jobi McAnuff, who filled in out of position at right back after Brynjar Gunnarsson, himself playing in place of the sidelined Andy Griffin went off with an injury of his own.

We shared the victory with our loyal supporters at full time, and it was a great reward for a performance filled with character, spirit and quality.

Leicester (4-4-2): Logan; Lamey, Berner, Hobbs, Moreno; Oakley (c) (King 63), Wellens, Dyer, N'Guessan (Moussa 82); Gallagher (Fryatt 55), Howard
Subs: Ikeme, Neilson, Morrison, Kennedy

Reading (4-2-3-1): Federici; Gunnarsson (Antonio 45+3), Cummings, Mills (c), Pearce; Karacan (Church 62), Howard; Kebe, McAnuff, Sigurdsson; Long
Subs: Hamer, Davies, Taylor, Robson-Kanu, Hunt

Ref: C Webster

Attendance: 19,611

Starting XI team news
The Royals made two changes from the previous weekend's draw with Nottm Forest, and both amendments were at full back. Brynjar Gunnarsson replaced hamstring injury victim Andy Griffin at right back, while Shaun Cummings came in at left back, Marcus Williams out with a calf problem.

First half
Reading had the first meaningful shot, Brian Howard seeing his effort blocked after being found by Gylfi Sigurdsson on the edge of the area.

It was a good contest, and Jem Karacan picked up a severe black eye after a challenge in the City box, but bravely carried on despite a hugely prominent lump under his right eye.

Reading were beginning to take control of the game, and Jimmy Kebe nearly got on the end of a neat pass after a great run by Jobi McAnuff. Matt Mills was then close with a header from a Howard free kick, just glancing it into the side netting. In between, Lloyd Dyer had a shot tamely deflected at Adam Federici.

Midway through the half, we took a deserved lead with an excellent goal. Brynjar Gunnarsson found Sigurdsson with a good pass down the channel, and his touch and pass were exquisite. Shane Long put Joao Teixeira Moreno under pressure, and our Irishman was clearly fouled but referee Webster played a good advantage. It ran to Kebe, who found Sigurdsson with an excellent low pass, and the Icelander produced a fabulous finish, dinking over the onrushing 'keeper. A top class finish from a top class player.

Reading had settled well, and Cummings showed good strength on the half hour to prevent Lloyd Dyer from getting a shot away from 12 yards.

Just before the break we looked much the more likely to score again, Long getting a good header goalwards from Howard's free kick. McAnuff then unleashed a good shot, before Long had another chance from Sigurdsson's cross but a defender just did enough and our Irishman would have liked a much better contact and it seemed a good chance had gone.

Into stoppage time we suffered yet another injury at full back, Gunnarsson pulling up and Michail Antonio on in his place; McAnuff moving to right back.

Second half
City started the second half with a little more urgency, and grabbed an equaliser four minutes into the half. Dyer, a lively presence on the right wing, cut inside onto his left and fired a good low strike into the bottom of the net; Federici with no chance of keeping out an excellent effort from outside the box.

Mills had picked up a knock in the first half but was carrying on gamely despite being clearly injured - our injury list was becoming quite ridiculous.

Come the hour mark we looked to have settled a little more, and Sigurdsson was close to a second with a good header from Kebe's cross but it dropped just over.

Boss Brian McDermott was pushing for all three points, and put Simon Church on as we went 4-4-2. Within seconds, Antonio had a decent sight of goal and although he caught it well, his effort was well off target from 18 yards.

We began to up the tempo again, and midway through the period Kebe had a good sight of goal but Conrad Logan was out very smartly to save at his feet - a good save and an important one as well. Down the other end, Dyer had one deflected wide.

Steve Howard had a decent sight of goal with 13 minutes left, but shot well over after being found by sub Matty Fryatt, who in turn hit a feeble effort a few minutes later. Kebe then went on a fabulous run from deep but a good challenge from Moreno stopped him inside the box.

A fantastic save from Federici denied Dyer a second with eight minutes to go; the Australian diving at full stretch away to his left to keep out his effort from 12 yards. It was arrowing right into the corner but Federici did exceptionally well to keep it out. After his mistake against Nottm Forest last week, he could be very proud of what proved to be a key contribution.

A second Reading goal had been coming, and with four minutes to go Mills powered in an unstoppable header from Howard's corner for his third goal in five days. He celebrated right in front of our supporters, and he deserved to do so after such an impressive goal.

If that goal was important, Mills then came up with a vital contribution once again as he cleared a goalbound Steve Howard effort off the line - a hugely important moment. It was an almighty scramble, and Cummings also made a top class tackle in there to prevent City from equalising.

Into stoppage time we once again had to clear off the line following a huge scramble in our area, before sub Andy King had a goal disallowed, Steve Howard penalised for a challenge on Mills. It looked a close call, but referee Webster was right on the spot to award the free kick.

That proved to be the final action, and we held on for a fabulous first win of the season.

Players and staff went right off to our fans at full time, and shared in a key win that gets us up and running in this npower Championship campaign.

    Data provided by Press Association