Reading travelled to the newest stadium in the league as the Amex Stadium welcomed them. Coming off the back of a rugby match with Leeds, Reading had several players missing. Both centre midfielders Jem Karacan and Mikele Leigertwood were out and were replaced by Cywka and on loan Hayden Mullins. Hal Robson Kanu was also out so wasn’t available for selection, Ian Harte also played through an injury.
Brighton’s attractive attacking football caused Reading some problems early on with Ashley Barnes going close on a couple of occasions but they whipped wide of the goal as Federici was largely untroubled. However it was Reading that took the lead just after the 15 minute mark.
Noel Hunt was taken down just outside of the Brighton area and a free kick was given. Ian Harte, playing through injury, stepped up to take it. As he did so it took a wicked deflection off a Brighton player and left Brighton ‘keeper Brezovan rooted to the spot as he could only watch it fly into the back of the net. A fortunate strike.
Brighton then looked to get it back to level terms with Federici saving well not long afterwards and then Brighton had a massive penalty appeal turned down. It looked soft to say the least but Gorkss went into the back of Craig Mackail-Smith who went down but the referee was having none of it. Gus Poyet was particularly incensed by this and the Brighton fans responded to this by being much more vocal as they looked to get to half time level.
Alex Pearce then smashed a shot into the side netting as Reading looked to double their lead before former Valencia man Vicente dribbled into the box and then hit the bar. Noel Hunt had the final chance of the half as he headed goal wards but the Brighton ‘keeper was equal to it and the first half ended 1-0.
The second half was the same sort of game with Brighton playing it forwards in lovely passing fashion but Reading holding on and trying to break on them with McAnuff and Kebe.
However it soon looked like the pressure had got to the Royals as they conceded a penalty after a challenge by Alex Pearce on Barnes. The victim was the man that took the spot kick, having to change the placing of the ball on several occasions. However the short run up did not work for Barnes as he tried to make Federici move first and it was then that he took it down to the bottom right but Federici was equal to it and turned it round the post.
Federici barely had time to recover from his heroics before he touched the ball over the bar as Brighton continued to pile on the pressure. Reading tried to fashion a few chances of their own on the counter attack and through set plays but nothing was really happening for them.
Noel Hunt did have a couple of good chances just 20 minutes from the end as the first time he picked up the ball on the break but couldn’t get his shot away quick enough and the Brighton defenders recovered with the second time his shot being blocked behind for a corner.
Simon Church was then brought onto the pitch and with good effect as he won a freekick. This was taken by Ian Harte and nearly resulting in the second goal as Alex Pearce thundered a header off the crossbar.
Brighton started to get desperate in the final few minutes with Lua Lua smashing over the bar and a Lua Lua cross gliding beautifully across the Reading box with no Brighton attack on the end of it. They didn’t fashion anymore chances and it ended with 1-0 to Reading as they picked up vital three points.
Now six points above West Ham with four games to go and it is looking really positive for Reading. Next up is the biggest game of the season against Southampton on Friday night as Reading have the chance to overtake the league leaders if they can overcome the challenge that Lambert and his team mates pose.