Sunday, 18 December 2011

Match report: Leeds United 0-1 Reading

Simon Grayson shuffled his pack for the visit of Reading. Andy Lonergan returned to the starting line-up for the first time since October after injury while Michael Brown and Ross McCormack also won recalls.Sadly, Lonergan's first taste of the action was to pick the ball out of the back of the net after Simon Church latched on to a long ball forward and lifted the ball home from the tightest of angles.It was a good finish, but a simple route to goal, and United were suddenly playing catch-up. The response was good with Leeds coming back out of the traps quickly and Reading were immediately put under pressure.But Reading went close again on the quarter-hour when Jobi McAnuff cut in from the right and blazed a shot wide of the mark.And Lonergan was called upon to make a good save low to his left on 20 minutes before Aidy White scrambled the ball away for a corner.On the half-hour, United won a free-kick when McCormack was brought down by McAnuff on the edge of the box, but the resultant set-piece was twice blocked by the Reading defence.The visitors did close go with a free-kick before the interval when Kaspars Gorkss headed over the top, and in the final moment of the half McCormack headed into the arms of Adam Federici.There were no changes for either side at half-time as United went in search of a route back into the game.The opening stages of the second period were a tight affair with United struggling to make any real headway against a well organised Reading side.United fashioned out a chance on 59 minutes when Danny Pugh, Robert Snodgrass, and Paul Connolly all combined well before a cheeky back-heel from Adam Clayton was smothered by Federici.On 65 minutes, Grayson made a triple change for United with Lloyd Sam, Andy Keogh and Mika Vayrynen all joining the fray.Keogh was the first sub to have any involvement when Paddy Kisnorbo headed on a Snodgrass free-kick, and the Irish international tried a spectacular effort which he couldn't quite pull off.There was a scramble on 74 minutes when both Luciano Becchio and Sam were denied by some good defending, but Reading's response was a quick break which put Leeds on the back foot.
Reading goalkeeper Federici had to react well to clear from Snodgrass on 80 minutes and Pugh followed up with a shot that was deflected wide, but the visitors remained strong and organised as the clock started to tick down.The final 10 minutes or saw offered little in the way of a route back for Leeds, as the visitors edged towards victory.Four minutes of stoppage time offered United a glimmer of hope, but there was to be no way back for Grayson's men as Reading picked up all three points.

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