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Match Reports

Five star Royals

28 January 2014

Five star Royals

Reading 5 (Le Fondre 7, 17, 67, Pogrebnyak 52, Robson-Kanu 83) 
Blackpool 1 (Davies 66) 

Reading set about the second demolition of their Madejski Stadium opponents within the space of ten days, smashing five past Blackpool thanks to a second successive Adam Le Fondre home hat-trick. 

It took Nigel Adkins' men only seven minutes to break the deadlock, Le Fondre guiding home a deflected McCleary strike, and ten minutes later he had a second, nodding home Alex Pearce's directed header back across the Tangerines' goal from Jobi McAnuff's corner. 

Le Fondre turned provider when he passed into the path of Pogrebnyak who finished clinically with a low left-footed drive, before Steve Davies thundered home a 30-yard spectacular to give the visitors what always looked likely to be at best a consolation. 

Moments later, Le Fondre completed his treble, dinking over Gilks after more excellent work from the brilliant McCleary, and substitute Hal Robson-Kanu added the gloss of a stunning fifth, driving low into the bottom right corner seven minutes from time. 

Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Obita, Pearce, Gorkss (Hector 84), Williams, Akpan, McCleary, McAnuff (c) (Blackman 78), Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre (Robson-Kanu 73). 
Subs: Federici, Kelly, J Taylor, Drenthe.  
Yellow: McAnuff 

Blackpool: Gilks, McMahon, Robinson, Cathcart, Broadfoot, Osbourne (Martinez HT), Perkins, Basham, Eccleston (Halliday HT), Davies, Chopra (Tyson 56).
Subs: Warner, Dodd, Goodwillie, Caton.   
Yellow: Tyson, Basham

Referee: Mr Friend 
Att: 16,636 (359 away) 

With little more than six minutes played, the Royals picked up where they left off against Bolton ten days previously, scoring through a combination of players who had been key in the 7-1 thrashing here. Garath McCleary jinked inside his man and his left-footed shot spiralled up off a Blackpool leg and dropped for Le Fondre who steered home a volley from the edge of the six yard box with consummate ease. 

The Royals pressed for another, McCleary's cross headed behind for a corner just before it reached Pogrebnyak at the far post.  

But from the resultant corner, the second came. McAnuff's floated set piece found Pearce in acres of space, and he planted a header back across the box where goal poaching Le Fondre was in the right place to flick a header past the helpless Gilks.  

Obita then scurried forward and wormed his way into the box, but the ball fizzed behind for a corner before he could stretch to pick out a cross or a shot. 

Then Gunter chipped a ball forward and Gorkss powered a free header towards goal, but Gilks had time to gather this one as Reading laid siege to the Blackpool penalty area. 

It was yet another dangerous cross from McCleary that almost opened up the Tangerines' defence again with ten minutes of the half remaining. Kirk Broadfoot sliding in to somehow direct the low centre over his own crossbar when an own goal looked possible. 

From the corner that followed, Reading came close again. A deep set piece was headed back into the box by Pearce and Le Fondre, with his back to goal, teed up McAnuff on the edge of the box who rifled an effort towards goal, only a glancing header from an orange-shirted man on the line deflecting it wide. 

McCleary was orchestrating everything from midfield, sliding a well-weighted pass into the path of Pogrebnyak who wrestled shoulder to shoulder with the last man before losing out to a last gasp slide that earned Nigel Adkins' men a corner. 

McCleary then found the overlapping Gunter down the right and Le Fondre was almost found in the middle, before a well-worked free kick that saw Pogrenyak deftly flick the ball over the back line almost presented Alfie with a chance to volley home, but the Pool defence recovered and hurriedly hacked it away. 


Barry Ferguson made two changes at the break, but it was Reading who came agonisingly close to adding to the score less than five minutes into the second half. A delightful flick from Pogrebnyak on half way found McAnuff who brilliantly flicked the ball over his head to send him scurrying into space. He bore down on Gilks and sidefooted a shot on target, but Gilks got a left palm to his effort and Le Fondre was just beaten to the loose ball by a Blackpool defender with the goal gaping. 

It wasn't long before it was three though. Le Fondre passed the ball into Pogrebnyak's stride and the big Russian did well to beat Cathcart for pace and place a lovely left-footed shot inside the bottom right corner. 

Alfie then got a golden opportunity to score back to back home hat-tricks and follow in Kevin Doyle's footsteps, McAnuff piercing the Blackpool defence with a tidy ball into Le Fondre who tried in vain to dink it over Gilks, the ball bobbling wide of the target. 

Out of nowhere, Ferguson's men got a lifeline when Steve Davies let rip with a swerving shot from fully 30 yards and McCarthy couldn't keep the thunderous effort out. 

But the visitors' hopes were swiftly dashed when Le Fondre did score his third. McCleary skipped past one man in midfield and then nonchalantly cushioned the ball into the run of Alfie. This time Gilks was fooled and Le Fondre chipped it home, pointing straight to provider McCleary in celebration. 

Reading were oozing confidence and Williams tried his luck from the edge of the box, only to see it half charged down and spiral behind for a corner. 

Then substitute Hal Robson-Kanu ran at the Seasiders' defence and arrowed a fabulous left-footed effort towards the bottom right corner from 25 yards, Gilks finger-tipping it around the post to deny him. 

He wasn't to be denied. Robson-Kanu pounced on a loose ball 25 yards out with seven minutes left on the clock and absolutely bulleted a wonderful drive inside the corner that had only moments earlier eluded him. An exceptional finish from the forward. 

A headed clearance from Obita's late corner dropped to McCleary who, deserving a goal, volleyed just over the crossbar from outside the box. But it was to stay at 5-1. Another exceptional performance from the Royals.

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