Writer: Abe Hawken
Date:Saturday November 22 2008
On a bitter Berkshire day the Saints gave Reading fans something else to quiver about. Two finely taken goals from Bradley Wright-Phillips ended the Royals` unbeaten home record and ensured the Saints would return to Hampshire will all three points. Steve Coppell`s men fought to the end, with a goal from Jimmy Kebe, but could not find that desired equalizer.
In a packed Madejski stadium, the home side typically started brightly with their first real opportunity falling to Noel Hunt, but Jack Cork spectacularly cleared the ball off the line.
It was then the away side who took control of the game with crisp passes, creating a good chance for Rudi Skacel, but the Czech could not divert his volley on target as it sailed over Marcus Hahnemann`s bar. Jordan Robertson, who worked his socks off for the Saints today, set up David McGoldrick, but the striker dragged his shot wide on 10 minutes.
Four minutes later the Saints finally broke the deadlock through Bradley Wright-Phillips. After a swift move, the ball fell to Lloyd James who supplied an inch perfect cross which was delightfully tucked away by the ex-Manchester City player.
On 22 minutes referee Lee Probert turned down a strong Southampton penalty appeal. Jordan Robertson broke free of defender Andre Bikey and was brought down by goal keeper Hahnemann. Just fewer than 4,000 Southampton fans pleaded for the foul, but the referee ignored the plea.
A series of shots from Robertson, McGoldrick and Lallana are well saved by Hahnemann and the Saints continue to pin the home side back.
Four minutes before half time the best chance to double Southampton`s lead fell to Lallana. A perfect cross by Rudi Skacel down the left was attacked by Lallana, but the England under-21 international`s diving header was impressively saved by the Royal`s keeper.
One minute of added time was added before Lee Probert brought the first half to a close: Reading 0-1 Southampton.
Steve Coppell must have had words with his team as the Royal`s came out looking a different side. Despite this, they were once again punished by the decisive Wright-Phillips, who cut inside and struck a sweet shot from outside the area to beat Hahnemann at his near post on 49 minutes.
The 0-2 score-line sparked the home side into life, as Reading began to create chances. On 57 minutes the Royal`s pulled one back through Jimmy Kebe, who latched on to the parried save from Kevin Doyle`s shot.
On 69 minutes the home side thought they had drawn level, but James Harpers diving header was ruled offside and the Saints fans could relax again.
The four minutes of added time resulted in a frantic end at the Madejski Stadium and Reading continued to throw everything at the visitors. Despite Reading`s efforts the Saints defence contained the Reading attack and were able to hold on to their fourth away victory of the Season.
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Date:Saturday November 22 2008
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