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23:18 21st June 2012

History makers!

Newcastle 1 (Cabaye 37)
Reading 2 (Le Fondre 70, 78)
A second half brace from substitute Adam Le Fondre sealed the Royals first ever win at St. James' Park on Saturday afternoon. 

The odds and the weather were against both Brian McDermott's men and their hardy travelling supporters, and despite a battling first half display heads could have dropped when Yohan Cabaye's spectacular free-kick put the Toon in front. 

However the home fans were silenced by yet another magnificent Reading fightback, as Le Fondre bundled home birthday boy Jimmy Kebe's cutback, before brilliantly firing past Krul after debutant Hope Akpan's initial snapshot rolled into his path. 

History was made - and it was a superb night to be involved with Reading Football Club.

Newcastle: Krul, Santon, Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini (C), Cabaye (Bigirimana 74), Anita (Obertan 80), Gutierrez, Marveaux (Perch 65), Sh Ameobi, Cisse 

Subs: Elliot, Perch, Taylor, Bigirimana, Obertan, Sa Ameobi, Ranger  

Booked: Williamson (foul 56), Debuchy (foul 79)

Reading: Federici, Harte, Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Leigertwood, Guthrie (Le Fondre 70), McAnuff, McCleary (Akpan 65), Kebe, Pogrebnyak

Subs: Taylor, Gunter, Morrison, Akpan, Karacan, Le Fondre, Hunt 

Booked: Kelly (foul 67), Kebe (Unsportsmanlike conduct 90)

Attendance: 49,111 (1,068 superb Royals!)

First Half

There was just a hint of snow in the air as the match kicked off, with the lines of the St James’ Park pitch tinted blue as the club took every precaution to avoid disruption.

The Royals fans were in good voice from kick off, despite being stuck up in the gods after braving adverse weather and a potential travel nightmare to roar on their boys. 

There was almost an opportunity for Jimmy Kebe 11 minutes into the half, after a superb piece of play by Mikele Leigertwood – who shrugged Cabaye off the ball deep inside his own half before clipping a delicious pass with the inside of the boot to the Malian.

The winger was celebrating his birthday in the North East, but as he dashed free on the right side of the box couldn’t quite pick out a man with the Toon defence stretched on the counter attack. 

Cabaye had a chance at the other end as the Reading defence waited for an offside flag that never came, allowing the Frenchman to scamper in on goal – only to see his effort kicked away by Federici.

Reading’s number one was on even better form moments later, as he did brilliantly to tip away Cisse’s header wide of the post. 

It was on the counter attack that the visitors  looked threatening – as Guthrie sent McCleary away down the left flank – and the wide man’s cross was just scuffed wide by the on-rushing Pogrebnyak. 

Such end to end football was needed to warm the cockles as a bitter snowstorm closed in – and Papiss Cisse almost had the home fanbase out their seats as his volley was well held by Federici.

The Austrailan stopper was performing incredible heroics – as he pulled off a remarkable stop on the next attack, again from CIsse – with the giant striker seemingly destined to score from close range. 

However, there was nothing he could do about the opening goal. Marveaux’s mazy run won a free-kick on the edge of the D – and Yohan Cabaye stepped up to majestically curl home into the top corner. 

Second Half  

The hail didn't relent as the second half got underway - with Shola Ameobi curling a harmless effort wide five minutes in.  

Danny Guthrie, playing against his former paymasters, had an opportunity to replicate Cabaye's first half strike with a free-kick 25 yards from goal shortly before the hour mark - but could only bend his shot over the bar.  

There was half a chance for Pogrebnyak five minutes later - as Kebe nodded down a long ball into the box, which the Russian drove over the bar on the half volley.  

It was then that Brian McDermott elected to give a Premier League, and Reading debut - to Hope Akpan. The young midfielder replaced Garath McCleary, with Jobi McCanuff moving out to the left wing.  

But it was another substitute that would have the key effect - as Adam Le Fondre replaced Guthrie, and seconds later had leveled the scores. 

A superb raking crossfield ball from Leigertwood put Kebe away down the right hand side - and the Malian's cutback was bundled home by the prolific number nine. A deserved reward for a vocal away support.  

That wasn't it. Seventy seven minutes on the clock and Reading's ultimate super sub had his brace - a long ball at the far post was nodded down by kebe, Akpan's snapshot was mis-hit - but fell invitingly for Le Fondre who finished superbly past a helpless Krul. 

Ameobi had a half chance to level the scores once more with 88 minutes on the clock - but panicked somewhat on the left hand side of the area before ballooning a shot over the bar.  

That was that for the Toon. Reading saw the game out magnificently, and were resilient to the last kick - as Andre Marriner's whistle signalled a historic first win at St. James' Park.