Collins gaffe helps Royals
Royals close to within two points of leaders
Last Updated: 27/01/09 10:44pm
Hunt celebrates Reading's winner
Reading closed the gap on leaders Wolves with a 1-0 win at the Madejski Stadium as Neill Collins endured a night to forget.
Collins gifted Reading the only goal of the game when he looped a header into his own net after just 61 seconds to put the league leaders behind before they had even had possession of the ball.
Things got worse for Collins in the closing stages when he was sent-off after rowing with the linesman to compound his misery.
Coppell denied yesterday that Wigan had made a £5million bid for Stephen Hunt and within a minute the livewire midfielder had played his part in the opening goal.
Persistent work from Hunt kept the ball alive in the corner and after his low ball was cleared, Chris Armstrong was able to loft a cross into the area.
Wayne Hennessey hesitated to come and claim it and with Noel Hunt in attendance Collins misjudged his header and looped it over the stranded goalkeeper.
Wolves could not have made a worse start and Nigel Quashie and Richard Stearman summed things up with a sickening collision as they went for the same ball.
Both players recovered to play on before Noel Hunt wasted a free header from his brother Stephen's corner.
The visitors then created their first chance and after Sylvan Ebanks-Blake had played in Matt Jarvis, his low cross was stabbed wide by Andy Keogh.
Forced offMichael Duberry was then forced off with a head injury to leave Coppell without three of his first-choice back four.
Noel Hunt then hit a dipping free-kick which was superbly saved by Hennessey as the first half drew to a close.
Jarvis had the first sight of goal after the break but after exchanging passes with Ebanks-Blake he sliced his drive across the face of goal.
Noel Hunt then tested Hennessey again with a sharp header in a rare chance as the game descended into a midfield tussle.
Wolves substitute Chris Iwelumo had a shot saved by Adam Federici at the climax of the game's best passing move which saw Michael Kightly, Ebanks-Blake and Karl Henry combine with some fluid one-touch passing, but his effort would not have stood after the linesman flagged.
Kevin Doyle has scored 17 league goals this season and broke free to lash a shot into the side-netting as the clock ticked down.
Noel Hunt then added to the growing injury list for the home side as he hobbled off before Collins was dismissed after an altercation with the linesman as the nervous Royals held on to claim three vital points in their quest for promotion.
Sky Bet Championship
Tue 27th Jan
Charlton1 - 0C Palace
Barnsley1 - 2Ipswich
Plymouth0 - 2Bristol C
Sheff Utd0 - 1Doncaster
Swansea4 - 1Preston
Watford3 - 0Burnley
Birmingham1 - 0Derby
Blackpool0 - 3QPR
N Forest2 - 1Sheff Wed
Norwich2 - 2Southampton
Reading1 - 0Wolves
Sky Bet Championship
|1||Queens Park Rangers||20||42|
|8||Brighton and Hove Albion||20||31|