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The Madejski Stadium (ATT 23,009) 27th January 2009 - Kick off 20:00 Ref: R Booth

Reading Reading vs Wolverhampton Wanderers Wolves


Wolves 0

Collins gaffe helps Royals

Royals close to within two points of leaders

Last Updated: 27/01/09 10:44pm

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Hunt celebrates Reading's winner

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 off

Michael 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.

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Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 39 73
2 Watford 39 72
3 Middlesbrough 39 72
4 Norwich City 39 70
5 Derby County 39 67
6 Ipswich Town 39 67
7 Brentford 39 66
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 39 65
9 Nottingham Forest 39 57
10 Blackburn Rovers 39 54
11 Charlton Athletic 39 54
12 Sheffield Wednesday 39 53
13 Leeds United 39 52
14 Cardiff City 39 51
15 Birmingham City 38 47
16 Brighton and Hove Albion 39 45
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 45
18 Huddersfield Town 39 44
19 Reading 38 44
20 Fulham 39 43
21 Rotherham United 39 40
22 Wigan Athletic 39 35
23 Millwall 39 33
24 Blackpool 39 23