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Match Reports

Reading vs Middlesbrough

3 October 2015

Royals strike early & late to down Boro

Danny Williams netted the third-fastest goal ever recorded by a Reading player as the Royals were 2-0 victors against high-flying Boro.

Barely had the game kicked off, when Williams arrived unchallenged in the box to power home Hal Robson-Kanu's cross.  A late penalty was won and scored by Nick Blackman as Boro's seven-game winning run was ended at Royals hands.

Orlando Sa had been called back into the starting XI following his suspension, while Ali Al-Habsi was tending the net in place of Jonathan Bond, who missed out through injury.

And the Royals could not have started better when Williams scored after just 15 seconds after a powerful run from Hal-Robson Kanu. Straight from kick off an early ball out wide found the Welsh international, who drove past Boro right-back Grant Leadbitter before picking out a pinpoint cross which Williams latched onto at the far post to head home from close range. 

Boro looked for a quick response and started piling pressure on the Royals defence. Forward Diego Fabbrini came close and was only denied by a last ditch Challenge from Chris Gunter.  Reading were standing firm despite Boro's possession.

And Reading were unfortunate not to go further ahead when Nick Blackman's teaser of a cross which was parried back into play by the goalkeeper - Sa was unfortunate to see his effort cleared off the line by covering defender Daniel Ayala.

At the other end, it took a tremendous stop from goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi to prevent Stewart Downing from opening the scoring.  The Boro man whipped a low free-kick into the box through a crowd of bodies but the Omani stopper got down to palm away.

Reading could have taken a two-goal lead into the break - Oliver Norwood's corner was recycled back to him by fellow midfielder Williams, and he hit a side-footed cross-shot just past the far post.

Half-time: Reading 1 Middlesbrough 0

Reading started the second period on top looking more assured in possession than the visitors. It was not long until the Royals had created yet another clear-cut chance with Robson-Kanu again the architect. The forwards curled cross found the head of Sa who had the keeper beaten but could only head wide.

Not long after Middlesbrough started to rally and created a number of chances, the pick of which was a low drive from Leadbitter. His effort seemed to have Al-Habsi beaten but narrowly missed the right hand post.

As the half wore on the Royals began to play a counter attack game, with Middlesbrough enjoying the majority of possession. The visitors began to look more dangerous going forward and on the 79th they again went close when second half substitute Carlos De Pena headed just wide, combining with fellow sub Emilio Nsue.

Going into the last ten minutes it was end to end action and on the 87th minute Reading doubled their lead when Nick Blackman converted from the spot. The Royals top goal scorer was brought down inside the Middlesbrough box as he was about to shoot, and stepped up keeping a cool head from the spot to secure Reading all three points, and make up ground on Boro.

Full-time: Reading 2 Middlesbrough 0

Reading: Al-Habsi, Gunter, Obita, McShane (c), Hector, Norwood, Williams, Piazon (John 63), Blackman, Robson-Kanu (Tshibola 82), Sa.
Unused subs: Moore, Taylor, McCleary, Hurtado, Cooper.
Goals: Williams (1), Blackman (87 pen).

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Kalas (Nsue 70), Amorebieta, Ayala, Friend, Leadbitter (Adomah 82), Clayton, Downing, Stuani, Fabbrini (De Pena 70), Kike.
Unused subs: Mejias, Nugent, Forshaw, Gibson. 

Attendance: 19,516 (2,273 away).

Referee: Keith Stroud

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