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21:48 16th August 2011

Report: Royals lose in late drama

Portsmouth 1 (Kitson 50)
Reading 0

A second half goal from Dave Kitson gave Portsmouth a 1-0 win in a tight game at Fratton Park - although Reading were left incensed after being denied what looked a clear late penalty, and having a goal incorrectly disallowed for offside.

Kitson's sidefoot volley gave Pompey the advantage just after half time, and Pompey's superior start to the second half ultimately won them the game.

But their defender Jason Pearce handled inside the area late on, while Noel Hunt was earlier given offside when level with the back four as the home side ran the clock down unpunished.

On the balance Portsmouth shaded it, but it was very frustrating viewing as the home side stopped the game from having any flow at all after they opened the scoring.

Both teams hit the woodwork in the first half, and sub Hal Robson-Kanu came closest to an equaliser when he forced ex-Royal Jamie Ashdown into a brilliant save

Pompey saw the game out professionally with the benefit of those officiating decisions in their favour, and it was overall a disappointing evening for our boys.

Portsmouth (4-3-3): Ashdown; Mokoena, Ben Haim, Halford, Pearce; Mullins, Norris, Lawrence (c); Kanu, Varney, Kitson (Benjani 75)
Subs: Henderson, Rocha, Williams
Booked: Mullins (foul 21)

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Griffin (Gunnarsson 72), Harte, Khumalo, Pearce; Karacan (Howard 84), Leigertwood, Kebe, McAnuff; Hunt, Manset (Robson-Kanu 67)
Subs: McCarthy, Tabb
Booked: Hunt (foul 56), Pearce (foul 87)

Ref: A D'Urso

Starting XI team news
Reading named the same eleven that defeated Leicester on Saturday, and with Jay Tabb back from suspension he took a place on the bench ahead of 17-year-old Jordan Obita.

First half
Portsmouth went on a very early break but didn't capitalise as we looked for an offside that never came, we defended well enough and cleared the danger.

An Ian Harte corner then almost went straight in but Jamie Ashdown tipped over, then former Pompey man Andy Griffin hit a rare shot that Ashdown had to save at his feet.

It was an even game in the early stages and former Royal Dave Kitson saw a decent opportunity spurned when his touch let him down. Another ex-Reading man Greg Halford then hit a cracking drive from 20 yards but Adam Federici got a very important touch on it and forced it onto the bar and over.

Portsmouth had a corner but we broke immediately and Jimmy Kebe did superbly on the counter. He ran the length of the pitch in possession, and after a slight delay got a decent shot away that Ashdown spilled but it slipped wide. Ashdown and his defence then got a fortunate break when a mix-up almost allowed Noel Hunt in.

Both sides were getting into good areas, and the next decent sight of goal came to Jobi McAnuff but he fired over from a Kebe cross. McAnuff played a lovely one-two with Mathieu Manset but his effort was blocked.

Kitson then had a real chance after getting into the box down the right, and he may have looked offside but Federici made certain and pulled off another important save as the striker delayed his effort a little too long.

There were goalmouth incidents galore, and Kebe got a great header onto McAnuff's wonderful cross but saw it smack back off the outside of the post.

Immediately Pompey missed a real sitter, Luke Varney got into the box well down the left and picked out David Norris, but the former Ipswich man skewed horribly wide.

Kanu and Jem Karacan then put efforts into Federici and Ashdown's arms, Reading's coming after a nice move involving Kebe and Griffin down the right. Pompey's Jason Pearce then headed at Federici from a corner and Ian Harte pulled a right-footer wide as the chances kept flowing.

Second half
Pompey started the second half as the better of the two sides, and Varney headed a decent chance wide soon after the restart.

The home side then crucially took advantage of their brighter start to the second half, and a corner from their right just evaded our defenders and Kitson was on hand to sidefoot home a volley.

Varney soon had another decent headed chance but once again spurned the opportunity, then Kanu had one safely tipped over by Federici.

Hunt soon had the ball in the net - but it was incorrectly chalked off for offside when he was in fact level.

Reading brought Hal Robson-Kanu on to bolster the strike force, Manset having worked very well before earning his rest.

Robson-Kanu immediately forced Ashdown to make a superb save, and Leigertwood almost saw an effort deflected in but it went just wide of the upright.

Portsmouth were having to defend - and ran the clock down unpunished at every possible opportunity.

Benjani came off the bench to a great ovation for his second Pompey debut, and almost set up a second for Varney but his effort was wide and clipped the upright.

Bonjani Khumalo then did brilliantly to get a challenge in on Varney when he looked sure to score.

In the last few minutes Reading were denied a certain pen when Kebe got inside Jason Pearce in the area and the defender had no choice but to handle - despite huge protestations it was not given and we had to resign ourselves to defeat.

    Data provided by Press Association