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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
29 December 2012
• Madejski Stadium, Reading, Berkshire
Referee: M. Oliver
• Attendance: 24183
P. Pogrebnyak 5'
West Ham United
Thanks for tuning in to our live coverage today, I hope you all have a very good evening and Happy New Year to you all!
Despite that victory, Reading remain 19th in the Premier League table but have at least cut the gap to safety to five points, though Wigan's victory at Aston Villa today hasn't helped them in that regard. As for West Ham, well their poor form continues, though for the moment they remain in a comfortable 12th place.
It's over! Reading have collected only their second league win of the season over an extremely poor West Ham side!
90' + 1'
Not much is happening at the moment, which will be music to the ears of Brian McDermott. West Ham have been fitful from the very beginning but arguably deserve a point solely down to the chance created for Vaz Te's miss.
Four minutes of stoppage time here. What a win this would be for Reading!
Reading are closing in on victory here. West Ham's spirits look to have been hit by that incredible Vaz Te miss and the home side are now monopolising possession of the ball. They have a corner and there are only minutes to go now.
Reading waste a chance to seal the victory! A West Ham attack breaks down and the home side race clear through Jem Karacan who has four team-mates for company with only two Hammers defenders to beat. However, the midfielder lacks speed and dallies and the momentum is lost. Less than five minutes to go now, the nerves are really jangling at the Madejski for Brian McDermott.
Ricardo Vaz Te has missed a sitter! Finally a West Ham set-piece goes the distance, this time from Jarvis, and Vaz Te is totally unmarked inside the six-yard-box. However, he gets barely any contact on his header and somehow steers the ball wide with the goal absolutely gaping. What a horrendous miss.
Yellow CardKevin Nolan
Maiga almost has an instant impact! Ricardo Vaz Te finds himself driving at the Reading defence and produces a fierce cross-cum-shot that is just waiting to be tapped in by the onrushing Maiga only Chris Gunter to intervene with a superb goal-saving challenge to put it out for a corner. Fantastic football all round.
Yellow Card Ian Harte
Reading have the ball in the opposition third. They may not entirely be attacking with gusto but it at least relieves the pressure a little and brings that priceless three points just a little closer.
Reading are dropping extremely deep here and understandably so. A win here could be absolutely crucial in their fight for survival. Perhaps Brian McDermott is just feeling the pressure a little bit because he's just replaced the game's best player in Jimmy Kebe for Hal Robson-Kanu.
The visitors have had numerous opportunities to deliver testing balls into the box via set pieces and make use of their aerial power and Reading's weakness in the air. However, as Mark Noble's just shown with a poor delivery that failed to beat the first man, more often than not, the quality of ball has been extremely sub-standard for a team that bases it's game around such instances.
West Ham are putting the pressure on now. They're camped in the Reading half and Sam Allardyce is preparing to bring on another striker in Modibo Maiga. Can he provide the equaliser?
This has been a far better second half. The Madejski is absolutely bristling with excitement and nerves that would only have been worsened when substitute Ricardo Vaz Te released Jack Collison whose cross was just falling perfectly for Jarvis to volley at goal only for Reading to clear it just in time.
Yellow CardJames Tomkins
Ricardo Vaz Te
Reading go so close to a second! Some good passing football sees Jem Karacan in acres of space, dead centre just outside the box. West Ham don't close him down quickly enough and the Turkish midfielder thunders a shot that clatters against the crossbar and back down onto the line. Jimmy Kebe then slashes the presentable rebound over the bar.
Believe it or not a football game is actually still taking place! Jack Collison, who has just come on for Matt Taylor, forces a decent stop from Federici with a driven shot from the right-hand side of the box. It may have just been drifting wide anyway but at least there's been some actual play!
The referee has sensibly decided to talk to the captains of both teams after an alleged stamp by Carlton Cole on a floored Chris Gunter has the Reading supporters screaming in rage. That's good officiating because everything has just been getting a bit out of hand, particularly with Carlton Cole.
Yellow CardAlex Pearce
Jem Karacan finds himself in space just outside on the box on the right-hand side but rather than elect to shoot as the crowd are baying him to, the midfielder tries to find Pogrebnyak with a chipped delivery that is far too overhit and the chance is gone. Reading are only 30 minutes away from only their second league victory of the season at present.
It's all getting a bit heated here. First the Reading fans are up in arms as Carlton Cole appears to strike out at Alex Pearce after going into a challenge with the Reading man before Pavel Pogrebnyak arguably leads with an elbow when colliding with Winston Reid. There's very little football being played at the moment though.
Suddenly the game's quite stretched and West Ham up the tempo of their passing to release Jarvis on the left. He shuffles inside and produces an inviting right-footed delivery that Carlton Cole throws himself at but can only force out for a goal-kick. Better from the visitors.
Jimmy Kebe has just run the length of the pitch to give his side a 4 v 3 situation but the winger just delays too long and is challenged before he can play the ball. Moments later, Pogrebnyak tucks the home impressively but is pulled back by an offside flag.
This has been an unbelievably sloppy start to the second half as both teams trade possession with a series of miscued passes before West Ham nearly put the ball straight out of play from the half-way line. Hardly promising.
The heavens have opened and West Ham get us under way again.
It's easy to understand why that half wasn't the greatest in hindsight. Reading are clearly a team struggling for confidence at the moment and their natural reaction would be to just hold back a little after being gifted such an early goal. West Ham have also been declining of late but you still surely would have expected a bit more fight and bite from a Sam Allardyce team.
This from our man at the ground, John Stammers: "Reading go into the break a goal ahead at the Madejski, after James Collins' unforgivable error gifted Pavel Pogrebnyak a simple goal after just five minutes. West Ham almost pulled one back soon after, Adam Federici saving brilliantly from Winston Read's header, but, in truth, since that it's been a poor game with little action. Matthew Jarvis started brightly but has quietened down, while Carlton Cole has looked uninterested, with Kevin Nolan the only real threat for the Hammers, and the Royals have also struggled to create any other chances of note."
The two minutes of stoppage time are up and the half-time whistle is blown. It hasn't been great but Reading will not care a jot as they currently lead through Pavel Pogrebnyak's early goal courtesy of a nightmare moment from West Ham's James Collins. West Ham have been extremely poor and surely Sam Allardyce will have something to say to them at half time.
45' + 1'
Yellow CardJames Collins
45' + 1'
Dramatic couple of minutes here. First Jarvis cutely collects the ball and drives at pace into the box only for his cross to be excellently cleared by Pearce. In the resulting Reading counter-attack, Pogrebnyak holds the ball up well and finds an onrushing McAnuff on the left-hand side. The Reading captain cuts inside and appears to be brought down just outside the box but to the ire of the Madejski faithful, nothing is given.
Nolan collects the ball on the edge of the box, turns well and tries to curl the ball beyond Federici into the right-hand corner of the net. However, the shot lacks power and is gathered easily. Reading just need to be a little careful here. They're dropping deeper and deeper as half time approaches.
We've just seen the first glimpse of an impression by Matt Jarvis. The near £11 million man scuttles into a good position out on the left but his low cross is firmly cleared away by Pearce. West Ham have been poor. Reading have only been marginally better. This hasn't been great.
Yellow CardPavel Pogrebnyak
Federici's just produced an excellent piece of handling. A West Ham free-kick on the halfway line is swung into the box and after a spell of pinball, the ball is hooked back towards goal by Nolan. For a moment Federici looks to be struggling but manages to claw the ball into his grasp with three Hammers players ready to pounce on any spillage.
10 minutes to half time now and this game has well and truly degenerated. The ball seems to be spending the majority of time either in the air or out of play at the moment. West Ham do just need a touch more urgency, they are 1-0 down after all.
It's all gone a bit scrappy now with chances and expressive football at a premium. Reading's tempo has dropped but Pogrebnyak is still causing Reid and Collins problems at the back whenever the ball goes anywhere near him. This is a far improved performance from the Russian - just shows what an early goal can do.
Pearce is OK however and play is underway again.
West Ham threaten again. Taylor finds himself in space on the right and produces a clever low cross between goalkeeper and centre-back that Cole isn't too far away from getting on the end of. Federici just manages to gather but at the expense of injuring his own team-mate Alex Pearce, who is currently receiving treatment.
The Hammers just look to be finding their feet a little now. Reading have struggled from crosses all season long and of course if there is one side who will cross the ball, it is West Ham. This time a Matt Taylor delivery finds the head of Gary O'Neill but his attempt bobbles wide.
West Ham go close to an equaliser! An in-swinging cross from Mark Noble is attacked by Winston Reid who brings a good save out of Adam Federici. It was a nice height for the Reading goalkeeper however, but a good save nonetheless to preserve their 1-0 lead.
So far you have to say West Ham have been extremely poor. They have been on a bad run of late and it seems to be showing with only the long ball for Carlton Cole appearing an option for them.
Another good spell of Reading pressure and once again it's Jimmy Kebe at the heart of everything. After bursting through a couple of challenges to bring the ball up the pitch, an Ian Harte cross is eventually cleared away by Collins, only for Kebe to pick it up again, meander into the box and produce a floating cross that almost finds it's way into the net.
Kebe escapes down the right-hand side and attempts to find Pogrebnyak with a near-post cross. However, the Russian went to the far side and the opening is wasted.
Yellow CardMark Noble
West Ham are certainly not taking any prisoners where Jimmy Kebe is concerned. This time it's Mark Noble who goes steaming into the Reading wideman on the half-way line and a yellow card is produced for the Hammers local boy.
Reading appear to have been instructed to try and win the ball really high up the pitch and Danny Guthrie is just inches away from nicking the ball from Gary O'Neill and leaving both him and Pogrebnyak in a 2 v 1 situation with Collins.
West Ham just trying to recover from the shock of going 1-0 down so early on here. Sam Allardyce will be absolutely livid with James Collins, who made a similar mistake earlier in the season against Swansea when he allowed Michu to nip in and score. The Hammers have at least recovered reasonably well so far and they have control of possession at the moment.
GOAL! Reading 1-0 West Ham! What a nightmare from James Collins at the back for the Hammers! The Welsh defender attempts to play a routine ball back to his keeper, only to miscue it horribly and leave Pavel Pogrebnyak running clear. The Russian can hardly be said to have been running at pace but he still comfortably outstripped Collins and composed himself to slot home. That could be a huge goal for the home side!
Reading have started at an extremely high pace here and aren't letting West Ham settle on the ball whatsoever. Promising signs here for McDermott's men.
This from our man John Stammers at the ground: "Less than a minute in and Joey O'Brien is fortunate to avoid a booking for a hefty tackle on Jimmy Kebe, who "does what he wants", according to Reading fans. Fiery start at the Mad Stad."
Reading kick us off.
There should be an interesting clash of styles here. Without delving too much into stereotypes, Reading do prefer to play the ball on the floor while Sam Allardyce's Hammers prefer a more robust philosophy. Having said that, the Royals have Pavel Pogrebnyak up front! Brian McDermott certainly needs his highest-paid player to perform today.
10 minutes from kick-off now. Anticipation building. This has the feel of a big day in Reading's season.....though I said that before their last game against Swansea.
West Ham are also unchanged from their last match, with Carlton Cole retaining his place in the starting XI after seeing the red card he picked up against Everton overturned on appeal. Ricardo Vaz Te returns to the squad having been missing since the 3-1 defeat at home to Arsenal in October with a shoulder injury.
Somewhat surprisingly given Reading's rather poor performance until they came on against Swansea, Adam Le Fondre and Hal Robson-Kanu have been left on the bench by Brian McDermott, who picks an unchanged XI. He will hope his side can give lone striker Pavel Pogrebnyak a bit more support than he received on Boxing Day, the support that the lively Le Fondre would surely have been able to give alongside him.
Reading starting line-up: Federici; Gunter, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte; Karacan, Leigertwood; Kebe, Guthrie, McAnuff; Pogrebnyak Subs: Taylor, Cummings, Morrison, Tabb, Robson-Kanu, Hunt, Le Fondre West Ham starting line-up: Jaaskelainen; Tomkins, Collins, Reid, O'Brien; O'Neil, Noble; Taylor, Nolan, Jarvis; Cole Subs: Spiegel, Demel, Spence, Diarra, Collison, Vaz Te, Maiga
As for West Ham, well they haven't kicked a ball since their 2-1 defeat at home to Everton on the 22nd of December after their Boxing Day date with Arsenal was postponed due to the London Underground strike. However, considering Sam Allardyce's men came third in last season's Championship, two positions below table-topping Reading, 12th place at the league's half-way point represents a very good job well done by Big Sam and his coaching staff.
That goalless draw moved Reading off the bottom of the table but at the half-way point of this Premier League season, Brian McDermott's men lie six points off safety and 17th-placed Southampton. The manager may have pointed to that Swansea point and the previous performance against Manchester City as progress, but the fact is that the Royals need wins and fast if they are to have any chance of even mustering a fight for survival. A win today would be just the tonic.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play coverage of Reading v West Ham. I'm Adam Mazrani and hopefully I'll have a goal to report at the Madejski Stadium today, after sitting through Reading's 0-0 draw with Swansea on Boxing Day.
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