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Match Reports

Match Report : 20/12/2015

20 December 2015

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Report: Reading 1 Rovers 0

Rovers suffered their first loss under new boss Paul Lambert as they went down 1-0 to Reading on Sunday.

Danny Williams' 11th minute wonder-strike proved to be the difference between the two sides as the Royals defeated the Rovers for the first time at the Madejski Stadium.

Rovers started strongly but failed to take the chances that came their way as Ben Marshall and Fode Koita went close, but Reading midfielder Williams superb effort on the half-volley from the corner of the box to give Jason Steele no chance. 

The second half saw Steele keep Reading at bay with a string of saves, but Rovers struggled to impose themselves as they had in the first.

Jordan Rhodes fizzed a shot narrowly over and Grant Hanley saw a late shot on the turn claimed by Johnathan Bond, before a last-gasp corner saw Koita denied by Bond as Rovers slipped to a narrow defeat.

Rovers boss Lambert kept faith with the side that drew 0-0 with Nottingham Forest on Monday, and they started on the front foot at the Madejski.

Inside three minutes neat passing play involving Adam Henley, Fode Koita and Craig Conway saw the Scot whip a dangerous ball into the area, but it just evaded the lurking Jordan Rhodes and Ben Marshall. Moments later a wayward pass from Paul McShane picked out Marshall but he dragged his 25-yard effort wide.

Then on eight came another excellent opportunity as a Conway free-kick picked out Koita in the box, but the Frenchman could only find the roof of the net with his header.

It was Rovers making all the running, but suddenly out of nothing they found themselves a goal down thanks to a stunning 11th minute strike.

There seemed little danger as Danny Williams ran onto a bouncing ball on the corner of the box, but the Royals midfielder struck a glorious effort on the half-volley that gave Jason Steele no chance.

Rovers were quickly back on the front foot, appeals for a penalty went unheard as Rhodes went down in the box under Michael Hector's challenge.

Aside from a spell of corners for the home side, play was firmly towards the Reading goal. Former midfielder Hope Akpan let fly from distance but Jonathan Bond saved well.

As the first half drew to a close Rovers fashioned one last effort, but Marshall's ball into the area was just out of reach for Rhodes to get a meaningful touch at the back post.

Steele was quickly called into action at the resumption of play, getting down well to parry another long-range strike from goalscorer Williams. Before the Rovers stopper saved low to keep out a speculative effort from Hal Robson-Kanu.

Then after Williams was given far too much space to run into Gareth McLeary took aim at the near post but again Steele showed good hands.

Rovers had struggled to get their forward play going at the start of the second half, but just past the hour mark they threatened Bond's goal.

Conway capitalised on a poor headed clearance to race into the box, but as his route to goal was blocked Rhodes claimed possession, however after making room for the shot he fired narrowly over the bar.

Rovers made a double change as Tom Lawrence and Lee Williamson replaced Marshall and Guthrie, but it was Reading's substitute Ola John who immediately caught the eye, twice forcing Steele into further saves.

In the other goal Bond was finally called into action three minutes from time when a Steele free-kick saw Shane Duffy head down to Grant Hanley, but the defender's shot on the turn was saved.

There was drama in the closing stages with Steele up for a late corner. In the confusion the ball fell to Koita, but his poked effort was kept out by the feet of Bond to ensure a first defeat in nine for Rovers.

READING: Bond, Gunter, McShane (c), Norwood, Vydra (sub Piazon 46 mins), Hector, Robson-Kanu, McCleary (sub John 69 mins), Blackman, Williams, Quinn, 

Subs not used: Al Habsi (GK), Sa, Fernandez, Keown, Cooper.

Goals: Williams 11 mins.

Booked: Robson-Kanu.

ROVERS: Steele, Henley, Duffy, Hanley (c), Olsson, Conway (sub Brown 84 mins), Akpan, Guthrie (sub Williamson 70 mins, Marshall (sub Lawrence 69 mins), Koita, Rhodes.

Subs not used: Eastwood, Spurr, Kilgallon, Taylor. 

Goals: None.

Booked: Akpan, Duffy, Henley, Hanley.

Attendance: 16,529 (including 795 Rovers fans).

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