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The Madejski Stadium (ATT 20,441) 30th August 2008 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: C Penton

Reading Reading vs Crystal Palace C Palace

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Doyle treble punishes Palace

Doyle the hero for Royals

Last Updated: 30/08/08 6:36pm

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Doyle: Hat-trick hero

Doyle: Hat-trick hero

Kevin Doyle ended his goal drought with a superb hat-trick to help Reading to a 4-2 win over Crystal Palace.

Doyle grabbed a quick-fire brace to cap a crazy spell of three goals in four second-half minutes before nipping in for another in stoppage time as Steve Coppell's side came from behind to win.

Earlier James Harper had given the hosts the lead before Nick Carle finally got the Eagles' first league goal of the season from the penalty spot.

Tom Soares then momentarily had Neil Warnock's side ahead before terrible defending saw Doyle twice cash in from set-pieces within 60 seconds before nabbing another easy goal in the last minute.

Marcus Hahnemann nearly handed Palace an early goal when he fumbled Calvin Andrew's cross from the right onto the crossbar and he was lucky to see the ball go out for a corner.

It was a huge reprieve for Coppell's side and they took full advantage by scoring seconds later in the 18th minute.

Liam Rosenior made a forceful run down the right and drilled in a low cross which Doyle stepped over at the near post.

Stephen Hunt arrived in the six-yard box and while Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni showed great reflexes to keep his effort out he was helpless to prevent Harper sweeping in the rebound left-footed.

Hunt then hit the post direct from a vicious inswinging corner before floating another one in for Alex Pearce to force a decent save from Speroni.

Palace then drew level in the 36th minute.

Penalty

Andrew's cross was only half-cleared and the industrious Carle was first to react, controlling the loose ball before firing in a volley which clearly struck Harper's hand.

There was no protest from the Reading camp and Carle sent Hahnemann the wrong way to smash the ball into the bottom-right corner.

Reading chairman John Madejski's attempts at a Delia Smith-style half-time address to the fans fell flat when he was vociferously booed by a crowd angry at the latest sales of key personnel.

But the same fans were on their feet minutes later when Doyle came within inches of a sensational goal.

Jimmy Kebe's cross was diverted to the edge of the area and Doyle - with his back to goal - deftly lifted it into the air, took a touch on his instep before swivelling and firing in a dipping strike which Speroni had to be at full stretch to tip over.

Hunt then sprinted the length of the field but played the wrong pass before Alan Lee - introduced at the break - nearly scored a debut goal when his header was well blocked by Pearce.

And the target man was influential as Soares gave the visitors a 64th-minute lead.

He controlled a ball on his chest before turning and chipping a cross to the back post where Soares was able to bundle the ball past Harper and stab home from close range.

Equaliser
But the lead lasted just three minutes as Doyle was left inexcusably all alone to poke another superb Hunt corner in from no more than three yards.

And Palace's inability to deal with a set-piece again proved costly when Doyle struck again seconds later.

Harper was the architect this time and after Speroni flapped at his corner Jem Karacan fired the ball goalward and the predatory Doyle was on hand to tap in another simple finish.

The goal knocked the stuffing out of Palace and substitute Noel Hunt and Doyle both had chances to seal the win before the fourth goal did come from yet another set-piece.

Hunt produced another quality delivery into the area and when Ivar Ingimarsson headed toward goal Doyle was yet again in the right place to plant a header past Speroni and claim a hat-trick of goals from inside the six-yard box.

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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Watford 12 24
2 Derby County 12 23
3 Middlesbrough 12 23
4 Norwich City 12 21
5 Nottingham Forest 12 21
6 Ipswich Town 12 20
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 12 20
8 Charlton Athletic 12 19
9 Bournemouth 12 18
10 Brentford 12 18
11 Sheffield Wednesday 12 17
12 Cardiff City 12 16
13 Blackburn Rovers 12 16
14 Leeds United 12 15
15 Rotherham United 12 15
16 Reading 12 15
17 Huddersfield Town 12 15
18 Millwall 12 13
19 Wigan Athletic 12 11
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 12 11
21 Birmingham City 12 11
22 Fulham 12 10
23 Bolton Wanderers 12 8
24 Blackpool 12 6

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