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Reading 3 - Leicester 1

Madejski Stadium

16th April

Attendance: 19,199

They think it's all over™...

Leicester's faint play-off hopes appear to be over after a comprehensive defeat at the hands of promotion-chasing Reading.

Two first-half strikes in as many minutes from Jimmy Kébé and Jobi McAnuff sent the home side on their way, before substitute Noel Hunt added a third on the break with just over 20 minutes remaining.

Andy King hit a consolation for the Foxes with 10 minutes left on the clock, but it proved in vain for a disappointing Leicester side.

Sven-Goran Eriksson's side may have dominated the possession over the course of the game, but time on the ball counts for nothing if you cannot finish off opportunities.

The hosts certainly had no issues in front of goal, however, putting Leicester's vulnerable defence to sword with an impressive attacking display.

Brian McDermott will yet again be a delighted man after seeing his side dismantle a strong Foxes side, overseeing the Royals' ninth consecutive league victory.

Where Reading once looked like mere outsiders for a top six finish, they now harbour serious hopes of spoiling the automatic promotion party.

The opening exchanges proved decidedly even, but Reading did eventually take the lead on 19 minutes. Shane Long breezed past Sol Bamba on the left hand side before sweeping the ball across goal for the dominant Kébé to prod home.

It was Kébé's first telling contribution of the game, and one of many in a superb afternoon for the Mali international. Should Reading fail to make the Premier League next season, do not be surprised to see bigger fish come calling for the talented winger.

Things got from bad to worse for Leicester just a minute later when Jobi McAnuff doubled the advantage for the home side.

Kébé was provider this time for his opposite flanker, as McAnuff twisted and turned before drilling a low shot into the bottom corner past Chris Weale.

It was all too easy for McDermott's side, game over after 20 minutes and quickly heading for a season finisher.

City responded excellently to their shell-shocked opening, however, and perhaps should have gone into the break with at least a goal to their name.

Andy King forced a save from Royals goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, before Yakubu headed over soon afterwards.

McCarthy saved his best for the stroke of half time, however, diving to his left to palm away Sol Bamba's powerful header.

It had taken Eriksson's side two goals to wake up, but the response was encouraging. The referee's whistle was unwelcome, but left Foxes fans with a glimmer of hope that their side may trouble the home side in the second period.

No such luck. A ripple of hope in the early stages was quickly cancelled out as Reading soon began to show greater signs of threat. Knowing the Foxes would be forced to attack, McDermott's well-drilled side hit back on the break with force.

Kébé, who had missed an excellent chance of a Reading third in the first half, was guilty once again soon after the break when he failed to divert Shane Long's cross from the left.

But the Malian always looked a threat, and was soon on hand to kill of the clash. Patrick van Aanholt's mindless throw to Diomansy Kamara was intercepted by Kébé level with the City penalty area, before a rapid dash to the other end of the field ended in Noel Hunt driving home from close range.

Yakubu should have headed Leicester a glimmer of hope soon after, but planted his header over the crossbar.

Andy King did find the net with a neat drive from the edge of the area, but Reading saw out the tie to condemn City to another season of Championship football.

There were good showings from both Matt Oakley and Kyle Naughton for Leicester, but a woeful lack of clinical finish and yet more problems at the back have once again proved Achilles heel for the Foxes.

Reading: McCarthy, Griffin, Mills, Khizanishvilli, Harte, Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Kébé (Robson-Kanu 83), Long, Manset (Hunt 54)

Leicester: Weale, Naughton, Bamba (Vitor 56), Bruma, Van Aanholt, Wellens, Oakley, King, Vassell (Gallagher 66), Yakubu, Kamara (Howard 71).




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The Journalist

Writer: JBFox Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday April 16 2011

Time: 8:37PM

 

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