Reading 2 (Kebe 25, Roberts 43)
First half goals from Jimmy Kebe and Jason Roberts gave Reading a good home win over Coventry, and took our run of form to nine wins in twelve games.
A slightly strange effort from Kebe made it 1-0 following Roberts' backheel, and then the striker turned home from very close range after debutant Matthew Connolly's header.
The game then always felt comfortable, although Adam Federici made some very good second half saves to preserve the clean sheet.
At the start of three games in seven days it was a good way to get back to action, and at this stage of the season three points are of course the most important outcome. It was a potentially tricky obstacle dodged.
Reading: Federici; Connolly, Harte, Gorkss (c), Pearce; Karacan, Leigertwood (Tabb 87), Kebe (Cywka 76), Mills; Hunt (Church 67), Roberts
Subs: Andersen, Le Fondre
Booked: Leigertwood (foul 64)
Coventry: Murphy; Christie, Keogh, Wood (Clarke 7), Cranie; Clingan (c) (Bell 59), Norwood, Deegan (Baker 76), Nimely; McSheffrey, Platt
Subs: Denn, Eastwood
Booked: Christie (foul 27), Cranie (foul 40), Clarke (foul 82)
Referee: D Coote
Attendance: 18,006 (1,303 away)
Starting XI team news:
Reading made five changes. Jimmy Kebe, Mikele Leigertwood, Matthew Connolly, Ian Harte and Joseph Mills all came in. Jobi McAnuff, Shaun Cummings, Andy Griffin and Hal Robson-Kanu have injuries so missed out, while ex-Sky Blue Jay Tabb moved to the bench.
Coventry were forced into a very early change, Jordan Clarke off the bench in the 8th minute to replace Richard Wood at the back.
Chances were hard to find early on, and on 14 minutes a good ball in from Joseph Mills found Noel Hunt but City were able to block.
Down the other end Gary Deegan caught a volley nicely outside the box but it was wide of the upright. Gary McSheffrey then should have been booked for a late challenge on Jimmy Kebe but was left unpunished.
After a very quiet opening, Reading took the lead in unusual - but very welcome - fashion. Taking possession from Matthew Connolly, Kebe played a nice ball into Jason Roberts' feet, and the striker backheeled a lovely touch into his path. Kebe was in the area, and stabbed a very unusual effort at goal - it was perhaps a cross but it floated past Joe Murphy more thanks to direction than pace. If it was Eric Cantona we'd say he meant it, so let's give our own Mr Mercurial the benefit of the doubt!
City looked for a quick response after a backpass from Matthew Connolly was underhit - probably his only misplaced pass of the game - but Alex Nimely failed to capitalise.
Six minutes before the break Hunt headed at goal, but it was easily saved by Murphy. Adam Federici then recovered well after missing a long high ball into his area.
Then Reading had a second - Connolly headed goalwards from a corner and Roberts got the final touch literally right on the line, a very good time to double the advantage.
Reading were keeping the ball very nicely at the start of the second period, and it seemed the late goal in the first half knocked City off their stride.
Just before the hour mark Roberts went on an excellent run from the left wing, and went to ground inside the box but nothing was given.
City then found a lease of life and Reading needed a superb stop from Adam Federici as Nimely went one-on-one. A very important save.
And then again Federici was on hand, diving full stretch to keep out McSheffrey's brilliant volley. Our 'keeper had made two huge contributions.
Sub Simon Church then had a very good chance with a header from close range after Ian Harte's free kick, but he headed over as it came at him very quickly through a crowd of bodies. It was not easy.
Then Federici made another good save from Nimely but the game was petering out, save for a good cameo from Tomasz Cywka and an ovation for Jay Tabb as he came on.
So it was a good win, and made it nine victories out of twelve for Brian McDermott's side.
These type of games are often tricky - but Reading did a professional job and took three points that may yet prove vital to our success this season.
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