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15:38 24th September 2016

Roy and the Royals topple league leaders

Roy Beerens' first half strike separated the sides at the Madejski this afternoon, but it took a bit more defensive resilience to hold off ten man Huddersfield who weren't keen on giving up their position at the top of the Championship.

Rajiv Van La Parra was shown two yellow cards within the space of a few first half minutes and the Terriers went behing before the break thanks to another Dutch winger's deflected effort. But the Terriers came out of the blocks strong in the second half and came close to an equaliser on a number of occasions - Ali Al Habsi saving from Elias Kachunga with the last touch of the game.

Jaap Stam handed Callum Harriott his first league start of the season in light of Garath McCleary's suspension, while Jordan Obita slotted in at left-back to take the place of Tyler Blackett at the back. Joey van den Berg recovered sufficiently from a hamstring problem to start in midfield meanwhile, with Dominic Samuel and Danzell Gravenberch both included on the substitutes' bench.

The first shot at goal came from the boot of Tommy Smith who scurried inside from the right and forced Ali Al Habsi into a relatively comfortable save low to his left.

Reading slipped smoothly into their passing style of football though and Van den Berg played a well flighted ball over the top of the Town defence for Roy Beerens to bring down on his chest, but the winger couldn't pull the ball back from the byline as it skidded off the surface and bounced wide.

A well-worked passing move at the other end threatened with 12 minutes gone - the ball finding its way to the feet of Elias Kachunga whose hooked cross-shot deflected off a Reading leg and bobbled across the six yard box but thankfully to safety.

Gunter got some space down the right and crossed to the near post but Danny Ward gathered it in well to snuff out the danger. Then, a red card reduced Huddersfield to ten!

Rajiv Van La Parra had been booked only minutes earlier for a late challenge on Jordan Obita, then he continued to walk away from referee James Linington when he called him over to have a word after an exchange with Joey van den Berg...and the referee's patience wore thin, a second yellow giving the Dutch winger his marching orders.

The Royals nearly took immediate advantage. John Swift collected the ball in a central area and pulled the trigger from 25 yards out, beating the dive of Ward but seeing the ball cannon into the base of the left post.

Paul McShane took aim from even further out and it sailed past Ward once more but this time inches wide of the right upright. Swift had an other go but this time the ball dipped kindly into the arms of Ward from range.

Swift tried to turn provider next, racing onto a ball over the top and crossing into the box but just in front of Kermorgant, before Williams' volley was charged down by Mooy on the edge of the box.

With five minutes of the half remaining, an intercepted Van den Berg pass fell into Kermorgant's path and via Roy Beerens the ball was threaded into the path of Harriott - but Chris Schinder got a boot to the ball before the winger could take aim.

And a minute later, Reading had the lead. Harriott's cross from the byline looped to Beerens at the far post who controlled with his first touch and then rifled an effort at goal which took a wicked deflection past Ward who couldn't keep it out of his net.

It was nearly 2-0. Williams' run into the box was found and he swept a left-footed cross into the middle where Harriott tried to get on the end of it, only to be sandwiched out on the edge of the six yard box.

But Mark Hudson connected with a deep Mooy corner from the left and headed just over at the far post, but the Royals took a lead and an extra man into the dressing rooms.

Half-time: Reading 1-0 Huddersfield Town

The Terriers began the second period brightly, winning a corner on the right then a free kick on the left - but the Royals defended both well, Van den Berg hacking clear the first before Al Habsi came to claim the set piece.

Swift surged forward at the other end and saw a shot charged down just inside the Town area. Then substitute Tennai Watson produced a stepover to beat his man down the right and pull the ball back for Harriott whose shot deflected behind for a corner.

Chris Gunter tangled with Nahki Wells on half way and was shown a yellow card, then Mark Hudson went into the book for a foul on Williams. This game was far from over.

Beerens raced onto a ball in behind and rounded Ward but could only find the side netting from the narrowest of angles. Then Williams broke the Terriers back line but Ward raced off his line to smash the ball into the stands before the midfielder could get to the pass.

Kermorgant thundered a left-footed shot just wide with 20 minutes of the match remaining, before Quinn replaced Swift in midfield as the visitors pressed for an equaliser.

Harriott did well to win the ball from Hudson and pull it back for Stephen Quinn whose arrowed shot was parried by Ward and Beerens' follow-up deflected behind for a corner.

The league leaders were certainly testing Jaap Stam's side though, playing well with ten men in Reading's half of the field for long spells. And Wells came close to making it 1-1 with six minutes left - hooking a right-footed effort across the face of goal but wide after Kachunga had done well to dig out a cross down the right.

Beerens neatly found Quinn who fed Harriott, but the centre half read his attempt to turn inside the area and the home side had to settle for a corner. That was played short to Beerens who swept the ball into the box from the left and it took a punch from Ward at the far post to stop the Dutchman's delivery floating under the crossbar.

Harriott delivered a cross from the right that Kermorgant acrobatically overhead volleyed high over the bar. Then, on the counter attack, Quinn pulled the ball back to Harriott who had appeals for a penalty turned away as he was tripped before he could take aim.

Seconds later, Town could have levelled. Smith marauded down the right and crossed dangerously along the ground, and the ball skidded past everyone and out for a throw to Reading's relief.

Still Huddersfield came forward looking for a point, this time Hefele stooping to head wide from a good position in the middle. Then in the fourth of five minutes of injury time, Wells was allowed to turn and drill just over from the edge of the Royals box.

And the final touch of the game was a save from Al Habsi, who leapt to his left to pluck a Kachunga header out of the air. The final whistle sounded and Reading had won...just.

Full-time: Reading 1-0 Huddersfield Town

Reading: Al Habsi, Gunter, Obita (Watson HT), McShane (c), Moore, Van den Berg (Evans 53), Williams, Swift (Quinn 70), Harriott, Beerens, Kermorgant.
Unused subs: Jaakkola, Gravenberch, Samuel, Mendes.
Yellow: Obita, Gunter
Goals: Beerens (41)

Huddersfield: Ward, Smith, Hudson (c), Lowe (Hefele 80), Palmer (Bunn 28 (Cranie 80)), Schindler, Hogg, Mooy, Kachunga, Van La Parra, Wells. 
Unused subs: Coleman, Whitehead, Scannell, Payne.
Yellow: Van La Parra, Smith, Lowe, Hudson, Kachunga.
Red: Van La Parra

Att: 17,030 (1,349 away)