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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
23 February 2013
• Madejski Stadium, Reading, Berkshire
Referee: P. Dowd
• Attendance: 22321
A. Koné 44', 45'+
M. Figueroa 48'
John Stammers at the Madejski Stadium: "Wigan boss Roberto Martinez praised his side's "patience" and "composure" in attack after their crucial 3-0 win over Reading this afternoon, but he was even more delighted with his team's clean sheet, telling reporters: "We limited Reading to no shots on target throughout the game, and that's a real compliment considering their recent results at home. But the quality in our attacking play was the real difference. That was very pleasing and we've been showing it this season, but we've never had that clinical way of defending and keeping a clean sheet. That's why today I'm so, so pleased with the performance."
John Stammers at the Madejski Stadium: "Boos meet the full-time whistle with Reading's recently brilliant home form going completely out of the window as they are beaten 3-0 by fellow strugglers Wigan, in what could be a huge result at the bottom of the Premier League table. The Royals defence was a shambles at times, while they offered virtually nothing going forward either. Two Arouna Kone goals late in the first half gave the Latics the lead at the break, with Maynor Figueroa adding a third shortly after the re-start. Pavel Pogrebnyak then received a red card to pile the misery on Brian McDermott, who will be wondering where it all went wrong."
Reading slump to a demoralising defeat to Wigan that looked sealed from the moment striker Pavel Pogrebnyak was sent off shortly after the second half began. Wigan had been the better of the two sides in the first half, forcing goalkeeper Adam Federici to deny Franco Di Santo and Arouna Kone while Reading struggled to create chances against the impressive defending of Paul Scharner. It therefore felt appropriate when the Latics went 1-0 up shortly before half-time when Kone fortuitously deflected the ball into the back of the net following a corner. Kone's second just before the whistle finished an impressive counter-attack launched by Jean Beausejour's neat through ball, and meant Reading were up against it going in at half-time. Brian McDermott brought on super-sub striker Adam Le Fondre in place of midfielder Hope Akpan but before he could get into the game Maynor Figueroa impressively put his side 3-0 after combining with Di Santo. The game was effectively finished as a contest once Pogrebnyak was dismissed for a dangerous foul on Figueroa, and McDermott will hope to write-off today as he hopes to rebuild his side's chances of survival. Roberto Martinez will be pleased with his side's display and in particular Kone's four goals in two starts since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations, but he will know that sterner tests await his side who are now above the relegation zone on goal difference.
90' + 3'
The referee blows the full-time whistle.
90' + 2'
Wigan look to retain possession following a free kick inside the Reading half, and are predictably calm as they see out the last few minutes.
Wigan calmly pass the ball out of defence with minutes remaining before the final whistle. The game has been in effect over since Pogrebnyak's sending off, with Reading having shown few signs of being able to reverse the 3-0 deficit and Wigan having eased up after going three goals up.
Scharner makes an important header to clear a floated cross from Reading towards the back post, where Adam Le Fondre looked poised to finish.
Stephen Kelly makes a clearance at the back for Reading.
Paraguay international centre-back Antolin Alcaraz makes his return from a long-standing groin injury in place of Emmerson Boyce, with Paul Scharner moving to the right flank. Alcaraz has not featured for the Latics since August and will be a welcome boost to their survival chances.
Kone cuts inside onto his right foot after running at the Reading defence but shoots wide of the right post.
Figueroa hits a trademark blast from his powerful left foot outside the left edge of the box but Federici is able to make the save.
Franco Di Santo
Jordi Gomez, who scored a hat-trick against Reading at the DW Stadium in November, is on in place of Shaun Maloney.
Wigan have taken their proverbial foot off the pedal and have been calmly exchanging passes in their own half for the past few minutes.
Pacey left-footed winger Garath McCleary comes off the bench in place of midfielder Jem Karacan.
Jean Beausejour's delivery is put out for a corner by Ian Harte and Maloney takes a pair of corners but each are cleared.
Reading centre-back Adrian Mariappa is forced to make a two clearances in quick succession as his side face Wigan pressure.
Yellow CardEmmerson Boyce
McAnuff strikes the ball wide of the right post from outside the area after receiving the ball following a free kick from Ian Harte.
Reading prepare striker Noel Hunt for right winger Jimmy Kebe. McDermott will hope the Republic of Ireland striker's energy and commitment will help with his side now short of numbers.
Reading will surely be unable to recover from such a set-back, and the home fans are now less interested in supporting their team than booing Figueroa. Adam Le Fondre was already struggling to get into the game and he will now find it even harder.
Red CardPavel Pogrebnyak
Reading are losing their heads here. Pavel Pogrebnyak is deservedly sent off for kicking out at Maynor Figueroa in frustration. Seconds after being unable to accurately head Ian Harte's speculative long ball into the path of a teammate, the Wigan defender neatly skips away from him in possession and the Russia international kicks his ankle away from him. The ball had long gone and it was a dangerous foul, with the Honduras international in some discomfort as he receives treatment on the pitch. The defender gingerly gets to his feet eventually but Pogrebnyak will be left to regret such a stupid foul.
Reading hold onto possession but lack conviction and eventually Wigan win back the ball after retrieving Pavel Pogrebnyak's knock-down. Beausejour breaks quickly down the left flank in contrast and the Royals are struggling here.
Di Santo receives the ball and runs straight at the Reading defence before finding Boyce advancing to the right by-line and racing into the box to receive Boyce's low cross, which narrowly evades his touch as he slides in towards the back post. This could get embarrassing for the Royals.
AssistFranco Di Santo
Maynor Figueroa looks to have sealed victory for Wigan with an excellent goal. The left-sided defender advances up the pitch towards the edge of the box before rolling the ball to Di Santo. The Argentine touches the ball beyond the Reading back four with a sublime first-time pass, and the Honduras international makes no mistake with the finish as he powerfully strikes the ball below keeper Adam Federici.
Reading have an early opportunity as Pavel Pogrebnyak holds up the ball following a floated cross into the box, but his team are unable to work a clear shot on goal.
Adam Le Fondre
The referee gets the second half underway, as top-scorer Adam Le Fondre appears in place of midfielder Hope Akpan.
John Stammers at the Madejski Stadium: "The half-time whistle is met with boos from the home crowd after those two late goals from Arouna Kone give Wigan a comfortable lead at the Madejski. Reading fans have reason to be aggrieved with their players after a far from entertaining first 45 minutes, although had Jimmy Kebe and Hope Akpan converted their chances things could be different. Adam Federici has had to make a few good stops in the Royals goal as the Latics look dangerous when they, albeit rarely, venture forwards. Brian McDermott's side must improve after the break."
Brian McDermott will struggle to raise his players after those two goals late in the first half, but Wigan deserve to be ahead. The Latics have enjoyed more possession in the first half and Franco Di Santo and Arouna Kone each forced saves from goalkeeper Adam Federici before Roberto Martinez' side got the lead through Kone after a series of deflections following a corner met by Gary Caldwell. The Ivory Coast international went on to add a classy second just two minutes later in which his pace and finishing ability were both on show. Reading's Jimmy Kebe impressed on the right flank and Hope Akpan showed good energy to get into the box to meet crosses but his side have struggled to create chances while Paul Scharner has impressed when called into action, both aerially and when nicking the ball off Pavel Pogrebnyak's toes from a low cross. Reading's morale will be low after going two goals down and it is now that Brian McDermott must prove his worth.
45' + 2'
45' + 2'
45' + 2'
The referee blows his half-time whistle.
45' + 1'
Kone makes it two!. The Reading back four become disjointed as they attempt to win the ball on the half-way line and the ball breaks to Beausejour. The left-winger curls a perfect through ball into the path of the Ivory Coast international running in from the right flank, and Kone finishes impressively as he draws out Federici before lifting the ball over him and into the back of the net.
Arouna Kone scores! The floating delivery from the corner finds Gary Caldwell unmarked on the six-yard box but the centre-back miscues his header which bounces off the ground towards Maynor Figueroa at the left post. The Honduras international's header rebounds off Kone's chest into the back of the net to give the Latics what could be a crucial lead.
Maloney releases Kone down the right channel with a good through-ball, and his cross is headed away from Di Santo for a corner.
Maloney takes and when the ball is headed away Wigan feed the ball back to the feet of Kone, who shows composure in moving the ball onto his right foot for a curved shot towards the right post, but Federici makes a diving save to avert danger for another corner. Reading head clear but Wigan are able to continue their spell of pressure.
Scharner powerfully runs forward through a congested middle of the park and his shot is blocked for a corner.
Kebe gives the ball away on the half-way line and Wigan win possession. After a spell of passing in their own half the Latics aim a long ball to Beausejour on the left flank and win a throw-in, from which they launch a spell of possession in the Reading half that eventually ends with a challenge from Akpan, who concedes a throw-in.
Yellow CardMikele Leigertwood
Leigertwood receives a yellow card for a foul on Di Santo. Maloney floats a dangerous-looking delivery towards the back post but it is just too long for the likes of Scharner.
Boyce is released down the right flank and three of his teammates are in the box to receive his low cross. Di Santo is unable to control the ball however as it rolls behind him.
McArthur overhits a through ball to Kone and Federici taes the goal kick. Reading impressively control the ball in the centre circle and release Pogrebnyak down the right flank. The Russian holds the ball up before passing to Kebe, whose first time cross is headed by Akpan into McAnuff but his volley is wide.
McArthur gives the ball away in his own half but his teammates get behind the ball in sufficient numbers to stop an attack unfolding.
Wigan appear to be taking risks playing out from the back under heavy pressure in their own half, but the space created behind the Royals' high press allows the Latics to attack down the right flank. Reading's defenders thwart the danger however.
Kebe is released down the right flank and his low cross looks set to find Pogrebnyak, but Scharner slides across his man superbly to put the ball out from a corner. Ian Harte's delivery finds centre-back Adrian Mariappa at beyond the back post but his header is wide.
Kebe's loose touch on the right wing concedes possession to Wigan, and the away side go on to retain the ball under heavy pressure in their own half before Mikele Leigertwood fouls Figueroa.
McAnuff advances up the left flank but his low cross is cleared by Scharner.
Arouna Kone accelerates away from his marker after receiving the ball in the right channel and passes back to Jean Beausejour in support. The Chilean passes to James McCarthy who claims he is fouled in attempting to receive the ball, but the referee awards a free kick to Reading.
John Stammers at the Madejski Stadium: "Reading's Hope Akpan drags a shot hopelessly wide after dispossessing James McArthur in midfield - the hosts are now starting to get on top of this one though."
McArthur is punished for a loose first touch by the alert Hope Akpan, who runs straight at goal before dragging his shot wide of the left post.
Kebe is having an excellent game so far and skips up the right flank before pulling the ball back towards the edge of the box. The Royals sweep the ball wide to the Jobi McAnuff on the left flank who tricks his way past Boyce who concedes a free kick. Harte swings in a cross but Wigan clear.
Scharner fouls powerful lone striker Pavel Pograbnyak outside the right edge of the box and Ian Harte steps up to deliver a cross towards the back post, but Scharner rises high to head the ball out for a corner. The corner sees Di Santo head away but the ball reaches another Reading player and as the ball falls to Kebe he shoots the bouncing ball into the side netting.
Scharner, known for his heading ability, reaches Maloney's delivery but heads well over the bar having failed to get his head on top of the ball.
Paul Scharner combines with Boyce to advance up the right flank and find Shaun Maloney at the by-line, who wins a corner.
Kebe looks as though he could be on form today. After using a trick to evade his marker James McArthur concedes a free kick on the right flank.
Wigan are enjoying most of the possession in the early stages, and Reading did well to repel a string of Wigan passes on the edge of their box and force them to retreat back into their own half.
John Stammers at the Madejski Stadium: "Hope Akpan heads over for Reading after good work from Jimmy Kebe leads to a Jem Karacan cross from the right flank, the midfielder rose highest and should have really hit the target there."
Hope Akpan heads over the bar after good play from Jimmy Kebe to hold up a long ball on the right flank and feed Karacan who put the cross in.
Franco Di Santo turns on the left flank near the half-way line and advances towards goal with some outstanding strength and skill to evade Jem Karacan. He shoots form outside the box with his weaker right foot forcing a diving save from Adam Federici, and the ball narrowly flies wide of the left post to raise the nerves among the home crowd.
Jimmy Kebe takes advantage when the move breaks down at the feet of Maynor Figueroa, and runs with the ball up the right flank before losing out suffering from a lack of support.
Wigan start brightly, with Emmerson Boyce advancing up the pitch on the right flank prompting a good spell of possession on the edge of the Reading box.
The referee gets the game underway at the Madejski Stadium.
John Stammers at the Madejski Stadium: "Perhaps the man many feel could be of the biggest threat to Wigan, Adam Le Fondre, once again starts as a substitute for Reading this afternoon. The forward, who has netted six times after coming off the bench so far this term, needs one more to beat the record amount in a single season set by Jermaine Defoe and Tore Andre Flo."
John Stammers at the Madejski Stadium: "Some advice for any supporters at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon: Do not leave early! As well as there being last-minute winners in three of the last four meetings between Reading and Wigan, the Royals have scored 42% of their goals in the final 15 minutes - a division high."
John Stammers at the Madejski Stadium: "The omens aren't great for Wigan this afternoon, with Reading having won each of their previous two Premier League games against the Latics here at the Madejski Stadium. In fact, today's visitors have failed to win in their last six trips here, their most recent triumph coming in the third division in 1999. However, Roberto Martinez's men did come out on top in the reverse fixture this season, Jordi Gomez bagging a hat-trick in a 3-2 victory."
John Stammers at the Madejski Stadium: "In Reading boss Brian McDermott's programme notes he says he is proud of the way his players performed in the narrow 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Manchester United, stating: "At Old Trafford we pushed Manchester United all the way." The manager also looks ahead to the rest of the season, insisting the Royals are relishing their fight to avoid the drop, adding: "Now with 12 games to go we are looking forward to every single fixture. We've put ourselves in a good place, trying to catch the teams in front of us, no more and no less." A win today is crucial if they are to achieve that goal."
John Stammers at the Madejski Stadium: "Roberto Martinez, meanwhile, brings Emmerson Boyce back into his team with the midfielder recovering from a hamstring problem, while Antolin Alcaraz is on the Wigan bench after six months out with a groin tear. Arouna Kone starts after his double against Huddersfield with Jordi Gomez, who scored a hat-trick against Reading in a 3-2 win earlier this season, is also among the substitutes."
John Stammers at the Madejski Stadium: "Reading boss Brian McDermott is able to bring Jimmy Kebe back into his starting line-up after the winger missed the fifth-round FA Cup defeat to Manchester United, elsewhere Mikele Leigertwood, who was forced off after an hour against the Red Devils, also recovers in time to make his 100th appearance for the club - with Jem Karacan making is 150th. Sean Morrison starts at centre-back ahead of Alex Pearce, while Adam Le Fondre is, once again, ready to pounce from the bench as Pavel Pogrebnyak starts."
Wigan: Al Habsi; Scharner, Caldwell, Figueroa; Boyce, McCarthy, McArthur, Beausejour; Maloney, Kone, Di Santo. Subs: Robles, Stam, Alcaraz, Espinoza, Gomez, McManaman, Henriquez
Reading: Federici; Kelly, Mariappa, Morrison, Harte; Kebe, Karacan, Leigertwood, Akpan, McAnuff; Pogrebnyak. Subs: Taylor, Shorey, Pearce; McCleary, Robson-Kanu, Hunt, Le Fondre
John Stammers at the Madejski Stadium: "Greetings from the Madejski Stadium where one of the most important, if not glamorous, clashes of the weekend will be played this afternoon. 19th-placed Wigan visit 18th-placed Reading with both sides looking to catch Aston Villa and get themselves out of the relegation zone. The Royals have recovered from a tough start to life in the Premier League and are now on a five-game unbeaten run at home, taking an impressive 11 points from those fixtures, so will probably head into this one as favourites, but it should be tight."
Hi and welcome to Goal.com's Live commentary as Reading take on Wigan at the Madejski Stadium. I'm @arthurvirgo here to talk through the events.
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