Npower Championship
Reading 2-0 Leeds United



Both sets of players bundle together as the referee shows the red card (background) to Leeds' Zac Thompson



By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor from the Madejski Stadium 


Reading moved to the top of the Championship after substitute Adam Le Fondre's late scoring double broke the resistance of ten-man Leeds United.

In a feisty first half, Leeds had Zac Thompson sent off after 13 minutes for a rash tackle on Jobi McAnuff. The visitors frustrated Reading and went close when Ross McCormack's shot hit the outside of the post and Robert Snodgrass wasted a gilt-edged chance. But Le Fondre chested in Hal Robson-Kanu's nod across goal after 84 minutes and sidefooted in on the stroke of the ninety minutes to get Reading a workmanlike victory over a stubborn Leeds who had held out miraculously against the rampant Royals.

It was a hard-fought success for Brian McDermott's side against a Leeds team who resisted resolutely for the most part and whose play-off hopes are now all but over six points behind with five games to go in tenth position.

Reading, on the other hand, only enhanced their automatic promotion credentials with a seventh home win on the trot as they inflicted the first away defeat Leeds United boss Neil Warnock has suffered since taking over the reigns at the Elland Road club in March.

Warnock had highlighted the depleted nature of his side because of many injuries and suspensions leading up to the game and it did not take long for the visitors to suffer another setback when they were reduced to ten men with the correct sending off of youngster Thompson.


The victory for Reading means they have won an incredible twelve out of their last fourteen Championship games- while they still have to travel away to Brighton, Southampton and Birmingham City.

Reading had gone close with headers from Noel Hunt and Kaspars Gorkss both from setpieces in the first ten minutes before 19-year old defender, playing in midfield, Zac Thompson flew into a tackle rashly on winger Jobi McAnuff to get his marching orders from referee Darren Drysdale.

Former Leeds defender Ian Harte showed little sentiment as he went close with a long-range shot before a left-wing cross from him inadvertently came back off the far post and into play.

The visitors nearly made their predicament even worse when Danny Pugh went in with a studs-first tackle on Jem Karacan on halfway although the player who rejoined permanently in January was fortunate to escape a red card.

In a first half of eye-watering tackles rather than eye-catching football, Karacan eventually hobbled off with five minutes remaining after a Michael Brown challenge proved the final straw for him with Welshman Hal Robson-Kanu taking his place.


Leeds United have won just two of their last nine league matches- which included the thumping 7-3 loss to Nottingham Forest at home.

With the home side failing to make their numerical advantage count at this stage, the visitors' top goalscorer this season Ross McCormack fired a shot against the outside of the post from the edge of the box before Robert Snodgrass had an even better chance. The Leeds captain had a clear sight of goal only to sidefoot too close to Royals keeper Adam Federici, who parried the shot away comfortably.

The miss proved crucial as Reading heeded the warning and went up the other end to score when Jimmy Kebe's right-wing cross was nodded back across goal by Robson-Kanu and Le Fondre, who had a goal disallowed for offside minutes earlier, was in the right place to provide the finishing touch on 84 minutes.

Former Rotherham striker Le Fondre slotted in a second in the final minute when he benefitted from good work from Jason Roberts to send a composed finish past the reach of Andy Lonergan as Reading leapfrogged Southampton into top spot for the time being with the Saints in action in a thrilling South Coast derby with cash-strapped Portsmouth at lunchtime on Saturday in their game in hand.



Friday 6th April 2012

Npower Championship

Madejski Stadium


Reading 2-0 Leeds United                                KO 2pm               (HT 0-0)

Le Fondre 84, 90


Reading:  1 Federici- 7/10, 24 Cummings- 7.5/10, 5 Pearce- 7/10, 17 Gorkss- 6.5/10, 23 Harte- 6.5/10, 14 Kebe- 7.5/10, 4 Karacan- 5.5/10 (Robson-Kanu 40- 5.5/10) (Mullins 90- 0.5/10), 8 Leigertwood- 6.5/10, 11 McAnuff (C)- 6.5/10, 10 Hunt- 6.5/10 (Le Fondre 69- 4/10), 33 Roberts- 7/10.

Subs not used:  12 McCarthy, 18 Church

Booked:      None


Leeds United:  1 Lonergan- 7/10, 4 Bruce- 6.5/10, 22 Lees- 6.5/10, 26 Bromby- 7/10, 33 Robinson- 7/10, 23 Snodgrass (C)- 7/10 (Webber 85- 1.5/10), 8 Brown- 6.5/10, 29 Thompson- 2/10, 16 Pugh- 6/10, 10 Becchio- 6.5/10 (Forssell 87- 1.5/10), 44 McCormack- 6.5/10 (Rogers 85- 2/10).

Subs not used:  31 Taylor, 9 Paynter 

Booked:      Robinson (51), Becchio (53), Pugh (57)

Sent-off:    Thompson (12)


My Man of the Match:      Jimmy Kebe (Reading)- Rating 7.5/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:      Danny Pugh (Leeds United)- Rating 6/10



Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire)- 8/10
Attendance: 22,775



Match Facts

Possession: Reading- 58%            Leeds United- 42%

Shots: Reading- 15                 Leeds United- 7

Shots on target: Reading- 6               Leeds United- 4

Shots off target: Reading- 9               Leeds United- 3

Corners: Reading- 16                  Leeds United- 1

Fouls: Reading- 15                Leeds United- 12

Offside: Reading- 2                  Leeds United- 0

Assists: Reading- Robson-Kanu, Roberts             Leeds United- None



Reading manager Brian McDermott

"I am delighted with the application of the lads as they put themselves about and didn't become complacent once they had a man sent off. It was still difficult to play against a stubborn Leeds team who kept on going and made it hard for us to play our usual game. We are on a fantastic run of form, the confidence is flooding through the lads and it is showing in the way they are performing on the pitch and churning out results. Adam (Le Fondre) has been a brilliant signing for us and has provided us with a number of goals. He has been a super substitute for us for the past few matches and he proved once again today that he only needs one chance to score. To net a late double in such an important match against a team chasing for promotion themselves in such a vital period is a great moment for him. It is hard to leave him out of the team with the form of Noel (Hunt) and Jason (Roberts). I think we are really starting to move up the league and prove people wrong about where we want to be at the end of the season. Neil (Warnock) will be disappointed with the result but I felt in the second half we stepped it up a gear and were worthy winners by the end and deserved the three points."



Leeds United manager Neil Warnock

"The manner of the defeat is disappointing and we are naturally annoyed about having a man sent off as it changed our approach to the match. I felt we were well in the match before Zac (Thompson) got himself sent off. I felt the challenge was a bad one and he was in agreement when I spoke to him at half-time. He has gone for the ball but got there late and came in with excessive force and the referee doesn't have a choice being stood right next to the incident. It's one moment which you have to say has cost us the game. We created one or two decent chances in the first half and we just needed one to go in and a bit more luck. Reading are a top team in fantastic form in this league- they narrowly missed out on promotion last season in the play-off final- and they are desperate to deliver it this year. They kept going and playing against eleven men who were rampant and relentless in their attacking exploits in the second half and it was only a matter of time before they were going to break us down. It was always going to be a tough match for us to overcome and we were doing well but didn't have enough in the end. There are other games still to be played but on the basis of our performance for the majority of this match we cannot be too downhearted."


Watch match highlights of Reading's win over Leeds United here 

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