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Match Reports

Norwich City (a) 291114

29 November 2014

Cooper brace stuns Carrow Road

  • Federici honours Phil Hughes with bat behind goal
  • Gary Hooper turns home the opener
  • Cooper levels with his first professional goal
  • Cooper makes it 2-1 on stroke of half-time
  • Royals hold firm to pick up all three points
The Royals came from behind to take all three points against a Norwich City who had only lost once at home all season until this afternoon.

Gary Hooper came back to haunt his former Southampton boss Nigel Adkins with Norwich's opener, converting from close range for the hosts.

But Academy graduate centre half Jake Cooper, starting only his fourth professional game in his career, scored twice to hand Reading a half-time lead - heading home from Norwood and Obita corners respectively.

And a resilient, determined, dogged Royals display in the second half was enough to hold and attacking Canaries outfit at bay, Adam Federici pushing Kyle Lafferty's long range effort onto the crossbar and then substitute Josh Murphy coming close to levelling in injury time when he fired high over the bar.

But the Royals had won on the road and deserved their three points for the hard work every player put in.

Norwich City: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin (c), Turner, Olsson (Grabban 73), Redmond, Howson, Tettey (O'Neil 84), Lafferty (Murphy 62) Hooper, Jerome.
Subs: Rudd, Cuellar, Hooiveld, Garrido.
Yellow: Hooper, Howson, Obita

Reading: Federici, Kelly, Gunter (c), Hector, Cooper, Norwood, Williams (Blackman 83), Obita, Robson-Kanu, McCleary (Taylor 67), Murray (Ferdinand 89).
Subs: Andersen, Cummings, Tshibola, Cox.

Yellow: Murray

Referee: Mr D Webb

Attendance: 26,002

First Half

Four minutes into the match and Garath McCleary scampered onto a nice ball through the Norwich back line but the offside flag went up against the returning Royal as he bore down one on one with John Ruddy.

Gary Hooper then earned Norwich's first sight of goal, letting rip from from 25 yards out but the ball skimmed off Norwood's body and wide of the right post. Norwood hooked an effort at goal himself soon after, but it ricocheted off Murray and looped high over the Norwich crossbar.

Norwich then broke the deadlock in the 10th minute. A cross from the right was glanced on by Jerome at the near post and Hooper turned the ball home from yards out to give the home side the lead. Referee Webb overruled his linesman who was flagging for offside against Hooper to award the Canaries' the opening goal.

Reading almost responded immediately. Robson-Kanu was allowed the space and time to turn 25 yards out and his forced a great low save from Ruddy with a rasping low effort that was otherwise sliding inside the right post.

And from the corner that followed, Reading levelled. Norwood's inswinging set piece was met by the towering head of Jake Cooper who nodded the ball inside the right post to make it 1-1, scoring his first professional goal in only the fourth start of his career.

25 minutes gone and both teams came close to edging back into the lead. Glenn Murray forced Martin Olsson into a diving header at his own goalkeeper after Norwood's dinked delivery cut the Canaries' defence open. Then moments later at the other end, a superb save from Adam Federici pushed Kyle Lafferty's swerving effort onto the crossbar and behind for a corner.

Reading were making it difficult for City to find their way through, pressing their opposite numbers in possession, defending in numbers and looking to catch Norwich on the break. And Robson-Kanu found a yard to shoot five minutes before the interval, but his effort was blocked by Olsson.

Federici had to rush off his line to save from Jerome who was running onto a nicely threaded ball from midfield and on on goal, the Aussie spreading himself well and saving at the striker's feet.

Then on the stroke of half-time, Reading took the lead. Robson-Kanu won a corner with good work down the right and Obita delivered a sumptuous inswinging corner which Cooper headed home from five yards out, sending the travelling fans into raptures.

Second Half

Reading began the second half in the same hardworking vein, not allowing their hosts a moment on the ball. But Hooper almost scrapped the ball home inside thew six yard box after the Royals had failed to clear a testing cross from the right. Federici was equal to it though, saving from point blank range and smothering it into his body.

Then Cameron Jerome won a header in the Royals box and knocked it down for Michael Turner at the far post who could only stoop and glance a header behind for a goal kick from a tight angle.

Josh Murphy was brought on for Lafferty and with his first touch he brought down a crossfield ball and raced in behind Kelly, pulling the ball back only to see Cooper hack it clear with an outstretched leg.

And then Norwood almost added a third at the other end, his thunderbolt strike spilled by Ruddy but just scooped off the goalline before it could bobble in. Murray appealed for a goal, but the linesman gave nothing and it stayed at 2-1.

Reading were playing a full part in trying to add to the scoreline and a well worked move out to Obita on the left flank resulted in a low cross that was just cut out before it could reach Murray lurking in the middle.

Lewis Grabban was introduced as City began to throw all they had at the Royals defence, the striker replacing defender Martin Olsson, while Jake Taylor came on for McCleary with 25 minutes left.

The Royals survived a deafening appeal for a penalty with ten minutes left on the clock, City fans convinced a cross from the right brushed the arm of Michael Hector inside the area, but nothing was given.

The final five minutes arrived and Reading were defending some kitchen sink stuff and the home fans were roaring their side on with more desperation and frustration with every minute that passed as Reading held firm.

Anton Ferdinand was introduced in the dying stages, replacing Glenn Murray just before five minutes of added time were signalled. And in the second minute of time added on, Murphy had a great chance to level when a ball cut back from the byline on the right was skied into the stands from 12 yards out when it looked like Federici would be tested.

And a resolute, determined and industrious display had been rewarded with three points when the referee put the whistle to his mouth and signalled the end of the game. Reading had won at Carrow Road and went across to the travelling fans to salute their efforts on a very good afternoon for the Royals.

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