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16:54 26th December 2011

Report: Reading 3-0 Brighton

Reading 3 (McAnuff 16, 44, El-Abd og 90)
Brighton 0

Reading moved up to 6th in the table as a Jobi McAnuff brace helped secure all three points at home to Brighton.

McAnuff's goals came during good periods for the Royals in the first half, and the result gives Brian McDermott's men 15 points from a possible 18. It was also the boss' 50th win as Reading manager.

In particular, McAnuff's second was very well worked, coming after a ten-pass move started by Adam Federici.

In fairness to Brighton they had good chances in the second half, but you similarly got the impression that with the two-goal lead Reading were able to conserve energy amidst these Christmas fixtures - and a late own goal from Adam El-Abd put a seal on proceedings.

The game was seen by the third highest Boxing Day home gate in RFC history - so all in all an excellent day for our supporters as our very good run of form continues.

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Cummings, Griffin, Gorkss (Harte 90), Pearce; Karacan, Leigertwood, Kebe, McAnuff (c); Church (Antonio 88), Le Fondre (Hunt 75)
Subs: Andersen, Harte, Tabb
Booked: Griffin (foul 75)

Brighton (4-1-4-1): Ankergren; El-Abd, Taricco, Dunk, Greer (c); Bridcutt; Harley, Sparrow, Buckley (Noone 63), LuaLua (Paynter 63); Mackail-Smith
Subs: Brezovan, Navarro, Hall
Booked: Bridcutt (foul 53)

Attendance: 22,141 (2,751 away)

Starting XI:
Reading made one change, Jimmy Kebe in for the injured Hal Robson-Kanu. Andy Griffin remained at left back - Ian Harte and Noel Hunt were back involved and took places on the bench.


First half:
Jem Karacan had the first shot after a little more than five minutes, and Casper Ankergren almost made a meal of it as the effort looped up off an Albion leg.

Reading started very well, and Kebe had an effort cleared off the line after a lovely team move involving countless passes. The Malian then put in an excellent low cross that Simon Church stabbed narrowly wide. Adam El-Abd had Albion's first shot but it was well saved by Adam Federici.

After a very good start we were not to be denied. Kebe showed great footwork out on the right wing, and whipped in a low cross that Jobi McAnuff volleyed home on the sidefoot from 12 yards out.

Brighton responded with a spell of good possession, and El-Abd had a decent chance but put off target.

Next to try his luck was Matt Sparrow, and his curling effort had Federici at full stretch as it curled wide low past the post.

Just before half time Kebe put in another cracking cross, and Adam Le Fondre got a good header on it but it was too close to Ankergren.

Right on the half time whistle it was 2-0 - McAnuff's effort deflected home. Simon Church looked to have been loitering and initially it looked like he may have got the final touch - but the consensus was that it was the skipper's second and it rounded off a great first half for him.


Second half:
The first notable effort of the second half fell Le Fondre's way after a nice Andy Griffin pass, and his long-range effort went not too far wide.

While still a good spectacle, chances were at a premium in the first 20 minutes or so, but Albion sub Billy Paynter could have done better from close range but fired over.

Soon afterwards Brighton had a strong penalty claim as Craig Mackail-Smith went down under a challenge in the back from Griffin - but referee Mr Hooper was having none of it.

Ryan Harley then tested Federici with a low effort, and he gathered at the second attempt.

Mackail-Smith then had a glorious chance as a cross came in from the left, but he completely missed his kick and a chance was spurned. And moments later he put another real opportunity wide, this time with a header from six yards out.

Reading looked to be conserving energy throughout the second half, and a late El-Abd own goal from Kebe's cross put a great seal on the score.

And so that concluded a game in which Reading had done the lion's share of the work in the first half, going a long way to secure three excellent points.

Brian McDermott's men are beginning to gather momentum - and they will be keen to perform in the same positive, professional manner when Ipswich come to town on New Year's Eve.

    Data provided by Press Association