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17:16 10th December 2011

Report: Hammers are well beaten

Reading 3 (Pearce 66, Church 82, 86)
West Ham 0

Reading earned a major scalp by seeing off West Ham United 3-0 at Madejski Stadium.

United had the best away record in the division coming into the game, and the game exploded into life in the second half when Reading scored three goals in 20 minutes and West Ham had two men sent off.

Alex Pearce set Reading on their way just after Joey O'Brien was sent off, and sub Simon Church then scored twice on his 23rd birthday to put a fantastic seal on the scoreline.

In between Church's two goals Jack Collison was sent off for a tackle on Jimmy Kebe, the visitors seemingly incensed after the winger pulled his sock up while the ball was at his feet out on the wing - although there was no United player within 10 yards so he was well within his rights to do so.

It was a great scalp in Brian McDermott's 100th game in permanent charge, seeing off a hugely experienced and costly United side.

And there was another milestone along the way as Madejski Stadium passed a total of 5,000,000 fans for League games with a bumper sell-out crowd - all in all a fantastic afternoon to be at Madejski Stadium.

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Cummings, Harte, Gorkss, Pearce; Karacan, Leigertwood, Kebe (Robson-Kanu 89), McAnuff (c); Hunt (Church 64), Le Fondre
Subs: Andersen, Tabb, Antonio
Booked: Hunt (ungentlemanly conduct 62), Leigertwood (timewasting 82)

West Ham (4-2-3-1): Green; Demel (O'Brien 4), McCartney, Faye, Tomkins; Diop (Cole 58), Noble; Faubert, Collison, Nolan (c); Piquionne (Carew 72)
Subs: Stech, Sears
Booked: Faye (foul 17), McCartney (foul 52),
Sent off: O'Brien (two yellows, ungentlemanly conduct 62 & foul 64)

Attendance: 24,026 (4,339 away)

Starting XI team news:
Reading made two changes, with Jobi McAnuff back from suspension and Noel Hunt returning from injury. Hal Robson-Kanu and Simon Church therefore moved to the bench.

First half:
With only 90 seconds gone West Ham's Guy Demel went down injured, and after lengthy treatment the right back was stretchered off and replaced by Joey O'Brien.

Reading were then close to opening the scoring as Adam Le Fondre got away down the left, and his cross was agonisingly close to being turned in by Noel Hunt.

Kevin Nolan saw a header scrambled away from a corner, and Mikele Leigertwood then went on a couple of excellent runs but we didn't get a chance at the end of them.

Abdoulaye Faye was then booked for a very firm challenge on Jobi McAnuff, and it was a yellow at the very least as he left the ground to make the tackle.

As the half reached its midway point Reading were the driving force, and Robert Green had to rush out of his area to deny Hunt from Adam Federici's long kick. The loose ball fell to Jimmy Kebe but he was unable to hit the target with a tough chance.

On 25 minutes Kebe put in a good cross from a nice Le Fondre through ball, but George McCartney was on hand to make an important block. Jem Karacan was next to try his luck after showing good feet outside the area but his effort was always arrowing wide.

It was then United's turn, and Frederic Piquionne's effort seemed to be goalbound when it hit Nolan's heel inside the area, and although the United captain might have been offside, play continued and we had to clear another Nolan effort. Next to try his luck was Jack Collison, but his effort was deflected over.

West Ham were having a decent spell, and from the corner Hunt cleared Papa Bouba Diop's sidefoot off the line, a very important block from the striker.

Hunt then linked up very well with Le Fondre down the other end, and only another important block, this time from James Tomkins, prevented the Irishman from a great chance on 43 minutes.

Right on half time Jem Karacan will feel he should have scored from Kebe's left wing cross, but he misjudged his low header and didn't get a good enough contact to put it on target.

Second half:
Seven minutes after the restart Kebe went on a good run into Hammers territory, with George McCartney booked for fouling the winger. Ian Harte had a shot at goal from the free kick, and as Robert Green stayed motionless it went a yard or so wide.

Leigertwood soon played a very good pass for Hunt to go one-on-one with Robert Green, but his touch and strike at goal were not perfect and the former England 'keeper was able to save - a good opportunity spurned.

Piquionne then almost got in and seemed to want a foul by Alex Pearce in the box - but the referee rightly waved it away.

Just beyond the hour mark the game exploded into life. O'Brien and Hunt were booked for a contretemps as Hunt made a late challenge, and then almost immediately O'Brien was shown a second yellow for a foul on McAnuff.

From Harte's resulting free kick, the ball broke to McAnuff, and he had acres of space to pick out Pearce for a good sidefoot finish off Faye's legs, the defender's second in four games.

Sub Simon Church was then only a foot or so away from making it 2-0 as his left-footed effort went just wide.

And with 11 minutes to go Harte was desperately close to heading home McAnuff's corner but his bulleted effort went just over. It was all Reading.

But soon enough it was 2-0. Karacan and Kebe combined well on the right, and Le Fondre played a lovely chipped cross to the back post where Church did the rest for a goal on his 23rd birthday.

Soon United were down to nine men - Kebe had possession near the corner flag and pulled his socks up while the ball was still at his feet, with no Hammer within 10 yards or so. West Ham didn't take kindly to his gesture and Jack Collison saw red for a lunge at the winger's shins as the game took an unsavoury turn.

And from the free kick Reading made it 3-0, Church heading home very well from Harte's delivery.

Kebe was soon removed to a standing ovation, and Church was almost put through for a hat-trick - but Reading were not fussed in the slightest as the final whistle signalled a major scalp.

    Data provided by Press Association