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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
December 22, 2012
• 10:00 AM
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: M. Dean
• Attendance: 47007
G. Barry 90'+
That's all from me Rhys Turrell, head over to Goal.com for all the reaction from today's Premier League games. Goodbye.
Reading can take heart from their showing having been mauled by Arsenal in the week, but at the end of the day, one moment of quality from Silva, and one moment of weakness at the back has cost them a point. And that could well be the difference between them staying in the Premier League, or making an instant return to the Football League.
City will have played better and lost, but to have not got three points here would have been a real slip-up. They had more of the ball, and created more chances, but for the majority of the game they lacked the tempo and craft to open up their opponents.
Reading will be totally deflated having lost so late on, having defended so well throughout, but an excellent cross from Silva, and some poor defending by Shorey where he allowed Barry to get a run on him, has meant they leave the Etihad pointless.
Well, City have got the win that was expected of them, but my did they leave it late. Gareth Barry's goal might not have matched the drama of Sergio Aguero's famous strike in the game with QPR last season, but it could prove vitally important.
90' + 4'
It's all over, and City have won. Just.
90' + 3'
90' + 3'
They've done it! Barry is the hero, as he heads home a winner. Silva whips in an excellent cross which is poorly defended by Nicky Shorey and Barry shows greater determination to get above the visitors' defender and head home from the penalty spot.
90' + 1'
Aguero, who has been lively this afternoon, drives the ball forward with pace, and takes aim for the near post, but his shot is only good enough for the side netting.
Four minutes of injury time for City to get their goal...
Silva heads over at the back post from a deep cross by Yaya Toure. That does not do credit to the quality of defending from Jimmy Kebe, however, who has been excellent all afternoon.
Federici is in a spot of bother now too. He larrups the ball up field and slips over in the process and has seemingly injured himself.
Ian Harte is down injured, he receives treatment, and takes possibly the longest walk ever to get off the pitch. That takes a bit of sting out of the game.
That's a change that should have been made some 15-20 minutes ago. Reading have played with just forward all game, so it seems strange to have played with a back four throughout.
Scott Sinclair hasn't done much since coming on, and he wastes the chance he gets here. He finds some space on the left side of the box, cuts inside, but blazes his shot miles over the bar.
Great chance for Reading. Pogrebnyak and Kebe form a two-man counter-attack with the latter crossing for the former, but the ball is just out of reach for the Russian and the ball is cleared for a corner.
City win the ball well deep in their onw half, and Yaya Toure drives the ball forward, but his ball lacks finesse and is cleared easily by Reading. They could well get a draw here, the visitors...
Dzeko gets his head on another cross, but once again it's a difficult effort and he is well marshalled well by Pearce.
Pogrebnyak has been brilliant for Reading today, and he uses all his strength and power to get past Kolo Toure which flashes across the area. Jay Tabb tumbles over and claims for a penalty, but it would have been a soft award.
Carlos Tevez finds space out on the right, but he slips over and concedes a throw in. Bit unfortunate, but rather sums up their afternoon really.
Leigertwood fouls Aguero some 30 yards from goal in a central position. The next foul he makes could be his last though, he's already on a yellow.
Yellow CardYaya Touré
Yaya Toure concedes a foul on the left-side of his own area and is given a yellow for the foul on Reading captain Jobi McAnuff.
Well, there's now 25 minutes left, and City are still to get the goal they probably deserve. Reading have defended brilliantly, and their shape and discipline has belittled their lowly Premier League status.
Yellow CardMikele Leigertwood
Good defending by the debutant Rekik there. He thwarts the galloping Kebe well, and wins himself a free-kick. The Mali winger is a danger on the counter-attack with his searing pace, and City need to be careful with that.
That man Dzeko gets his head on a corner from Silva, but it's just over the bar from the Bosnian.
Zabaleta puts in another cross, but this one is not so great. It's easily met by Federici. Interesting change of tactics from City though, since Dzeko came on, they've put a lot more balls into the box, and the workrate has increased.
Manchester City oh so close to grabbing the opener. They carve open the visitors and Pablo Zabaleta reaches the byline but his cross is just to high for both Tevez and Aguero and the chance is wasted. Any contact from the Argentina strikers and there would have been a goal. Better from City though, they'll need more of that to get the goal they want.
Here comes the supersub...
Patient build-up between Yaya Toure and Silva ends with the former putting in a good cross which is just a little to high for Carlos Tevez, and his effort bristles off the top of his head and out for a throw-in.
City are growing a little frustrated here. They need to work harder to break through their opponents. Silva finds a bit of space, but his cross takes a deflection off Mariappa and is gathered by Federici.
That corner was excellently delivered by the left foot of Ian Harte. If the Irishman gets a free-kick in a dangerous area, it could prove fatal for City.
Chance for Reading. A corner comes over from the right, and the in-swinging delivery is met by the head of Pearce, but he heads over the bar. He should have at least hit the target there though.
Tevez whips in the free-kick from the left, and takes aim for the opposite top corner, but his effort is met by Federici and punched clear.
Dangerous free-kick for City here. They build up play patiently, and eventually Jem Karacan gets frustrated and concedes a foul.
Tevez jinks around a couple of defenders, and keeps the ball well, but drags his shot from the edge of the area just wide. Nice play by the Argentine.
Silva shows his class once again, as a chipped through ball is almost met by Tevez. Would have been a delightful move if it came off.
Reading kick-off, and we're ready for the second 45.
The teams are out, and we're ready for the second half.
Either way, City know how to win games like this, and that experience should come into play as the game wears on.
City have more of the ball, but have failed to carve open a very deep-lying defence. They need to up the tempo and pull Reading's players out of position. Edin Dzeko would relish a battle with the Royals centre-back Pearce, so the Bosnian may make an introduction early in the second period.
Reading have been disciplined and have defended excellently, however that does not make for good watching! In all fairness, they have not played like a side bottom of the table on a run of six straight defeats, and boss McDermott will be delighted with their showing so far.
And that was the last chance of the half - what a miserable 45 minutes of football that was.
Aguero gets the byline after a good run forward, but his hanging ball towards the back post is just to long for Carlos Tevez, and it's headed away for a corner.
Silva has probably been the standout player of the half, but all of his work has been done about 10 yards further back than City would have wanted. He has been forced into some hopeful passes and crosses due to Reading's good and deep defending.
Another cross from City comes to nothing, as Alex Pearce heads comfortably clear from a Rekik delivery. All a bit to easy for the visitors that.
Zabaleta gets a shot on goal, which takes a huge deflection and causes mild-panic for Federici. It ends a flowing move where City put real pace on the ball.
Half chance for City there. Silva bursts into the area and slides a ball across which Yaya Toure fails to connect with, although the Ivorian claims that is because he was hauled down by a defender. It was never a penalty.
There's quite a few empty seats at the Etihad this afternoon. Those who decided not to come aren't missing much to be honest. It's not the best game.
Gareth Barry has a chance for City. Silva gets down the right, and flashes a cross into the area which the England midfielder can only head straight down the throat of a grateful Federici. It was a good opportunity, and if it had gone either side,the Australian may well of been in trouble.
Once again, City have the lots of the ball, but cannot do anything with it. Reading set up camp on the edge of their area, and it's hard for the Champions to get through.
Well, 30 minutes played and so far, so good for the Premier League's bottom side. There have been few clear-cut chances, and that will please Brian McDermott more than Roberto Mancini.
City put a few balls into the penalty area, but both are cleared well by several Reading defenders. City need to up the quality to break through a resolute-looking Royals defence.
Yellow CardChris Gunter
Reading are doing rather well though, they get themselves on the ball, and pose a few problems when in possession. They just lack a bit of quality in the final third.
I think we might be coming up to five minutes since Reading last touched the ball. They are defending very, very deep, leaving Pogrebnyak very isolated up front.
...it comes to nothing. Unsurprisingly.
Carlos Tevez is lining up a free-kick from miles out.
Yellow CardSergio Agüero
City knock the ball around nicely, but the visitors are defending very deeply, and the period of possession eventually fizzles out. Good shape from the Royals, but City need to put more tempo into their game.
City have had a fair few corners so far, but none have come to much. Poor delivery and good defending has been the reason for that. The Royals do not look like a side who conceded five times in their last game.
Adam Federici gets his gloves dirty for the first time as Aguero and Tevez link-up excellently to create a chance for the former Manchester United man. His shot from the corner of the six-yard box is well saved by the Australian keeper.
Pavel Pogrebnyak. uses all his strength to earn his side a free-kick midway into the City half. Ian Harte belts in the resulting free-kick, but it sails past the bodies in the penalty area and out for a goal kick.
That man Silva is in the thick of the action once again. This time he links up well with Carlos Tevez, and creates himself a goalscoring opportunity, but his shot at goal takes a deflection.
A chance for City just a few seconds ago. David Silva found some space on the left, and drilled a cross into the crowded penalty area, only for Sergio Aguero to blaze a volley well over the bar. It only really was a half-chance.
Whisper it quietly, but Reading are doing OK here. They look composed on the ball, and stylish in attack. We have only played ten minutes, mind.
The first real chance of the game goes to Reading, as Jimmy Kebe floats in a cross which is headed over the bar by Jobi McAnuff. It was a difficult chance, so no shame in missing that one.
A rare error from Joe Hart in the early stages, as he clumsily gives the ball straight to the visitors, but they do not capitalise on their chance, and the opportunity goes begging.
I will say, however, that the atmosphere at the stadium is very flat. It's probably not helped by the awful weather, it's a sodden-looking scene in the north-west this afternoon.
Not to much to report so far, both sides are just feeling each other out so far.
Yellow CardAdrian Mariappa
We've played one minute, and we've already got the first yellow card of the afternoon. Reading defender Adrian Mariappa comes flying through the back of a City player, and earns a needless caution. Really poor play from the former Watford player.
The home side start the game, and we're underway at the Etihad.
Mike Dean is today's referee, and he gets the afternoon underway with a minute's applause for all City-related staff and supporters who have passed away in the last year.
The two sides are out on the pitch and exchanging pleasantries, kick-off is just minutes away.
We're five minutes away from kick-off in Manchester.
Now, I'm sure not many of you fancy Reading to get much joy at the Etihad this afternoon, but it's worth noting that there is pretty much no pressure on the Royals, with 4-0 being touted as a 'par' score. That said, City have such firepower at their disposal that anything other than a routine home win looks highly unlikely.
Reading: Federici; Gunter, Mariappa, Pearce, Harte; Kebe, Leigertwood, Karacan, Tabb, McAnuff; Pogrebnyak. Subs: Taylor, Shorey, Gorkss, Guthrie, Robson-Kanu, Le Fondre, Hunt.
Reading welcome back Turkish midfielder Jem Karacan into their midfield for the tough-looking trip north. He will play in a five man midfield behind lone striker Pavel Pogrebnyak. Elsewhere, veteran Ian Harte starts a left-back and Alex Pearce replaces Kaspars Korkss at centre-back.
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kolo Toure, Nastasic, Rekik; Garcia, Barry, Silva, Yaya Toure; Aguero, Tevez. Subs: Wright, Kompany, Razak, Milner, Lescott, Sinclair, Dzeko.
There's a surprise in the home side's starting XI with youngster Karim Rekik being handed his debut a left-back. Gareth Barry returns in place of the injured Samir Nasri is City's only other change. Vincent Kompany is on the bench after his recent struggle to overcome a hamstring problem.
I'm Rhys Turrell and I'll be taking you through all the action at the Etihad Stadium, as the champions look to close the six point gap at the top of the league to rivals Manchester United.
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's coverage of the Premier League clash between Manchester City and Reading.
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