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Match Reports

Norwich (h) 281214

28 December 2014

Canaries undone for Clarke's first win!

  • Hector wins penalty and HRK converts
  • Cox slams home a left-footed second
  • Controversial Johnson screamer makes it 2-1
  • First win for Royals under Steve Clarke
Madejski Stadium celebrated its first win under Steve Clarke this afternoon after the Royals earned a hard-earned 2-1 win over an in-form Norwich side to do the double over the Canaries this season.

The home side took the lead from the penalty spot when Michael Hector was pushed inside the box and Hal Robson-Kanu slotted past John Ruddy from 12 yards.

Reading then added a second when Glenn Murray crossed from the right and Simon Cox arrowed home with his left foot at the far post.

Norwich received a lifeline when referee James Linington allowed play to restart when the Royals were only half way through a substitution, and Bradley Johnson took full advantage by smashing a 22-yard piledriver past Federici to halve the deficit.

But Reading kept their heads well and held on for all three deserved points with relative ease, ending 2014 in style with maximum points.

Reading: Federici; Gunter, Obita, Hector, Pearce (c), Norwood, Williams,McCleary (Guthrie 71), Robson-Kanu, Cox (Mackie 72), Murray (Blackman 90).
Subs: Andersen, Cummings, Kelly, Cooper.

Norwich:Ruddy, Whittaker, Olsson, Martin (c), Bennett, Johnson, Tettey (Redmond HT), O'Neil (Hoolahan HT), Howson, Hooper, Jerome (Grabban 64).
Subs: Rudd, Turner, Miquel, Lafferty.
Yellow: Johnson, Martin, Whittaker.

Referee: Mr James Linington

Att: 19,430 (2,311 away)

First Half

The first chance of the game fell to the feet of Gary Hooper, who got in behind the Royals' back line but skied an effort over the bar from a tightening angle on the right side of the six yard box.

Then, Oliver Norwood almost broke the deadlock with a curling free kick that evaded everyone but was dropping inside the far post until Ruddy got a touch to turn it behind for a corner.

Chances were few and far between in a scrappy opening period though, Bradley Johnson's ball into Cameron Jerome just behind the City striker so he missed his kick completely after a quarter of an hour.

With 20 minutes on the clock, Murray forced Ruddy into a very fine save, unleashing an effort from the edge of the area that the Canaries' keeper did well to parry. The rebound fell to Cox in space whose effort was saved again, but the offside flag was up against Cox in any case.

Norwood then found Obita in space down the left. He twisted and turned his way down the wing and crossed low into the area, only for it to take a deflection off a Norwich boot and skid across the face of goal and behind for a corner.

Norwood's delivery looked for Hector who was pushed by Bradley Johnson as he was about to get his head to it in the middle, and referee James Linington pointed to the spot for a foul. Hal Robson-Kanu stepped up to the spot and sidefooted it straight down the middle of the goal to score!

Moments after the restart, Williams slid a ball into Murray inside the box who was scythed down by Bennett, but the striker was offside in collecting the pass and the visitors could breathe easy.

Jerome almost levelled on the half hour, getting to a low cross towards the near post ahead of Gunter but scuffing his effort wide of the woodwork.

But it wasn't long before the Royals had a second. Murray scurried into space down the right and crossed to the far post. Cox controlled and from a narrow angle rifled past Ruddy with a left-footed effort that the City stopper couldn't keep out.

Jerome looked in vain for a free kick as he was muscled off the ball by Hector in chasing a Howson pass, then at the other end Robson-Kanu placed an effort from the edge of the area but Ruddy was behind it all the way. Williams nearly forced Bennett into a mistake in the final minute of the half, but the Royals went in two goals to the good.

Second half

Neil Adams made a double change at the break, introducing Nathan Redmond and Wes Hoolahan in midfield. And Howson drove an early effort into the box that Jerome was only inches away from getting a decisive touch to.

Reading were looking for a third though and twice Chris Gunter found himself in advanced positions in the Norwich box, but his low cut backs were intercepted.

Johnson brought Danny Williams to ground as he burst forward on the break, but no second booking was produced and instead Russell Martin was cautioned for time wasting.

Then Reading almost caught their in-form opponents on the counter again, this time McCleary finding Obita on the left. He whipped a low ball across the six yard box and Cox recycled it on the byline but his cut back couldn't find a hooped shirt.

Murray then dragged a shot into Ruddy's arms from range before Norwich received a lifeline in controversial circumstances. Garath McCleary hobbled off and was about to be replaced by Danny Guthrie, but the referee restarted the game before Guthrie could enter the field of play. With only half the substitution made, City took their throw in and Johnson unleashed an unstoppable effort from distance to halve the deficit.

Reading players surrounded the referee in anger and Steve Clarke made his voice heard on the touchline, but the goal stood and City were back in it from nowhere.

The Royals rallied well and almost scored a goal which would have put the result beyond doubt, Mackie wriggling free along the byline and cutting it back, the ball eventually ending up at the feet of Murray after more good passing play on the edge of the box, and the striker's effort blocked from six yards out.

In five minutes of injury time, Grabban got in some space down the right side of the Royals' box, but his low cross was behind everyone and Federici clung onto a skidding Hoolahan effort at the death.

The final whistle sounded and cheers echoed around Madejski Stadium in celebration of our first win under Steve Clarke, against a side that scored six against Millwall on Boxing Day.

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