Reading 2 Crystal Palace 4By Matthew Sadler
December 08, 2009
Brendan Rodgers admits his side got exactly what they deserved against Palace.
Reading had looked to be in control of the game after Alex Pearce cancelled out Nathaniel Clyne’s early strike, but two goals in the space of two minutes right on half-time swung the game in Palace’s favour.
Rodgers said: “We maybe thought tonight was going to be easy, I don’t know, but it was very disappointing.
“I think we got what we deserved from the game – nothing.
“Because of our last five or six performances we maybe thought that it was just going to happen for us, but we started poorly and should have come in at half-time 1-1 having not been good, but incredibly we conceded two incredibly disappointing goals right on half-time and are up against it.
“We have to then push for it in the second half and brought it back to 3-2, but I wasn’t happy with our game. If we are going to win games here then we need to be better with the ball than that.”
Rodgers made two changes to the starting XI that lined up in the 2-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday with Jimmy Kebe replacing the injured Simon Church and Brynjar Gunnarsson coming in for Gylfi Sigurdsson who dropped to the bench. Matt Mills was also included as a substitute.
Reading started the game brightly, but fell behind after only seven minutes when Palace right-back Clyne picked the ball up inside Royals’ half before surging towards the area and firing low to Adam Federici’s left-hand side from just outside the box.
Royals didn’t let their heads drop and should have had a penalty three minutes later when Jay Tabb’s shot was clearly blocked by the arms of Clint Hill, but referee Kevin Friend waved away the protests.
The visitors were offering little going forward and when they did attack it was usually through livewire Victor Moses who was giving Tabb a torrid time.
Reading’s drew level just past the half-hour mark when Alex Pearce evaded his marker and powerfully headed home McAnuff’s corner from 10 yards.
Despite enjoying much of the play Reading were fortunate not to go a goal behind two minutes before the break when Moses shrugged off the attentions of Tabb and Ivar Ingimrasson only to fire straight at Federici when clean through.
But Palace regained the lead a minute later when Darren Ambrose dispossessed Ryan Bertrand after Marek Matejovsky had sold the left-back short and hit a speculative shot which deceived Federici and flew in at the near post.
It was a catastrophic error from Royals’ keeper, who had looked well placed to make the save, and there was still time before the interval for things to get worse for Reading as Moses was left unmarked and he took advantage to curl a superb 25-yard effort into the top corner.
Neither side established any sort of control in the second half, as the game was played out in midfield, but
Royals gave themselves a lifeline with 10 minutes to go when Danny Butterfield pulled down Grzegorz Rasiak in the box, and referee Kevin Friend pointed the spot.
Substitute Sigurdsson confidently sent Speroni the wrong way to set-up a grandstand finish.
Reading piled on the pressure and Rasiak had a chance to level the score when he turned his marker, but the striker fired wide and Royals were soon punished when the impressive Moses cut in from the left and curled a sublime shot past the despairing dive of Federici to seal the win.
Reading: (4-2-3-1): Federici, Tabb, Bertrand (Sigurdsson, 68), Ingimarsson (c), Pearce, Cisse, Gunnarsson (Robson-Kanu, 46), Matejovsky, McAnuff, Kebe, Rasiak.
Subs not used: Hamer, Cummings, O’Dea, Mills, Karacan.
Crystal Palace: (4-5-1): Speroni, Clyne, Butterfield, Fonte, Hill, Derry (c), Danns, Ertl, Ambrose (N’Diaye 81), Moses (Sears 90), Andrew (Lee, 65).
Subs not used: Smith, Carle, Scannell, Davis.Booked: Butterfield, Clyne, Moses
Referee: Kevin Friend.