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2 February 2013
• Madejski Stadium, Reading, Berkshire
Referee: L. Mason
• Attendance: 23829
J. Kébé 7', 85'
C. Gardner 29'
Rhys Turrell at the Madejski Stadium: "Reading claim a valuable three points with a win over Sunderland at the Madejski Stadium. They didn’t leave it quite as late as they did against Chelsea in midweek, but Jimmy Kebe’s 85th goal could prove to be just as vital. His goals will make his the hero, but all of Reading’s players showed real heart and commitment to earn the three points today, and Brian McDermott will be delighted with the performance of his side. Martin O’Neill will question the defending for both of Reading’s goals, and will want to see an improvement in attack too, with Sunderland often very predictable."
Brian McDermott's Royals collect three points to climb further out of the relegation zone after Jimmy Kebe's late second goal followed his excellent opener to seal a deserved win for the home side. Sunderland had less of the game overall than their opponents but threatened sporadically on the counter-attack and forced Adam Federici into some excellent saves. Their equaliser however had come after a terrible decision from the largely impressive lone striker Pavel Pogrebnyak to launch into a sliding challenge on John O'Shea in his own box, with the resulting penalty converted by Craig Gardner. Malian winger Kebe, though inconsistent, has a knack of getting into goal-scoring positions and will be rightly praised for his contribution, but the rest of the Royals' midfield were also impressive today, with Hope Akpan both committed in defence and showing an impressive eye for a pass while Jobi McAnuff displayed an abundance of quality on the ball together with some good crosses. It was also fitting that Ian Harte delivered the cross for the winning goal, with the veteran left-back a constant menace with his penetrating deliveries. McDermott's side went on a brilliant post-New Year run of 15 wins from 19 matches last season to win the Championship, and now look set to show similar form in the Premier League having collected five wins in their last six matches unbeaten. Martin O'Neill will have to raise his side's morale with a couple of good attacks to take as positives in a largely unenthusiastic performance.
90' + 3'
Reading concede another free-kick after losing control of the ball as they look to break away, but again clear their lines from the delivery. Hope Akpan takes a vicious hit for the team in the closing stages as he blocks a cross, and the referee blows the whistle moments later for a momentous home victory for the Royals.
90' + 2'
Federici makes an excellent stop after Danny Rose's cross is met by his teammate with an accurate header. Moments earlier Gardner had threatened with a good cross from deep on the right flank, and the Royals are now under heavy pressure.
Reading's defence nervily defend a bouncing ball in their box against the dual threat of Fletcher and Graham and powerful N'Diaye, but look well-placed to hold on for the victory.
Johnson threads the ball up the right flank to Steven Fletcher but as Sunderland switch the play to the left flank, Jimmy Kebe stops them with a well-timed tackle on McClean.
Assist Ian Harte
Goal Jimmy Kebe
Reading take the lead with just five minutes remaining. Ian Harte, who has been delivering excellent crosses all afternoon, does so once again from a set-piece near the right corner flag, and Jimmy Kebe leaps above his marker Craig Gardner at the back post to nod past a helpless Mignolet.
Reading win a corner on the right flank and Ian Harte stands over the ball.
McClean drives across from the left flank before passing to Adam Johnson, whose excellent cross to the back post is met by Danny Graham whose header is deflected into the side netting by Pearce. Graham again meets the resulting corner from the left flank and forces Federici into an excellent save but the next corner proves less fruitful.
Gardner threads N'Diaye down the right side of the box after the midfielder makes an excellent run behind the defence, but he blasts his effort horribly wide with Larsson another option unmarked in the box.
Kelly clears a cross that had been intended for Fletcher.
Sessegnon combines with McClean to thread the Republic of Ireland international through down the right flank, but McClean's low cross pulled back across the goal is intercepted.
Harte takes an accurate inswinging corner and Mariappa hits the bar after rising high above Bramble to meet the delivery! The Reading centre-back appeals for a corner and replays prove keeper Mignolet had got a vital touch to that.
Le Fondre wins a corner from Bramble after running down the right flank.
N'Diaye embarrassingly mis-hits a simple pass out to the left flank, but his athleticism has been a great help to the away side today in battling Reading for possession in the middle of the part, and a minute later he holds the ball up allowing the Black Cats to build an attack down the left flank.
Targetman Pogrebnyak has had a good afternoon apart from his horrendous concession of the penalty, and is now replaced by the faster Nick Blackman, newly signed from League One's Sheffield United.
N'Diaye appeals for a penalty after his heels are clipped by Kelly as he runs into position to connect with a Gardner cross, but the delivery looked overhit in any case.
McClean thumps a cross in from the left flank but Pearce heads clear.
Reading look to break quickly through Adam Le Fondre but after Danny Rose wins the ball back Sessegnon turns the tables and runs at the heart of the Reading defence but eventually loses possession in a flurry of end-to-end action.
Adam Le Fondre
Sunderland bring on powerful winger James McClean while Reading move towards a 4-4-2 with super-sub striker Adam Le Fondre coming on in place of winger McCleary.
Sessegnon begins an impressive run down the left flank, but the move ends with N'Diaye taking another speculative shot from outside the box.
Sunderland win a free-kick on the right flank but Craig Gardner's outswinging delivery is cleared. The game has become scrappy in the last few minutes.
Mikele Leigertwood does well to reach an underhit pass from Mariappa and prevent a dangerous situation from arising in the centre circle.
Harte opts for power and his effort is blocked by the wall, however Reading promptly resume possession and are becoming increasingly dominant.
McAnuff shows good close control after receiving the ball on the edge of the box to turn and win a free-kick. Harte stands over the ball but will find it hard to get the ball over the wall and down from here.
Harte takes a free-kick from a long way out and even though it is shown off-target Mignolet weakly parries the shot, allowing Kebe to chip a cross back in which Pearce narrowly misses. After the away side clear, Harte again takes a free-kick, this time from the left flank, but Pearce is unable to get a firm header at the back post under pressure from his marker.
Yellow Card Stéphane Sessegnon
Harte crosses the ball from the left flank, this time with his right foot, and the Royals exert good pressure this time as they pour forward into the box. Harte swings in another cross and after it is cleared Hope Akpan looks for a penalty. Eventually Harte gets the chance to take another free-kick from well outside the box.
The second half has got off to a slow start as each team appears to attempt to consolidate what they already have after the first half had been chaotic at times. Federici collects a long ball aimed a Fletcher and promptly launches the ball up the pitch.
Harte takes a corner from the right flank but his delivery is poor, and as Reading attempt to relaunch the attack Sunderland are awarded a free-kick.
O'Shea and Pearce each repel a series of long balls aimed at the two teams' respective target men, and Reading break the sequence as McCleary receives the ball on the left flank and wins a throw-in.
Ian Harte appeals for a corner after attempting to dribble past his opponent on the left flank, but the referee gives a goal kick.
Sessegnon, now playing on the right flank, takes on his opponent and wins a free-kick, but Adam Johnson's weak delivery failed to clear the first man.
Reading begin the second half as Sunderland emerge with left-back Danny Rose on in place of Sebastian Larsson as Jack Colback moves into midfield.
Brian McDermott's side have been on-top for long spells of the game so far, particularly at the start of the half, but Sunderland have forced Adam Federici into several good saves and a draw appears a fair result. Jimmy Kebe's opening goal was the culmination of an excellent Reading attack, but the home side threw away their good work after Pavel Pogrebnyak, who has been generally effective as a lone striker, conceded an unnecessary penalty which Craig Gardner converted. Hope Akpan has impressed after starting his first Premier League game but the home crowd will now look forward the likely introduction of Adam Le Fondre, scorer of five goals in three substitute appearances of late, at some point in the second half. Sunderland hold newly signed striker Danny Graham on the bench and it will be interesting to see which manager makes a chance first in search of a winner.
Rhys Turrell at the Madejski Stadium: "It’s half-time at the Madejski, and the scores are level. The home side has possibly shaded it so far, but after taking the lead through Jimmy Kebe after seven minutes, they have failed to really test Simon Mingolet, with the Belgian forced to make just one good save from Pogrebnyak. Sunderland will not be displeased to be going in level, after Craig Gardner’s pulled them back into the contest."
The referee blows the half-time whistle at the Madejski Stadium.
45' + 1'
Reading win a corner on the right flank but Sunderland clear for a throw-in on the opposite flank. Akpan crosses for Pogrebnyak but the Sunderland defence is able to clear.
Sessegnon wins a free-kick on the right flank to boos from the home crowd, angry at the referee's decision not to award McAnuff a set piece a moment earlier, and after Larsson takes the free-kick, the Benin international receives the ball on the left side of the box and forces Federici into another good save to tip the powerful shot away from the top right corner.
McAnuff receives the ball on the left edge of the box and cuts inside John O'Shea before being stopped by David Vaughan on the edge of the box. The referee rules against him however and awards no free-kick.
Kebe wins a foul from Colback from a clearance and Harte whips in a free-kick from the right flank with an excellent inswinging delivery. Pogrebnyak meets the ball with a well-placed header towards the bottom left corner but Mignolet makes an excellent save diving to his right.
Right-back Stephen Kelly intercepts a pass down the left flank but the attack continues after a throw-in and Kelly is again required to block a cross from inside the box on the left flank. Larsson takes the resulting corner which is cleared initially but the Sweden international floats an excellent cross towards Fletcher at the back post and Federici does well to claim.
Ian Harte cuts inside from the left flank and fires wide of the left post with a low right-footed shot.
Sebastian Larsson wins a corner for Sunderland down the right flank and the Reading defence clear. McAnuff puts the ball out for a throw-in on the left flank with a sliding challenge.
McAnuff neatly picks up the ball on the outside of the box and turns before looking to play in Pogrebnyak down the right edge of the box, but the pass evades the Russia international.
Yellow Card Titus Bramble
Titus Bramble recklessly concedes a free-kick outside the edge of the box for a challenge on Pogrebnyak. Harte swings in the cross but the delivery is too shallow and is cleared. Kebe follows up but his low cross is cleared for a throw-in.
Reading win a corner from the left flank but Mignolet claims confidently.
Kebe receives the ball outside the edge of the box from Pogrebnyak but fires over the bar.
Penalty Goal Craig Gardner
Craig Gardner scores from the spot with his powerful shot low into the bottom right corner evading keeper Federici, who had dived the right way.
Sunderland win a corner on the right flank and as the Reading defence clear Pavel Pogrebnyak foolishly dives into a challenge with John O'Shea on the left edge of the box to concede a needless penalty.
Sunderland enjoy their first meaningful attack of the half as Adam Johnson and Jack Colback combine on the left flank to thread the ball through to Alfred N'Diaye. The midfielder cuts inside his marker and fires a powerful shot at goal which Adam Federici is only able to parry. Sebastian Larsson is first to the rebound but Federici is able to make the double save to deny the away side, while the Sweden international appeals for a penalty, claiming he was fouled.
Rhys Turrell at the Madejski Stadium: "Reading are the masters of comebacks in the Premier League, but if they carry on the same manner as they’ve started today, they’ll be no need for that. The Royals have been well on top so far, and thoroughly deserve the lead given to them by Jimmy Kebe in the first ten minutes."
Mariappa is required to defend for the first Sunderland attack in what seems like a long time.
Harte whips the ball towards the back post and centre-back Alex Pearce evades his marker but his volley is blocked for a corner. Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet claims the second delivery however without trouble.
Yellow Card Craig Gardner
Craig Gardner is given a yellow card for conceding a free-kick deep on the right flank for a foul on Adrian Mariappa, who had advanced from defence. Left-back Ian Harte stands ominously over the ball.
McCleary aims a good cross from the left flank towards Pogrebnyak, and Titus Bramble makes a clearance for the nervy away side.
Akpan demonstrates good technique to receive the ball on the edge of the box from the right flank, turn under pressure, and switch the play across to the left. He has been influential so far.
Sunderland have been unable to get a foothold in the game so far, as each long-ball up to Pogrebnyak and each through ball down the flanks is made to stick for the home side.
Steven Kelly floats a long ball to Pavel Pogrebnyak and Hope Akpan runs beyond the Russian hoping to receive the flick-on, but John O'Shea wins the aerial challenge.
Sunderland's enforcer Alfred N'Diaye takes a hopelessly speculative shot from well outside the box that flies well wide of the left post.
Assist Jobi McAnuff
Goal Jimmy Kebe
Jimmy Kebe gives the home side the lead! It's an excellent goal for the Royals. Hope Akpan floats a ball over the top of defence to Jobi McAnuff running in from the left flank, who pulls the ball back from the bye-line towards Kebe who had run across the edge of the box from his position on the right wing. The Malian winger took a neat touch to evade his marker before smashing the ball into the top left corner with his weaker right foot.
Jimmy Kebe takes on Jack Colback on the right flank and turns around him to roll a low cross into the six-yard box, but none of his teammates are able to connect.
Each side has looked to press early on in the match, and neither has been able to hang on to the ball in the opening few minutes. Jobi McAnuff wins a free-kick on the left flank but his appeals to the referee to award a yellow card to today's right-back Craig Gardner are ignored.
Yellow Card Jobi McAnuff
Sunderland get the game underway at the Madejski Stadium, and Jobi McAnuff gets a yellow card almost immediately with an embarrassingly mis-timed challenge on Steven Fletcher. Adam Johnson takes the inswinging corner from the right flank but the Royals' defence heads clear.
Rhys Turrell at the Madejski Stadium: "There’s no doubting who the fans favourite at Reading is, a booming cheer and hearty applause greets the announcing of Adam Le Fondre’s name. But the supporters will have to wait to see their star striker - he’s on the subs bench. We’re just about ready for kick-off at the Madejski Stadium, and it’s the away side who will get the game started."
Rhys Turrell at the Madejski Stadium: "After his sensational late double against Chelsea on Wednesday night, Adam Le Fondre might be a little miffed to find himself once again on the substitutes bench for Reading this afternoon. January signing from Crawley Hope Akpan makes a first start for the Royals, he replaces Jem Karacan in midfield, with the only other change seeing Garath McCleary coming in for Danny Guthrie. Nick Blackman, who Reading signed from Sheffield United on deadline day, is on the bench. Sunderland are unchanged from the side that held Swansea to a 0-0 at the Stadium of Light in midweek with new signing Danny Graham, a boyhood Newcastle fan, amongst the substitutes."
Rhys Turrell at the Madejski Stadium: "Good afternoon to you all from a unseasonably warm and sunny Madejski Stadium. After yet another comeback against Chelsea on Wednesday, spirits are high amongst the home faithful of three points to further enhance their bid for Premier League survival. Sunderland were quiet in the transfer window, with their only notable addition that of Danny Graham, who was booed by the Black Cats’ fans when he was on Wearside as part of the Swansea side who shared a 0-0 draw in the week. Martin O’Neill’s men are 11 points shy of the ‘survival’ mark of 40 points, and they’ll be eyeing a win today to ensure they secure their Premier League status for another season."
Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner, O'Shea, Bramble, Colback; Larsson, N'Diaye, Vaughan; Sessegnon, Johnson; Fletcher. Subs: Bardsley, Rose, Graham, Wickham, Mangane, Westwood, McClean
Reading: Federici; Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte; Leigertwood, Akpan; Kebe, McAnuff, McCleary; Pogrebnyak. Subs: Shorey, Karacan, Le Fondre, Morrison, Guthrie, Blackman, Taylor.
Good afternoon! I'm @arthurvirgo and I will be talking you through the action at the the Madejski Stadium where Sunderland travel to face an in form Reading.
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