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Premier League

  • May 4, 2013
  • • 22:00
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: N. Swarbrick
  • • Attendance: 24087
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FT
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Live Commentary

  • That's about all from me today. Stay tuned to Goal.com for all the reaction and until next time, take care.
  • Fulham will be disappointed that they didn't get something from the game considering the sheer volume of golden opportunities they created but couldn't break down a stubborn Royals outfit.
  • Full-time! Reading thoroughly deserve the victory and pick up their first three points under Nigel Adkins.
  • 90' + 2'
    Reading are just winding the clock down now and have taken the sting out of Fulham's late push for a consolation goal.
  • 90'
    Four minutes have been added as McCarthy is forced into another save.
  • 89'
    The visitors are just withstanding a late Fulham onslaught. Rodallega tries an overhead-kick but doesn't connect properly. However, it falls to Kacaniklic, who beats McCarthy but it is blocked on the line by Morrison.
  • 88'
    Rodallega's header flicks the outside of the post from a Kacaniklic cross as we enter the final minutes. It's been a brilliant game and an excellent advertisement for the so-called end of season "dead rubber".
  • 88'
    Tim Poole at Craven Cottage: "How is that not 4-3? Hugo Rodallega and Dimitar Berbatov are yards away from an empty net but the ball is eventually cleared. Meanwhile, Bryan Ruiz cuts inside and crosses but McCarthy is there to save again. This is scintillating."
  • 87'
    Yellow CardEyong Enoh
  • 85'
    Fulham continue to search for a way back into this game and given Reading's defensive record, this game might not be over just yet. Berbatov wins a free-kick on the edge of the area but Ruiz blasts the set-piece over the bar.
  • 84'
    Yellow CardAdrian Mariappa
  • 83'
    AssistAdam Le Fondre
  • 83'
    GoalJem Karacan
  • 83'
    GOAL! That should surely ensure three points for the visitors. Jem Karacan drills a low shot past Schwarzer after Hangeland's poor defensive header.
  • 82'
    SubstitutionHal Robson-Kanu Daniel Carrico
  • 82'
    It's been a brilliant game as both sides have attacked with freedom. Reading deserve their lead as Fulham haven't got out of second gear this afternoon. The home fans are urging their side forward as we head into the last ten minutes.
  • 82'
    Robson-Kanu comes off, to be replaced by Daniel Carrico
  • 80'
    The Cottagers are just inches from leveling things up as Rodallega hits a tremendous strike on the bounce inside the box, but sees his effort come back off the crossbar.
  • 77'
    AssistAlexander Kacaniklic
  • 77'
    GoalBryan Ruiz
  • 77'
    GOAL! Incredible stuff as Fulham hit back immediately and it's Bryan Ruiz again.
  • 75'
    AssistJem Karacan
  • 75'
    GoalAdam Le Fondre
    GOAL! Just minutes after coming on, Adam le Fondre restores the visitors' two goal advantage.
  • 75'
    Karacan plays a hopeful ball over the top, which Le Fondre nods around Schwarzer and slots home.
  • 74'
    Despite conceding, Reading continue to push forward and McCleary should do better after cutting inside but his effort is wayward.
  • 73'
    SubstitutionJobi McAnuff Nick Blackman
  • 72'
    SubstitutionPavel Pogrebnyak Adam Le Fondre
  • 72'
    SubstitutionDamien Duff Alexander Kacaniklic
  • 71'
    While Martin Jol introduces Kacaniklic for Duff with a little under twenty minutes remaining.
  • 71'
    Nigel Adkins makes a double change as Adam Le Fondre and Nick Blackman come on in place of McAnuff and Pogrebnyak.
  • 70'
    AssistHugo Rodallega
  • 70'
    GoalBryan Ruiz
    GOAL! The hosts are back in the game thanks to a brilliant goal by Bryan Ruiz. The Costa Rican plays a one two with Rodallega before shooting first time past McCarthy.
  • 69'
    Guthrie tries his luck with a long range free-kick and gets it up and over the wall but Schwarzer is right behind it to claim easily.
  • 67'
    It's been a fantastic performance from the Royals today but the question is, why can't they have produced it when it really mattered? Reading fans get in touch @RyanBailey37
  • 66'
    Fulham are trying to get themselves back into the game but are lacking ideas in the final third.
  • 64'
    Emanuelson drifts a cross to the back post, which finds Berbatov in acres of space, but he opts to volley first time, and the ball flies way over the top.
  • 62'
    GoalHal Robson-Kanu
    GOAL! Reading double their lead and Hal Robson-Kanu bags his second of the game. McCleary broke down the left and bent a shot towards goal but it was well blocked. However, it fell at the feet of Robson-Kanu who composed himself and curled it home from ten yards out.
  • 60'
    At the other end, Berbatov goesdown under challenge from Stephen Kelly, but again referee Swarbrick isn't interested.
  • 59'
    Fulham just haven't got going. They get the ball to the final third but a poor choice of pass by Berbatov and the ball goes out of play.
  • 58'
    Another big penalty appeal from the visitors. Robson-Kanu once again does well to hold off two Fulham defenders, goes down under challenge from Richardson, but nothing given.
  • 56'
    SubstitutionJ. Riise Kieran Richardson
  • 56'
    Kieran Richardson comes on to replace John Arne Riise, who didn't have an afternoon to remember.
  • 55'
    A deflected shot seemed to be on it's way through to Schwarzer but Pogrebnyak put his head in the way and diverted the ball past the 'keeper. However, Hangeland makes a last ditch clearance to deny Reading going into a deserved two goal lead.
  • 53'
    The Royals are playing some great football and seem to be enjoying themselves in the London sunshine. The pressure of a relegation battle has been lifted off their shoulders and they're playing with freedom.
  • 50'
    Just like the first half, Reading have started the brighter of the two sides and are pushing for a second goal which we give them some breathing space. Gunter played the ball inside to McAnuff. His first time ball to Robson-Kanu in the penalty area finds his man but the Welshman couldn't get a shot on target.
  • 49'
    Ruiz broke the length of the pitch for Fulham and played it to Rodallega who gave it to Berbatov. The Bulgarian turned and shot but it flashed just wide of the post
  • 47'
    Karacan gets on the end of a McAnuff through pass, and prods towards goal, but Schwarzer gets just enough on it to keep it out.
  • 46'
    Back underway at the Cottage, no changes to either side.
  • Goal.com's Tim Poole reports: "So it's Reading who go into half-time with the lead here and Nigel Adkins - the nice man that he is - will be all smiles. He seems to have injected some much-needed organisation and a good work rate into the visitors and there could be hope for them next season. Fulham, meanwhile, look every bit a side who haven't won in their last five games. Their excuse was previously that they were facing sides like Arsenal, Chelsea and Everton - but that excuse cannot be applied today. This game is still within their grasp and if they get themselves together they can turn it around."
  • What have you made of that first-half? Remember you can get in touch with your comments and thoughts via Twitter @RyanBailey37.
  • The tactical change mid-way through that first half altered the flow of the game as Fulham turned the tide. However, they will need to find an extra bit of conviction in the final third if they are to end this five game run without a victory.
  • And that's half-time. After a slow start, Fulham have enjoyed the better of it but find themselves a goal behind after Riise's clumsy challenge on Hal Robson-Kanu. The striker dusted himself down and slotted the spot-kick home to give Nigel Adkins' side a narrow interval lead.
  • 44'
    Just one minute of added time is signaled.
  • 42'
    It's end-to-end now as both sides are being given plenty of room. Fulham look more threatening but Reading just lead through Robson-Kanu's early penalty.
  • 41'
    The Royals are looking for another penalty as Guthrie breaks forward from midfield but the former Liverpool player goes down too easily and the referee rightly waves play on.
  • 40'
    Duff has provided the Cottagers with a brilliant outlet on the left throughout this half and after Berbatov spread the ball to the Irish winger, his cross was well defended by Morrison with three white shirts ready to pounce.
  • 39'
    The game has an excellent flow to it now and both sides are attacking with freedom. McAnuff's back heel nearly finds McCleary but Schwarzer was there to collect ahead of the speedy winger. At the other end, Berbatov and Ruiz are starting to find space and pull the strings.
  • 36'
    McCarthy nearly undoes all his good work with a sloppy clearance but Ruiz's effort is straight at the 'keeper.
  • 35'
    Fulham have looked like a different side in the last few minutes. They are causing Reading's brittle defence all sorts of problems and are pushing for an equaliser before the break.
  • 33'
    Alex McCarthy has pulled off another sublime stop to deny the home side drawing level. An overhit cross finds Berbatov who stands the ball up at the far post. Ruiz nods it down to Rodallega in the six yard shot whose shot is brilliantly saved by the young shot stopper.
  • 30'
    Ruiz has moved back into central midfield and Rodallega has joined Berbatov up front. The change was met by ironic cheers by the home fans.
  • 28'
    SubstitutionGeorgios Karagounis Hugo Rodallega
  • 28'
    Early change for the hosts and it seems to be tactical. Karagounis is hauled off and Rodallega comes on. It seems a bit harsh on the Greek veteran if the substitution wasn't enforced but Martin Jol is obviously unhappy at what he has seen so far.
  • 27'
    Yellow CardPhilippe Senderos
  • 27'
    Philippe Senderos is the first player to go into the book, hacking down former teammate Pavel Pogrebnyak.
  • 27'
    Goal.com's Tim Poole reports: "Reading have edged affairs so far - and with the home side's miserable run, you'd think they were the side facing Championship football next year."
  • 26'
    Karagounis picks out Berbatov with a perfectly executed cross but the Bulgarian's opportunistic header is just about stopped by the out-stretched McCarthy. That would have been a brilliant goal by the former Manchester United striker.
  • 25'
    Reading have not lacked confidence or ambition going forward and after Gareth McCleary finds himself a pocket of space on the edge of the area, his attempted effort goes well wide.
  • 23'
    It's been a frustrating first twenty minutes for the hosts but they are just showing signs of clicking into gear. Damien Duff is looking particularly dangerous and has combined well with Riether.
  • 21'
    Riether and Duff combine down Fulham's right and get to the byline but the German's cross is weak and easily cleared. Fulham starting to up the tempo though.
  • 20'
    Great ball from Duff into the box who finds Berbatov. He controls well, as always, and turns but his shot is scuffed and cleared.
  • 17'
    The Royals are playing the ball around this tight Craven Cottage pitch with relative ease as Fulham sit back. The home fans are beginning to get a bit restless.
  • 15'
    However, the Cottagers have responded well and have suddenly found their passing rhythm but are lacking a cutting edge in the final third thus far.
  • 13'
    The Royals deserve their early lead and the concession of the penalty just about sums up Fulham's start to this game. It was a careless and clumsy challenge from Riise.
  • 12'
    Penalty GoalHal Robson-Kanu
    GOAL! The Welshman picks himself up and coolly slots home the spot-kick past Schwarzer.
  • 11'
    PENALTY! Riise attempts to clear a loose ball in the box but is unaware of Robson-Kanu's presence and hacks the forward down, giving the referee no option but to point to the spot.
  • 8'
    It's been a sloppy start by Martin Jol's side as every time they get the ball, the Cottagers gift possession back to Reading with some wayward passing.
  • 6'
    The visitors have enjoyed large spells of possession in the opening minutes here with Fulham happy to sit back.
  • 4'
    Both sides are looking to make an early breakthrough as Danny Guthrie's corner is headed goal wards by Sean Morrison but his effort is blocked.
  • 3'
    And at the other end, Damien Duff's delicate cross is met by the onrushing Brian Ruiz, who does all he can to open the scoring with a powerful header but Alex McCarthy pulls off a brilliant save to his left.
  • 2'
    It's been a pretty lively start to the game as Hal Robson-Kanu looks to be fouled on the byline but referee Neil Swarbick waves away his appeals.
  • 1'
    The hosts get us underway playing in their traditional white and black kit. Both sides will be playing with a sense of freedom given their respective fates are sealed for next season. Let's hope their minds aren't already on the summer holidays.
  • The players emerge from the iconic Cottage dressing rooms to a warm reception.
  • The Cottagers have relied heavily on Dimitar Berbatov's goals this season, and aside from own goals and a rare Sascha Riether strike, the Bulgarian is the only man to get on the scoresheet for Fulham in their last 11 league games.
  • We're just a few minutes away from kick-off as both teams complete their pre-game warm-ups.
  • The big story is the return of Pavel Pogrebnyak to the ground where he plied his trade on loan for the second half of last season.
  • Reading are without the injured Jason Roberts (hip), Jimmy Kebe (groin), Adam Federici and Hope Akpan (both ankle)
  • Martin Jol makes two changes from the side that lost at Goodison Park last week. Dimitar Berbatov has recovered from a calf injury and starts while Riise comes in for Richardson and Duff replaces Kacaniklic.
  • Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Karacan, Mariappa, Pogrebnyak, McAnuff, McCleary, Morrison, Robson-Kanu, Guthrie, Kelly
  • TEAM NEWS: Fulham: Schwarzer, Riise, Senderos, Hangeland, Riether, Karagounis, Ruiz, Duff, Enoh, Emanuelson, Berbatov
  • A dull affair is not necessarily on the cards after the sides’ last meeting, was a 3-3 thriller, with three goals coming in the last five minutes at the Madejski Stadium.
  • A 0-0 draw with QPR ended the Royals' hopes of Premier League survival, but they are playing for pride and hoping for a strong finish to end a disappointing season with some momentum.
  • The Cottagers have all but secured a top half finish in what has been a relatively successful campaign under Martin Jol. But, they have not recorded a win in their last five games and have failed to score in three of those.
  • On the face of it, this game seems like a typical end of season dead rubber. However, Fulham are still battling to finish as high as possible while Reading continue to search for their first victory under new boss Nigel Adkins.
  • Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the Premier League clash between Fulham and Reading at Craven Cottage. Kick off is at 3pm and I'll be guiding you through today's action. If you want to get in touch, you can tweet me @RyanBailey37