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08:19 17th July 2013

Fantastic win for Royals

Leeds 2 (Smith 63, Austin 64)
Reading 4 (McCleary 25, Drenthe 46, Blackman 48, Robson-Kanu 55)

The Royals won at Elland Road after a crazy game of football on Tuesday evening in Yorkshire.

In a game that was delayed by 30 minutes due to traffic problems, the visitors took the lead after a calamitous misunderstanding in the United backline, leading to Garath McCleary pouncing on an under hit backpass to rob Jack Butland and tap into an empty net.

The match exploded into life after the break, as Reading trebled their lead within three minutes of the restart. Firstly Royston Drenthe sizzled in an unstoppable free-kick in from 20 yards, before Nick Blackman bundled home a probing cross by Danny Guthrie.

Hal Robson-Kanu, who was outstanding leading the line for the men from Berkshire, grabbed a deserved goal before the hour mark - bustling in from the left before rasping the ball into the top right corner.

It seemed plain sailing from there, even as substitute Matt Smith tapped home at the far post for Leeds - but after Rodolph Austin dipped in a stunning 30 yard effort on 64 minutes, the home crowd sparked into life and the visiting supporters wondered if an incredible comeback was on the cards.

But, to Reading's credit, despite a vociferous atmosphere and immense pressure on the defence - Adkins' side held on for a valuable victory in their hunt for promotion.

Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Obita, Gorkss, Pearce, Akpan, Guthrie, McCleary (Blackman 40), McAnuff (c), Drenthe (Hector 78), Robson-Kanu (Cummings 85)
Subs: Federici, Cummings, Hector, Tshibola, J Taylor, Blackman, Le Fondre.

Leeds: Butland, Lees, Pearce, Murphy, Byram, Zaliukas (Smith 60), Mowatt, Pugh, Austin, McCormack (c), Wickham.
Referee: Mr Oliver Langford

Booked: Mowatt (foul 27)
Subs: Cairns, Stewart, Smith, Brown, Wootton, Poleon, Hunt

First Half

After a half hour delay due to traffic problems the game finally got underway at 8.15pm, with a warm handshake exchanged between Nigel Adkins and former Reading boss Brian McDermott.

The first shot of the opening ten minutes came from Leeds' on loan Sunderland forward Connor Wickham, whose long range daisy cutter was well gathered by Alex McCarthy.

A swift break upfield led by Hal Robson-Kanu then ended in Jobi McAnuff firing well wide, after the Jamaican latched onto a deflected drive from Drenthe.

But the visitors would take the lead - and in calamitous circumstances for the home side. Superb pressure from Drenthe and Robson-Kanu hurried the United back line, and after a poor back pass McCleary pounced to rob the ball off Jack Butland on the edge of the area before rolling into an empty net.

Robson-Kanu then won a free-kick 30 yards from goal, which Danny Guthrie whipped into the arms of Butland. The England stopper had to be in top form seven minutes before the break as another quick counter ended in McCleary finding Robson-Kanu, whose stinging shot from close range was bravely tipped away from goal. From the resulting corner a superb delivery from Drenthe then floated to the back post, before Pearce headed narrowly off target.

Second Half

And the second half began with a bang for the Royals. Robson-Kanu won a free-kick on the edge of the box, and Drenthe stepped up to lash an unstoppable set piece past Butland - before celebrating by mobbing his manager on the touchline!

Moments later - it was three. A probing Guthrie cross from the left caused havoc, and substitute Nick Blackman, a replacement for the injured McCleary, bundled home.

Then on 54 minutes - four! An outstanding strike from Robson-Kanu and one that was thoroughly deserved for the Welsh international. He battled down the left, bullied his marker off the ball and slammed an unstoppable drive into the top corner. Hal had worked extremely hard in a lone front role throughout, and it was just rewards for the Academy product.

Austin's header was then well held by McCarthy as Leeds tried to rally, in front of an increasingly frustrated home support.

And the Whites' resilience paid off in a crazy sixty second spell, as substitute Matt Smith latched onto a Jason Pearce header to tap home at the far post, before Austin further reduced the deficit with a stunning strike from 30 yards.

The pressure kept coming as the United fans were once more on side, Sam Byram flicking a header inches wide of McCarthy's post. In an increasingly crazy game Nigel Adkins' side looked to respond, with Drenthe playing a one two with Guthrie before firing a cross against the post from the left of the box.

With United throwing men forward there were sporadic chances for the away side to break, as a lung busting 60 yard run from Gunter ended in a squared ball to Blackman, who fired wide from a tough position.

Ultimately hearts were still in mouths at the other end....a cross whipped from the left ended with McCormack firing wide with 87 minutes on the clock. Austin then tried once more from distance, but couldn't replicate his earlier world class strike as McCarthy held well.

Four minutes of added time were announced to further punish the nails of the travelling support, but perhaps McDermott's men ran out of steam - as the Royals held on to seal a valuable win.