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05:01 15th January 2014

Ten men win all three points

QPR 1 (Doyle 20)
Reading 3 (Williams 10, Pearce 56, McCleary 58)

Danny Williams made it two goals in two away games, opening the scoring with a lovely header back across Rob Green in the Rangers goal to cap a great move that involved Akpan, McAnuff and Le Fondre.

Rangers pulled level when former Royals hero Kevin Doyle pounced after Alex McCarthy had spilled Will Keane's stabbed effort at goal and the teams went in even at the break.

But two Reading goals within the space of two minutes handed Nigel Adkins' men a two-goal advantage, Pearce bundling home a delightful McAnuff corner at the far post before McCleary thundered a quite magnificent right-footed bullet into the top left corner to stun a silenced Loftus Road.

Kaspars Gorkss was harshly shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Junior Hoilett with 20 minutes remaining, a decision which left the Royals players and bench incredulous. But it didn't prevent Reading seeing out the fixture superbly, scoring three goals and taking three points from the side with the best defensive record in the division.

QPR: Green, Hughes, Assou-Ekotto (Benayoun 78), Dunne, Hill, Barton, Kranjcar, Hoilett, Traore, Keane (Zamora 57), Doyle.
Subs: Murphy, Onuoha, Jenas, Henry, Maiga.
Yellow: Hoilett, Hill, Barton, Kranjcar. 

Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Obita, Gorkss, Pearce, Akpan, Williams, McCleary (Kelly 90), McAnuff (c), Le Fondre, Pogrebnyak (Robson-Kanu 85).  
Subs: Federici, Guthrie, Blackman, Drenthe.  
Yellow: Williams, McCleary, Obita
Red: Gorkss

Referee: Mr D Coote
Att: 16,522 (1,279 away)

In glorious sunshine, the game began at a good tempo, the first half opening falling to the feet of former Royal Kevin Doyle, who tripped over the ball as he scampered into space and towards the egde of the Royals box in the opening five minutes.

But Nigel Adkins' men had begin well and after only nine minutes, his side took the lead. Akpan won possession in midfield and found McAnuff out on the left. The Royals skipper beat one man for pace, cutting inside another to find Williams who fed Le Fondre to the left side of the QPR area. Alfie dfinked a delightful ball back into the box and Williams had continued his run to place a powerful header back across Rob Green and inside the left upright. 

Moments later, Williams placed another header towards goal, but this one was from much further out and Green gathered it with ease.

Then came a half chance for Le Fondre. A deep free kick across to the right side of the Rangers box found Pogrebnyak who headed it high towards the far post. Le Fondre stood under it, but chose to direct a header back into the six yard box, where no Royals player was to turn it home and the hosts hacked it clear.

Against the run of play, Rangers levelled through...guess who! McCarthy couldn't hold a slightly deflected stab goalwards from Keane and Doyle pounced on the loose ball, beating Pearce and McCarthy to it to toe it over the line from close range.

A driving Hoilett run stretched the Royals down the right moments later and after McCarthy had turned his cross behind for a corner, Keane glanced the inswinging set piece inches over the crossbar.

Clint Hill joined Hoilett in the book after he tugged Pogrebnyak back after the Russian had wrestled his way between two man and in towards the box from the right. Obita's set piece sailed into Green's grateful gloves though.

Obita was in the action again on the half hour, collecting a cleared corner to whip a cross across the face of goal and only just wide of the far post, Pearce watching in anguish as it skidded narrowly wide.


Joey Barton took the first two shots of the second half, the first a free kick that sailed high over the bar and into the stands, the second from a similar range following Hoilett's tee-up - but again he failed to trouble McCarthy.

McCarthy did have to be alert to gather an Akpan interception that skewed off the midfielder's boot and towards his own goal, the Royals stopper catching it on his goalline without to much fuss.

And Reading took their first opportunity of the half. McAnuff won a corner and curled a sublime ball into the box, where Alex Pearce bundled it home at the far post to celebrate in the rippling net of Green.

Two minutes later and the Royals scored again. Garath McCleary ran at a back-pedalling Assou-Ekotto and smashed an unstoppable right-footed effort into the top corner - a quite incredible strike from distance to make it 3-1 and send the away fans into raptures.

Reading were rampant, an appeal for handball against Hill was waved away - then McAnuff was dragged to the ground by Kranjcar just outside the box, again no penalty was awarded.

Rangers should have pulled one back though when a deflected cross from the right looped over McCarthy and Doyle had the chance to head home from a yard out, but the former Royal missed the ball and somehow Reading's two-goal lead remained in tact.

QPR rallied well and Traore burst forward to force a tidy save from McCarthy with a left-footed drive from 25 yards that was whistling towards the Royals goal.

McCleary then broke at pace down the middle, skipping past Kranjcar's slide tackle with grace and style, but his threaded pass into Le Fondre was slightly behind the striker and the move broke down.

But with 20 minutes remaining a refereeing decision again went against the Royals. Kaspars Gorkss slid in to tackle Hoilett and was slightly late. But the Mr Coote raced over the wing and produced a straight red card for the former QPR man to Gorkss' utter disbelief.

Michael Hector was called off the bench to replace Le Fondre and be thrown into the cut and thrust of the game as part of Reading's re-jigged back four. Yossi Benayoun meanwhile came on for Assou-Ekotto as the hosts looked to take full advantage.

QPR threw the kitchen sink at us. Doyle headed well over and then with five minute left on the clock, Barton volleyed a wonderful effort centimeters over the crossbar.

In injury time, Hill slid in to try to get a leg to a far post corner but could only direct it into the side netting, and the Royals saw the game out expertly, Rangers not even given a chance to make the final few minutes nervy.

It was a quite superb away performance and Reading were fully deserving of their win!