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Title READING FC stretched their unbeaten run to eight matches, and moved up to fourth in the Championship table, with a hard-fought win over a Huddersfield team which came to the Mad Stad as division leaders. The Terriers’ cause was not helped by card-happy referee James Linnington who sent off fiery midfielder Rajiv van La Parra after only 26 minutes, the second of his two yellow cards being for back-chat. Several other players, including Reading’s Jordan Obita, were also carded for disputing decisions, something which seems to be drastically off limits this season. It was a slightly surreal situation for Reading to be facing 10 men, after being in the opposite position themselves twice in the previous week. Royals managed to win both of those games, but hard though Huddersfield tried, they were undone by a terrific strike (right) by Roy Beerens after 41 minutes. After that Huddersfield boss David Wagner employed the classic 10-man tactics which served Royals so well - defending in depth and hoping to get something on the break. It didn’t work for them, and Reading head off to Brentford on Tuesday with a serious streak of form to defend.
Royals were a little slow out of the traps, and as though to try establishing their credentials, Huddersfield mounted a couple of dangerous early raids. Adventurous full-backs have served the Terriers well this season and Tommy Smith showed why that was so, cutting in from the right and forcing Ali Al-Habsi into a sharp save. Then Elias Kachunga tried his luck but it was deflected wide. Royals had just started getting into it when van La Parra collected this first card for crash-tackling Obita. Moments later van la Parra fell foul of the latest refereeing crusade of “don’t let anyone dispute a decision.” He saw red when not given a decision, back-chatted the referee, and promptly saw red in a different way. Royals were soon keen to make their numerical advantage pay and John Swift, ever a danger in front of goal, rattled the woodwork with a terrific strike. Obita didn’t learn from van la Parra’s plight and he was booked for a protest. Huddersfield’s defence was starting to creak, and another Swift effort from long range dipped viciously to force Danny Ward into a desperate save. Danny Williams had a volley blocked, but soon Royals were on the scoresheet. Callum Harriott, filling in for the suspended Garath McCleary, made a surging run down the right, his cross went through the pack and Beerens, coming in from the opposite wing, rattled it in via a deflection.
Now it was all about the sort of cat and mouse game the Royals had become familiar with in the past week, adjusting tactics to play respectively with and against ten. It’s acknowledged that having the extra man is not always a big deal, because the depleted team can just sit back with a full complement of defenders and hope to make a breakaway impact. Reading had setbacks of their own at the start of the second half. Obita did not appear after the break, with Tennai Watson coming in at right back and Chris Gunter switching to the left. And almost immediately Joey van den Berg joined him in the early bath. Reading had been sweating on the fitness of their midfield enforcer and he limped off to be replaced by George Evans. Inevitably it was all Reading, Watson quickly making an impact, surging down the right and pulling back to Harriott whose shot was blocked. Beerens then rounded the keeper but had too sharp an angle and only found the side netting.
But Royals could not relax. Nahki Wells, a man they have tried to sign several times, and who often scores against them, was leading the breakaways, and in one of them, Kachunga fired a low cross which luckily evaded everyone in a red shirt. Stephen Quinn replaced Swift as Royals tried to tighten things up, and it was Quinn who so nearly had the second goal, hitting a terrific shot which forced Ward into a flying save. The Terriers, however, were determined to try to salvage something and they gambled by piling more men forward. Wells almost had them level with an angled drive not too far wide of the mark. When Royals tried again to seal it, a swirling cross from Beerens had Ward back-pedalling to push the ball away, then a spectacular overhead kick from Yann Kermorgant was only just too high. Harriott was felled in the box as the clock ticked round to 90, but the referee denied Royals their penalty. Five added minutes did nothing for the fingernails of Royals’ fans, and there was an anxious moment when sub Michael Hefele headed narrowly wide for the Terriers, but that was that. MANAGER'S COMMENTS. Attendance: 17,030 (1,349 away). RAIN OR SHINE? COMPREHENSIVE WEATHER FORECAST FOR THE READING AREA (Met Office)
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------------------------------------- Reading Hotels - Cheap Accommodation Deals in ReadingREADING HOTELS - IF you need a hotel room in Reading, the UK - or anywhere in the world - our discount booking service is the answer. Click here for Reading Guide's own link to LateRooms.com®. Availability and prices are updated daily, the prices per room not per person, and there's no booking fee. IF YOU make future bookings, please do so from this link. FOR the second time in four days Reading FC had to show magnificent spirit to win an away game after playing almost an hour with ten men. At Barnsley they were two-up and cantering when Garath McCleary was sent off. At the Amex they were one up and cruising when Tyler Blackett saw red. The former Manchester United defender slid into what ref Lee Probert construed as a two-footed tackle on Sebastien Pocognoli, who did the time-honoured screaming roll over and stayed down before, of course, making a miracle recovery. An almost identical tackle by a Brighton player seconds before Blackett’s, went unpunished. Reading had gone in front through skipper-for-the-night Stephen Quinn, and gave themselves a little cushion when John Swift scored again early in the second half. Towards the end Brighton brough some big guns off the bench, and one of them, Tomer Hemed, scrambled one in to set up a cliff-hanger finish which Royals survived bravely. ASSISTANT MANAGER'S COMMENTSARSENAL AWAY FOR ROYALS IN EFL CUP
IN the fourth round of the EFL Cup Reading FC have landed a plum tie away to Arsenal. It is certainly a glamorous occasion, but it will not be lost on Royals supporters that in the three Premier League seasons Arsenal were the only top flight team to consistently beat Reading, and usually comprehensively. In more recent memory is that crazy 7-5 extra time win the Gunners had at the Mad Stad in a previous League Cup-tie after Reading had led 4-0. FULL DRAW: West Ham v Chelsea; Manchester United v Manchester City; Arsenal v READING; Liverpool v Tottenham; Bristol City v Hull City; Leeds Utd v Norwich; Newcastle v Preston; Southampton v Sunderland. The draw was conducted on Sky Sports, with Phil Thompson drawing the home teams and Matt Murray the aways. Matches to be played week beginning October 24th.