Captain on Boro triumph at Madejski StadiumRoyals captain Paul McShane likened Reading’s clean sheet to finding the net at the other end for the defensive unit, as Middlesbrough were vanquished 2-0 at Madejski Stadium.
The home defence didn’t give anything away lightly to an impressive Middlesbrough attack that had scored 18 times during a seven-game winning streak. Ali Al-Habsi made a critical first-half save to keep out Stewart Downing’s free-kick on his first Football League appearance for Reading, and the whole team defended as one to make sure the defence wasn’t ever breached.
“It’s great to get a clean sheet; I thought we were solid throughout,” said the captain. “It’s not just the back four, it’s the whole defensive shape of the team that helps.
“As a defender, the clean sheet is like scoring a goal as a striker, so I’m buzzing to come away with a clean sheet and three points. It’s been a great period for us picking up all these results, and we can go into the international break on a win which is always a bonus.”
He also admitted that it was useful for the defence to have a lead to defend – that came as early as the first minute, when Danny Williams’ headed goal put Reading in front inside 15 seconds.
Good work down the left from Orlando Sa on his return to the side allowed Hal Robson-Kanu to deliver a cross into the midfielder’s path to open the scoring. Nick Blackman netted his ninth of the campaign late on, having won a penalty himself.
“It was a great start from the lads again – straight from kick-off it was a great ball from Orlando, and then Hal crossed it in and it was a great finish by Danny,” he explained.
“So it was a great start – that’s what been happening for the last few games. It gives us defenders something to hang onto, and it was nice to get the penalty at the end because it gave us a little bit of a cushion.
“If it takes us until the 88th minute get a goal then, so be it because it can be a long process to get a goal. At the moment we’re doing it in the first five or ten minutes of games. We’ve got to be ready for games now when it takes time to get a goal as well.”