Royals beaten by table-toppers
Reading 1 (Shackell og 82)
An injury-depleted Royals side were beaten by top of the table Burnley at Turf Moor this afternoon.
Sean Dyche's men took the lead midway through the first half though Danny Ings when a mis-hit Kieran Trippier cross sailed into the path of the striker who slotted past McCarthy first time.
Pavel Pogrebnyak nearly levelled but Heaton tipped the Russian's looping header just over the bar, and after the interval it was Alex McCarthy who was the busier keeper, saving well from Ings twice and parrying David Jones' drive to keep the visitors in the game.
Sam Vokes looked to have sealed the victory when he sprung the offside trap to slide home a second for the hosts, but Pogrebnyak's powerful header led to a Jason Shackell own goal and a frantic final few minutes. Reading couldn't find an equaliser though and Burnley deservedly earned victory.
Both teams began the game looking to pass the ball on the floor, but the final pass went missing for each side as the early stages offered little in terms of goalmouth action besides a flurry of corners for the Clarets.
Excellent work from Bridge and then Gunter saw two tasty crosses into the Burnley area cause Sean Dyche's men early concern, while Guthrie's short free kick back to Bridge was well read by the home defence.
The Royals' defence didn't read a slightly mis-hit Trippier cross from the right midway through the first half though, and after it had floated over Pearce's head and beyond Morrison, it dropped kindly to Danny Ings who sidefooted it first time past McCarthy to make it 1-0 with the first real opening in front of goal for either side.
Moments after, McCarthy did well to save a rasping David Jones drive from distance at the second attempt and then Marney floated a cross to the far post for Arfield, who could only nod back across the face of the Reading goal and wide to the Royals' relief.
Baird threaded a superb ball through the Burnley back four and Pogrebnyak raced onto it, but Duff slid in alongside the Russian to block his stabbed effort and deny Reading an equaliser with their first real sight of goal.
Obita tussled his way past Tripper but his low cross was hacked clear at the near post, then Guthrie dinked a delightful cross into the box for Pogrebnyak who headed the ball back across keeper Tom Heaton, but the Clarets keeper arched his back to fingertip the ball an inch over his crossbar.
Reading were coming into the game and Guthrie's inswinging corner was almost directed goalwards by Sean Morrison, his opposite defender doing enough to force him to head too high.
A half-cleared Gunter cross fell to Obita 22 yards out and he drilled a sweetly-struck left-footed effort at goal, but Heaton got behind it well and gathered high to his left.
Minutes before the break, McAnuff found Gunther again in space down the right, but the full back tried an early aerial ball into Pogrebnyak that was overhit.
Although the visitors had enjoyed a long spell of dominance, Ings almost made it 2-0 just before half-time, Burnley harrying Reading out of their stride at the back and Ings collecting it in space but curling an effort just wide of the bottom left corner.
The first shot of the second half came from a claret and blue shirt, Marney hooking an effort towards Alex McCarthy's goal but it bounced harmlessly wide of the left upright.
Then McCarthy was called into action, diving full stretch to his left to push an Arfield effort wide after the host had broken at pace through Vokes down the middle.
A jinking run from McAnuff led to a good Reading attack, but when a cross came into the box from the left Robson-Kanu was hurried off the ball as he tried to chest it down to tee himself up for a strike.
But McCarthy had to pull off a good double save just before the hour. He got down well to his right to push an Ings effort away but Arfield recycled it and pulled it back for Jones who was denied by an outstretched McCarthy left leg.
From the resultant corner, McCarthy bettered those stops with a point blank range reaction save brilliantly keeping an Ings header out.
Nigel Adkins made a triple change soon after, introducing Jake Taylor, Nick Blackman and Adam Le Fondre to try to get his side back into the game.
Ings beat the offside trap to race through on goal with only McCarthy to beat, but the Royals stopper again thwarted the striker by racing off his line ans saving well with his body.
At the other end, Taylor threaded a nice pass into the path of Pogrebnyak and he found Gunter on the byline, but the cross was intercepted and Reading again couldn't break through the Clarets defence.
With just a goal in it, Reading kept pressing for an equaliser and Blackman dragged a right-footed strike well wide with little more than a quarter of an hour left on the clock.
But Burnley seemed to put the game to bed with a second five minutes later, Sam Vokes scurrying in behind the back four, springing the offside trap and passing it under McCarthy's frame and watching it bobble into the back of the net.
However, Reading responded immediately, Obita's far post cross headed powerfully goalwards from the tightest of angles at the far post. Heaton had to push it off his line and it ricocheted off Jason Shackell and high into the Burnley net for an own goal.
Suddenly, Heaton's goalmouth was under siege and Guthrie's recycled cross from an Obita corner was almost glanced home by a Claret in a crowded Burnley box.
Obita then spun his man on the left wing and delivered a testing cross which Gunter stooped to nod goalwards, but Heaton easily gathered it into his body to keep his side in the lead.
And Burnley held out for the three points, consolidating their place at the top of the table.