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21:55 6th March 2012

Report: Noel keeps Royals on a roll

Reading 1 (Hunt 23)
Portsmouth 0

A first half header from Noel Hunt earned Reading a seventh straight win as the Royals saw off Portsmouth in comfortable fashion.

Hunt scored midway through the first half with a very good header from Jason Roberts' cross, and Portsmouth were kept at arm's length, not registering a single shot on target.

The result furthered strengthened Reading's position in the top three, and Brian McDermott's side saw the game out very, very well indeed.

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Cummings, Harte, Gorkss, Pearce; Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff (c) (Cywka 90), Robson-Kanu (Le Fondre 70); Hunt, Roberts
Subs: Andersen, Tabb, Church

Portsmouth (4-4-2): Henderson; Mokoena, Halford, Pearce (c), Rocha; Mullins, Thorne, Norris (Kitson 79), Ward; Allan (Futacs 84), Varney
Subs: Ashdown, Etuhu, Webster

Attendance: 18,399 (1,340 away)

Starting XI team news:
Reading made one change, Shaun Cummings in for the injured Matthew Connolly at right back. Jimmy Kebe remained sidelined, while Andy Griffin had a hamstring problem.

First half:
Kaspars Gorkss had the first chance of the game from Ian Harte's free kick but his diving header was wide on 11 minutes.

Reading were the driving force from the off, and although Pompey were neat in possession the Royals always looked the more likely to score - and so it proved.

Midway through the half Jason Roberts did very well down the right - not for the first time - and whipped in a super cross that Noel Hunt thumped home with a header.

Roberts himself nearly got onto a McAnuff pass a few moments later, but was denied by a tight offside flag.

Going into half time Reading remained well on top, and Mikele Leigertwood slapped a volley off target after more good play from Ian Harte and Roberts.

Second half:
Reading continued to have the majority of possession after the break, but chances were at a premium.

Around the midway point of the half Pompey began to get good time on the ball, but didn't look like troubling Adam Federici. A high catch from a cross proved to be the busiest he was all evening.

Adam Le Fondre came on with 20 minutes to go and almost scored with his first touch but his effort hit the side netting.

Le Fondre then looked to be away down the left ten minutes later but was harshly pulled back for a free kick.

It may not have been the prettiest game, but Reading were very effective indeed. With so many games in March, it was a wise strategy to reserve energy for the fixtures at head. Pompey never really looked like scoring.

Inside the final ten minutes Alex Pearce had a header at goal that was blocked, and Le Fondre was inches away with a header from the ensuing corner.

That was the final goalmouth action, and a very well-organised Royals deserved all three points come the final whistle.

With seven straight wins, Brian McDermott's team are in superb form and putting real pressure on the other teams in hunt for promotion,

    Data provided by Press Association