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22:01 29th November 2011

Report: Royals take battling victory

Reading 3 (Church 26 (Le Fondre 77, Robson-Kanu 79)
Peterborough 2 (Rowe 15, Sinclair 90)

Another late show from the Royals earned us a hard-fought three points against Peterborough this Tuesday evening.

Two substitutions proved pivotal for Brian McDermott, with both Adam Le Fondre and Hal Robson-Kanu coming off the bench to score in the space of three minutes; Robson-Kanu's effort an excellent individual goal.

Peterborough more than played their part in the game and took an early lead through Tommy Rowe, and Emile Sinclair then missed a golden chance to make it 2-0.

But Simon Church prodded home from close range midway through the half to equalise, and celebrated by holding his black armband aloft in memory of Gary Speed.

Church had been set up by Jimmy Kebe following an Ian Harte cross, and again Kebe supplied Le Fondre from a Harte cross to make it 2-1 with 13 minutes to go.

Robson-Kanu superbly extended our lead two minutes later, and Emile Sinclair beat Adam Federici inside the area to give us some late jitters but we held out.

At full time we moved up to ninth in the table, and two wins in the space of four days is a very welcome boost - with McDermott's men really digging deep to take maximum points in these two fixtures.

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Cummings, Harte, Gorkss, Pearce; Karacan (Robson-Kanu 61), Leigertwood (Tabb 89), Kebe, McAnuff (c); Church (Le Fondre 61), Hunt
Subs: Andersen, Manset
Booked: McAnuff (foul 17), Gorkss (foul 48), Leigertwood (foul 68)

Peterborough (4-4-2): Jones; Alcock, Kennedy, Bennett, Zakuani; McCann, Tomlin, Boyd, Rowe; Sinclair, Taylor
Subs: Lewis; Little, Tunnicliffe, Thompson, Kearns
Booked: Tomlin (foul 42), Kennedy (foul 68), Boyd (foul 86)

Attendance: 15,907 (488 away)

Ref: A Woolmer

Starting XI team news:
Reading were unchanged from the weekend win at Ipswich, with Brian McDermott sticking with the same XI that won at Portman Road. Ian Harte was playing his first home game since 20th August, keeping his place at left back as Joseph Mills continued to recover from an ankle injury picked up in the Cardiff game.

Minute's applause:
The game was preceded by an excellent minute's applause for Gary Speed MBE, with supporters in all four stands joining in paying their respects to the late Wales manager.

First half:
Peterborough had the first sight of goal when Adam Federici wasn't quite able to gather a cross, but his defence was on hand to smack clear. Paul Taylor's then shot off target for the visitors, before Alex Pearce got in an excellent challenge to avert an attack.

Ian Harte's excellent corner was not too far away from Noel Hunt on 18 minutes, but it was Peterborough who had started the brighter and Federici made a good save from Emile Sinclair, although it may have been going just wide.

From the corner kick United took a deserved lead, with Tommy Rowe rising highest unmarked and planting home a good header into the top corner from Grant McCann's delivery.

Sinclair then spurned an absolutely golden chance from Harte's misplaced backpass, missing the target from 18 yards with only Federici to beat. United's Grant McCann then nearly scored an own goal from Jobi McAnuff's corner but it flew into the side netting. McAnuff was soon booked for a very innocuous-looking challenge on George Boyd, meaning he will miss our weekend game at Blackpool.

After a series of corners, Reading got themselves on level terms. Harte's third successive corner went to Jimmy Kebe at the back post, and he headed back in for Church to score from close range. The Welshman celebrated by holding his black armband aloft to pay respect to the late Gary Speed.

The game then entered a quiet phase with defences on top, and on 38 minutes Taylor had a shot on goal but Federici saved comfortably. In injury time Lee Tomlin hit a very good effort that was just wide of the upright as Posh looked to capitalise on some good play going into the break.

Second half:
Taylor again looked lively for Posh after the break, and Kaspars Gorkss was booked for a foul on him midway in the Reading half.

Chances were at a real premium, and boss Brian McDermott made a double sub in a bid to win the game, Robson-Kanu and Le Fondre on for Church and Karacan. Robson-Kanu nearly made a telling contribution with his first cross but Hunt was unable to keep his header down, and Shaun Cummings then got a good cross in from the right and Le Fondre was almost on the end of it.

With 17 minutes to go Tomlin tried his luck folllwing a nice team move but Federici was equal to it, and then Hunt drilled in an excellent cross that Le Fondre almost turned in.

As the game ticked into the final 15 minutes, Reading got themselves in front. Harte's deep cross found Kebe in the box, and the winger took a very good touch, found Le Fondre and he sidefooted in as Paul Jones got a faint touch on it as it nestled into the corner.

McCann then hit an effort from outside the box for the visitors, but it was Reading who extended their advantage just moments after going ahead. Robson-Kanu won possession inside the United half and ran at goal with one thing on his mind - he powered away from the defensive line and produced a superb finish with the outside of his left foot, right into the corner. A wonderful goal.

Sinclair gave United a lifeline right on 90 minutes when he beat the onrushing Federici to the ball inside the box and slotted home, but we held out well and moved up to ninth in the table at the full time whistle.

    Data provided by Press Association