Reading 3 (Kebe 78, Harte 90, Robson-Kanu 90)
Reading showed superb courage, commitment and quality to beat Barnsley this Saturday afternoon, scoring three goals in 12 minutes despite only having ten men.
Jimmy Kebe was absolutely magnificent once again, and he fully deserved to break the deadlock on 78 minutes with a thunderous header after great work from sub Hal Robson-Kanu.
We scored twice in injury time, Kebe winning a free kick that Ian Harte turned home superbly before Robson-Kanu scored his first League goal for the club with an excellent run and finish.
Zurab Khizanishvili had been sent off just after the hour mark, and it looked very harsh indeed as he was shown two yellows; the second in particular incurring the wrath of our home supporters. But it proved to be of no matter as our ten men showed brilliant character to dust themselves down and earn all three points.
A very special mention must also go to Chris Armstrong, who made his first League start since April 2009 and was superb in an unfamiliar central midfield role. Boss Brian McDermott gave him a huge hug when he was substituted just after the hour, and Armstrong was right in the thick of the celebrations at full time as we shared the victory with our supporters.
Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Cummings, Harte, Mills (c), Khizanishvili; Armstrong (Pearce 69), Karacan, Kebe, McAnuff; Church (Robson-Kanu 73), Long (Hunt 85)
Subs: McCarthy, Williams, Taylor, Antonio
Booked: Khizanishvil (foul 34), Karacan (foul 52), Armstrong (handball 58), McAnuff (foul 90)
Sent off: Khizanishvili (foul 62, second yellow)
Barnsley (4-4-2): Steele; Hassell, McEveley (Potter 24), Foster, O'Brien; Arismendi, Shackell (c), Hammill, Colace (Lovre 73); O'Connor (Doyle HT), Wood
Subs: Preece, Morales, Butterfield, Gray
Booked: Arismendi (foul 65), Foster (foul 74), Hammill (foul 90)
Attendance: 14,830 (508 away)
Ref: Mr Miller
Starting XI team news
The Royals gave Chris Armstrong his first start since August 2009, and his first League start since April 2009. He lined up in the centre of midfield, while Zurab Khizanishvili came in at centre back for Alex Pearce. Simon Church replaced the suspended Brian Howard as we switched to a 4-4-2.
Reading started brightly, with Matt Mills going close with a header and then Simon Church glancing an effort at the near post that visiting 'keeper Luke Steele was able to stop.
Jimmy Kebe was picking up where he left off in our last few fixtures, and was in fabulous form out on the right wing. On numerous occasions he gave Tykes left back Jay McEveley a torrid time - and when McEveley went off injured, his replacement Luke Potter suffered the same treatment.
Reading were on top, but Barnsley had an excellent breakaway chance on the half hour, and Adam Hammill should have done much better with his pass infield to Garry O'Connor. Soon afterwards, Adam Federici got an important touch inside the six yard box after a Barnsley free kick.
More Kebe magic was then inches away from forcing the visitors into an own goal, Stephen Foster incredibly fortunate that his miskick did not end up in the back of the net. From the resulting corner Mills headed over, while there was also a shout for handball in the melee.
Zurab Khizanishvili had a decent chance from another corner three minutes before half time, but shot wide at the near post despite a decent first touch.
The last action of the half saw Reading on the charge once again, Steele racing out to try and deny Jobi McAnuff, getting a faint touch on his pass insidebut just about doing enough to halt our charge.
Church was desperate to break the deadlock, and did well to create a couple opportunities for himself but found them blocked on both occasions.
As the game hit the hour mark, the officials began to find themselves closer to the action. First of all Chris Armstrong was booked for handball when it looked for all the world like it had hit his chest.
Then Khizanishvili was sent off in very controversial circumstances. He had been booked in the first half, which looked a fair booking although Barnsley were given a very generous free kick just before that they were allowed to take very quickly. The second card was far more contentious, and the Reading supporters were incensed when a free kick was given for a supposed foul on Chris Wood - never mind a booking.
With 25 minutes to go Armstrong came off to a huge ovation, richly deserved, not just for getting back onto the pitch but also for playing very well. He received a massive hug from Brian McDermott, and rightly so.
Despite having ten men we looked far more likely to score, and sub Hal Robson-Kanu seemed to have a chance with his first touch but elected to go for control rather than a first time strike. He got it back in the box for Shane Long, and his header was well saved by Steele. The pressure was building on Steele's goal, and a superb 70-yard McAnuff run nearly put Kebe in but Steele was out at his feet.
Then with eight minutes to go, we finally got the goal we deserved. Robson-Kanu did exceptionally well down the left to work space and whip in a thunderous cross that Kebe powered home with an unstoppable header. It was a cracking goal, and goalscorer Kebe further secured his status as the most dangerous player in the Championship at the moment.
We were very keen on a second, and Kebe was simply unplayable, getting in a magnificent cross that just evaded everyone in the middle. Federici still had to make an important save from Hammill's effort though.
With time almost up, yet again Kebe did exceptionally well and won a free kick right on the edge of the area. Ian Harte stepped up and turned home a fantastic set piece in off the far post and it was game over.
Incredibly, there was still time for another goal! Barnsley had a free kick wide on the right, but the delivery was poor and Jem Karacan released Robson-Kanu on the break. He ran fully 70 yards in possession, went one-on-one with Steele and fired home a low finish to round off a brilliant end to the game.
Our fans rightly sang 'we've only got ten men' and our spirit, commitment, endeavour and quality cannot be underestimated - while in Kebe we have surely the best player outside the Premier League right now.