Premier League: Stoke City earn first victory of year at home to Reading
Last Updated: 10/02/13 8:49am
Stoke recorded their first victory of the year thanks to a hard-earned 2-1 success against plucky Reading at the Britannia Stadium.
Robert Huth headed the hosts ahead before Cameron Jerome doubled the advantage after 81 minutes with a thunderous right-foot finish.
However, the Royals pulled one back just two minutes later thanks to Adrian Mariappa's first goal for the club, but Tony Pulis' men held on for the points despite claims for a penalty by Adam Le Fondre deep in stoppage time.
Best of the Match
- Man of the match: Matthew Etherington gets the award after providing some exquisite touches and a useful delivery from out wide.
- Goal of the match: Cameron Jerome's finish to ultimately seal the three points was sublime. The substitute showed a neat touch before thumping his right-foot strike into the far corner.
- Moment of the match: Was it or wasn't it? Adam Le Fondre went over Ryan Shotton's challenge deep in stoppage time but despite a long lingering look by referee Michael Oliver, nothing was given.
- Block of the match: Stephen Kelly threw himself at the ball to deny Robert Huth's goalbound effort in the first period.
- Stat of the match: The Potters won their first match since recording a 3-1 victory against Liverpool on Boxing Day.
- Talking point: After winning four of their last seven league matches, can Reading pick themselves up for their crunch encounter at home to Wigan in two weeks' time?
Stoke came closest to breaking the deadlock in a first half of few opportunities.
Adam Federici was the busier of the goalkeepers and he was called into action to firstly deny Ryan Shawcross from close range before the Australia international made an expert save to deny Peter Crouch scoring with an acrobatic volley.
Huth then saw his goalbound effort from Matthew Etherington's corner deflected over the crossbar by Stephen Kelly's defensive heroics as Reading held on into the break.
The hosts continued to threaten the visitors' goal in the second half and eventually made the breakthrough after 67 minutes as Huth powered home Glenn Whelan's corner in off the underside of the crossbar.
With nine minutes remaining Pulis' side doubled their advantage as Jerome held off Alex Pearce before lashing his right-foot piledriver into the far corner past a helpless Federici.
However, Reading were not prepared to lie down and they pulled a goal back within two minutes thanks to Mariappa's first goal for the club.
The defender stole a march on Glenn Whelan before sending his header into the back of the net to hand Brian McDermott's team a lifeline, but the Royals - who have scored a host of important late goals in recent weeks in an unbeaten sequence of four league games - could not complete a last-gasp fightback on this occasion.
Le Fondre felt he had been knocked over by Ryan Shotton during the final attack of the match, but referee Michael Oliver remained unmoved. Reading remain 17th in the table, two points clear of the relegation zone, while Stoke stay 10th.
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Stoke v Reading
Adrian Mariappa claims there is still plenty of positivity in the Reading camp despite slipping back into the drop zone.