Comfortable home win for Adkins' men
Doncaster Rovers 1 (Robinson 31)
The Royals strolled to a comfortable 4-1 victory at home to Doncaster Rovers this afternoon, controlling the fixture from start to finish and firing four past Paul Dickov's men at Madejski Stadium.
The hosts opened the scoring with a rasping effort from Danny Guthrie after great build-up work from Pavel Pogrebnyak out on the left and a clever chest down by Garath McCleary teeing up the in form midfielder.
Early substitute Theo Robinson levelled after half an hour, reacting fastest to a well-saved Duffy free-kick, but McCleary set up Le Fondre who toed past Turnbull to restore the lead before the interval.
Reading were dominant from start to finish and a third goal settled it, Garath McCleary arrowing home a well-struck effort from just inside the penalty box - and in the last of seven minutes of injury time the impressive Pogrebnyak leathered high into the Rovers net from a tight angle to rightly add his name to the scoresheet.
Doncaster: Turnbull, Quinn, Wabara, Furman (Robinson 23), Jones (c), Khumalo, Duffy, Keegan, Wellens, Coppinger (Bennett 72), Brown (Paynter 64).
Att: 17,697 (569 away)
Only three minutes in and the already dominant Royals caught their first sight of goal. Garath McCleary scuttled onto a pass down the right and pulled a nice low cross into the box where Jordan Obita met it first time but scuffed a right-footed effort towards goal and a nervy-looking Doncaster easily cleared their lines.
Garath McCleary and Obita tried their luck from distance but arrowed over as the hosts bossed possession.
And after only 11 minutes, Nigel Adkins' men had the lead. Pavel Pogrebnyak was instrumental in the build-up, winning a header and racing in behind the back line to latch onto Le Fondre's one-two. He burst into the box, cut back instead of shooting from the tightest of angles and dinked a ball towards McCleary who chested it off to Danny Guthrie - and the midfielder hammered a superb first time effort into the top right corner to notch his fourth of the season.
Gunter muscled his way to the byline moments later and his cross was met by a combination of Bongani Khumalo and Le Fondre, but the Doncaster defender did enough to direct the ball just wide of the left post.
Then more brilliant work from Pogrebnyak down the left saw him turn two men and lift a cross to the far post, where Le Fondre headed back across goal. Obita slid in and directed it goalwards from six yards out, but Ross Turnbull pulled off a superb save to claw it off his goalline.
Bridge then whipped a lovely ball into the near post looking for Alfie again, and only a flying header from Rovers skipper Jones prevented the Royals striker from getting a head to it.
Bridge was back defending a couple of dangerous crosses from the Doncaster left wing soon after and Paul Dickov was forced to make a tactical change midway through the half, such was Reading's dominance - Theo Robinson replaced Dean Furman as Rovers reverted to more of a 4-4-2.
A confident Guthrie took aim from 25 yards out and Turnbull did well to save a rasping effort that deflected off Reece Wabara and was destined for the bottom left corner.
But totally against the run of play, Rovers levelled from a free kick. Alex Pearce was harshly penalised for a handball on the edge of the area and Federici flew through the air to brilliantly save a Mark Duffy free kick, but substitute Robinson was on hand to hammer the loose ball high into the net to make it 1-1.
Suddenly, Rovers were at the races and Morrison had to stretch out a leg to cut out a dangerous Duffy centre, before Khumalo leapt high to bullet a far post header just over Federici's crossbar.
But McCleary almost handed Reading the lead again on the break, running at last man Paul Quinn and forcing Turnbull into a tidy low save.
And five minutes before the break, Alfie restored the Royals' advantage. McCleary showed a clean pair of heels to glide through the middle of the Rovers midfield and threaded a nice reverse ball between defenders and into the path of Le Fondre, who swiftly got it out from under his feet to toe it past the onrushing Turnbull.
Robinson let fly with an early effort after the restart but it sailed harmlessly wide from range, then Le Fondre headed wide after good work down the right from Gunter.
The impressive Pogrebnyak came close when he cushioned a Baird ball over the top, with his head, got the ball back from McCleary and arrowed an effort past Turnbull's dive but into the side netting on the hour
With only a goal in it, the Royals searched for a third, two substitutes in Hal Robson-Kanu and Jobi McAnuff combining well down the left for the latter to shoot but Khumalo to block it behind for a corner.
Doncaster were dealt a blow with a quarter of an hour to go when skipper Rob Jones clattered into the back of the net in trying to defend a Reading corner, and he walked off with a shoulder injury after Paul Dickov had made his full quote of changes.
With ten minutes left, Reading got the comfort of a two-goal cushion. Again the two substitutes combined well, McAnuff and then Robson-Kanu working well down the left for the latter to pull a low cross back to the edge of the Donny box. It zipped past McAnuff but fell to the feet of McCleary who sweetly struck it first time into the bottom right corner with an excellent finish.
A cheeky bit of skill from McAnuff saw him round his man on the byline and fire a low cross into the box and the ball flew off the foot of Paul Quinn and, luckily for Rovers, straight into the arms of Turnbull.
Adam Federici pulled off a good save to deny Robinson from distance in the third of seven minutes of injury time, but Pogrebnyak got the goal he deserved moments later, smashing home from a tight angle to make it 4-1 and send Royals fans home very happy.