Sky Blues receive Royal beating
Last Updated: 11/02/12 5:09pm
Roberts: In the goals once more
Jimmy Kebe and Jason Roberts found the net as Reading made it back-to-back home wins in the Championship with a 2-0 victory over Coventry City.
The pair both registered in the first 45 minutes as the Royals followed up their 1-0 triumph over Bristol City at the Madejski Stadium a fortnight ago with another three important points in the race for a play-off place.
Despite starting the match slowly and enjoying very few clear-cut chances, Reading cantered into a two-goal half-time lead.
Kebe opened the hosts' account with a deflected attempt midway through the opening period before Roberts bundled the ball home from Ian Harte's corner two minutes before the break to hand the Berkshire outfit a comfortable advantage at the interval.
In the second half, Coventry came close through Alex Nimely and Gary McSheffrey, both of whom produced fine saves from Reading keeper Adam Federici, but the visitors struggled to find a breakthrough.
Reading manager Brian McDermott handed a debut to on-loan full-back Matthew Connolly, while the Royals were buoyed by the returns of midfielder Mikele Leigertwood and winger Kebe.
Kaspars Gorkss took the captain's armband in the absence of Jobi McAnuff, with Joseph Mills filling in on the left of midfield.
Coventry brought Oliver Norwood and Cyrus Christie into their starting line-up, with David Bell and Jordan Clarke dropping to the bench, but boss Andy Thorn was forced into an early change as Richard Wood made way for Clarke within seven minutes because of injury.
After a quiet opening to the match, Noel Hunt saw his tame shot saved by Joe Murphy before Gary Deegan's 25-yard snap shot flashed wide of the Reading goal.
The visitors had started well, but life on the road has not been kind to Coventry of late and the Sky Blues' chances of avoiding an eighth successive away defeat took a serious dent when Kebe marked his comeback from a knee injury with a goal after 25 minutes.
The Malian picked up a loose ball outside the penalty area, burst into the box and lobbed a deflected effort past Murphy from 15 yards.
Having struggled to get a foothold on proceedings in the first 20 minutes, the strike suddenly handed Reading the upper hand.
Hunt nodded Harte's corner just wide after Alex Pearce and Gorkss both went close from similar positions, and the Royals had their guests on the ropes.
And their dominance paid off for a second time in the 43rd minute.
Harte whipped in a corner from the right, Connolly nodded the cross on and Roberts popped up to usher the ball over the line for his second goal since arriving from Blackburn last month.
After the break Reading slipped back into a comfortable rhythm and Roberts felt he should have had a penalty after being felled following a zig-zagging run into the area, but referee David Coote waved away the frontman's claims.
The experienced striker was back in the action moments later, however, shooting high and wide after latching onto Hunt's flick-on.
Coventry went close through the lively Nimely, who produced a good save from Federici from 12 yards out, and the Reading stopper performed acrobatics to tip McSheffrey's long-range piledriver over the crossbar moments later.
Bell came off the bench for the injured Sammy Clingan for Coventry as the Sky Blues continued to stretch their hosts.
Federici again denied Nimely, following his turn and shot from the edge of the box, before the Australian had a much easier save to make from McSheffrey's mis-hit left-footed effort.
And despite having the better of the chances in the second period, Coventry's miserable away run drags on.
Sky Bet Championship
Sat 11th Feb
Hull City3 - 0Bristol C
IpswichA - AM'boro
Leeds1 - 2Brighton
Leicester2 - 1Cardiff
Millwall0 - 0Derby
N Forest1 - 1Watford
Reading2 - 0Coventry
So'ton2 - 0Burnley
Blackpool1 - 1Portsmth
Sky Bet Championship
|20||Brighton and Hove Albion||13||12|