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17:02 10th March 2012

Rampant Royals seal stunning win

Reading 3 (Leigertwood 15, Roberts 75, Church 90)
Leicester City 1 (Danns 90)

Goals from Mikele Leigertwood, Jason Roberts and Simon Church earned the Royals their eighth successive win against Leicester City this afternoon - taking Brian McDermott's men level on points with second-placed West Ham.

Mikele Leigertwood hammered an unstoppable right-footed thunderbolt into the top right corner to break the deadlock after a quarter of an hour, smashing Jobi McAnuff's cut back past a helpless Kasper Schmeichel to send a packed Madejski Stadium wild.

Leicester's slick passing moves were consistently snuffed out by a Royals side refusing to relinquish their lead, and Jason Roberts added a crucial second when he slotted home Noel Hunt's low cross.

Substitute Simon Church added a last minute third, heading home a floated far post cross from Hunt, and although Neil Danns grabbed an injury time consolation for City, Madejski Stadium erupted at the sound of the final whistle and three more points.

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Cummings, Harte, Gorkss, Pearce; Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff (c), Robson-Kanu; Hunt, Roberts (Church 83)
Subs: Andersen, Tabb, Cywka, Le Fondre.
Yellow: Leigertwood (foul)

Leicester City (4-4-2): Schmeichel, Peltier, Kennedy (Bamba HT), St. Ledger, Morgan, Drinkwater (Gallagher 74), Wellens, Dyer, Danns, Nugent, Beckford (Howard HT)
Subs: Marshall, Schlupp
Yellow: Howard (dissent)

Attendance: 21,858 (1,629 away)
Referee: R Madley

Starting XI team news:
The Royals named an unchanged line-up this afternoon after the same personnel earned Brian McDermott's men their seventh win in seven at home to Portsmouth in midweek. Jimmy Kebe missed out with a knock that has kept him out for the last two victories.

First half
Just seven minutes in and Leicester survived two big scares in one flowing Royals move. Roberts found Hunt inside the box, whose driven shot was parried by the leg of Kasper Schmeichel, but Jobi McAnuff recycled it with a high looping cross towards Leigertwood at the far post.

Watching it drop, Leigertwood scuffed a volley past the Foxes stopper but not the last defender on the line, who headed it clear. Only to Hunt though, who nodded it past Schmeichel again, only for another City defender to head off the goalline to deny the Royals again.

The resultant corner found Alex Pearce at the far post and somehow Schmeichel managed to keep it out, but Reading had tested the Foxes defence early.

Five minutes later, Leicester squandered a half chance of their own, Sean St Ledger glancing a header wide of the far post from only six yards out.

But it was Reading who rightly took the lead after a quarter of an hour - and what a goal it was! A cross was whipped in from the left and bounced over a few heads to fall at the feet of McAnuff. He teed up Mikele Leigertwood who absolutely thundered a right-footed bullet into the top right corner from the edge of the area. Unstoppable.

Ten minutes before the break, the npower Championship's Player of the Month Adam Federici had to show good handling to deal with a Neil Danns effort from distance that bounced awkwardly in front of him but nestled into the Aussie stopper's arms.

And although Lloyd Dyer raced away from a couple of tackles in midfield on a good run forward, Ian Harte was there to stop him in his tracks with a good challenge on the edge of the Royals box.

On the stroke of half time, Jobi McAnuff was scythed down by Kennedy, but Ian Harte's free kick was blocked by a Leicester wall and the Royals headed into the dressing room one goal to the good.

Second half
Nigel Pearson made a double change at the break, bringing on Sol Bamba and Steve Howard for Tom Kennedy and Jermaine Beckford.

Drinkwater skewed an early half-volley harmlessly wide within the opening minutes of the second period, signalling the Foxes intent to get back into the game.

And Nugent fired another warning with a pacy run down the left, cutting inside and curling a 20-yard effort just wide of the right post.

Lee Peltier's deflected effort earned Leicester a corner, but Reading almost capitalised with a counter attack, Roberts scurrying away from midfield but seeing his pass aimed at Robson-Kanu intercepted by a backtracking Danns.

But the Foxes were turning up the pressure and after a slick passing sequence Nugent drove an effort across the face of goal and wide of the bottom left corner, moments before slicing a more difficult chance over the bar.

Brian McDermott's men always looked dangerous on the break as the game opened up a little, Hunt setting Roberts away down the right midway through the second half, but Karacan unable to cut back a cross from the byline before it rolled out.

And then moments later, Robson-Kanu skipped through three challenges before feeding Hunt in acres of space to his right. But Schmeichel read it well and raced from his line to slide onto the ball at Hunt's feet and avert the danger.

With 20 minutes left on the clock, Roberts was sent clear by Karacan. He muscled his way in front of Bamba, only to seemingly be tugged back by the defender's arm just inside the area. Appeals for a foul were waved away to Roberts' and McDermott's disbelief.

But the danger wasn't cleared. Hunt slid in to win the ball back from a marauding Schmeichel and, with the keeper stranded in no man's land, Hunt tried his luck from 35 yards, but dragged his effort wide.

With a quarter of an hour remaining, Reading bagged a vital second. Hunt found some space down the right, cut inside and passed a low centre into Jason Roberts who calmly sidefooted home past Schmeichel for 2-0.

Lloyd Dyer struck an effort that was deflected inches wide of the bottom left corner as City sought a comeback goal.

But it was Reading who almost added another in the dying stages, Robson-Kanu wriggling free inside the box and driving an effort through a crowded box and into the side netting late on.

Reading were to have a third though - and yet again a McDermott substitution came good. Noel Hunt floated a cross to Simon Church at the far post and Roberts' replacement got in front of his marker to head home for 3-1.

Nigel Pearson's side stole an injury time consolation when Danns arrowed an effort past Federici from 12 yards out, but it didn't dampen the home fans' jubilation one but when the final whistle sounded.
    Data provided by Press Association