Reading 1 (Kebe 77)
Cardiff 2 (Whittingham 2, Hudson 70)
Cardiff took all three points in a game when Reading gave all they could but sadly did not take a result on the day.
City took an early lead with a long-range Peter Whittingham goal, and despite Reading's continual pressure, and three penalty appeals, the visitors were able to hold out.
Jimmy Kebe had a goal disallowed and Jem Karacan saw a very good chance saved, but then Mark Hudson scored a second against the run of play.
We responded quickly with a headed goal from Kebe, but never got that clear chance to equalise late on, even with Adam Federici
up for a couple of late corner.
City moved up to fourth in the table with this win, and it was a victory perhaps borne out of a touch more guile and experience in their ranks, as well as key moments going in their favour. There was no lack of effort from Brian McDermott's men but they must dust themselves off after suffering defeat to a Cardiff team who move up to fourth.
Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Cummings (Manset 74), Mills, Gorkss, Pearce; Karacan, Leigertwood, Kebe, McAnuff (c); Hunt, Le Fondre (Robson-Kanu 88)
Subs: Andersen, Harte, Church
Booked: Karacan (foul 72), Federici (handball 90)
Cardiff (4-4-1-1): Marshall; McNaughton, Taylor, Hudson (c), Turner; Gunnarsson, Kiss (McPhail 82), Whittingham, Conway (Gerrard 90); Cowie; Miller
Subs: Heaton, Mason, Earnshaw
Booked: Whittingham (foul 7), Hudson (foul 34)
Attendance: 20,361 (3,628 away)
Ref: D SheldrakeTeam news:
Reading made one change, with Noel Hunt in for Simon Church, who was on the bench. Jem Karacan was fine to start despite missing a Turkish u23s game with a knock.First half:
Cardiff flew out of the traps and were ahead within the first few minutes. A long range Craig Conway shot was palmed by Adam Federici
, then he did well to keep out the follow-up from Filip Kiss. But Jimmy Kebe was caught in possession and the ball broke to Peter Whittingham
- who unleashed an outstanding strike from 25 yards into the top corner. Whether he intended it was open to debate, but in any event Reading found themselves behind in the early stages.
Moments later David Marshall did well to palm away a corner, and from the following set piece Mikele Leigertwood swore he was pulled back inside the box, but despite our protests nothing was given. The Antiguan then forced Marshall into a good save from a quick free kick, before Jobi McAnuff wanted another penalty for handball, still inside the first ten minutes.
Reading had responded well to going behind - Noel Hunt broke forward well and looked as if he would go one-on-one, but the City defence did well to get back and deflect his effort over the bar. Hunt then had another good effort saved after a nice team move.
Kaspars Gorkss saw a goalbound header blocked from McAnuff's corner midway through the half, and Hunt was not too far wide from the next set piece. Mark Hudson then hit a volley towards our goal but Federici saved easily. McAnuff had half a chance following a good Kebe break, but again City's defenders did well - a feature of the afternoon.
On 35 minutes we had another penalty claim as the ball smacked a Cardiff player on the arm - in fairness it looked ball to hand from the press box, although our bench were distraught that nothing was given.
Ben Turner then should have done better for City with a free header from a floated cross, but planted his effort wide of the upright. He held his head in his hands as he trundled back to his defensive position, knowing it was a cracking chance.
A good Whittingham delivery then forced Federici to punch away right on half time, and Kebe broke brilliantly from the resulting corner but once more Cardiff did well to clear his cross.Second half:
Reading thought they'd scored in the 50th minute when a lovely cross was flicked on to Kebe at the back post, and the winger finished well but the flag was up for offside, sadly. TV replays also showed that the decision was spot on.
Jem Karacan then had a good chance after another nice move, and although Marshall saved well, it was just a touch too close to the 'keeper than we would have liked. After the game, the young Turk admitted he should have found the back of the net.
Reading continued to be on top beyond the hour mark, but couldn't create another clear chance they so craved - which proved crucial.
Against the run of play, Mark Hudson
doubled the visitors' advantage with an outstretched leg from a well-delivered set piece. It was a harsh blow.
Reading had a response within a few minutes though, Adam Le Fondre putting in a great cross that Kebe
headed home well as Marshall was caught cold.
Cardiff kept keeping us at arm's length, and after a Royals set play they broke well but Federici produced a good save, then Aron Gunnarsson put another not too far wide. Federici went up for a couple of late corners - sadly there was no repeat of his heroics a few years ago.
And so it ended with a win for the Welshmen. As the away side they were jubilant at taking all three points - it was a game that could so easily have seen all three results.