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Sky Bet Championship

The Madejski Stadium (ATT 17,228) 22nd April 2014 - Kick off 20:00

Reading Reading vs Middlesbrough M'boro

Reading 2

A Le Fondre (9)
G Friend (og 14)

ft

M'boro 0

Sky Bet Championship: Reading see off Middlesbrough with a 2-0 win

Last Updated: 22/04/14 10:10pm

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Adam Le Fondre: Reading striker gave the hosts an early lead

Adam Le Fondre: Reading striker gave the hosts an early lead

Reading halted their dismal home run and reignited their play-off bid with a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough in the Sky Bet Championship on Tuesday evening.

The Royals had not won at the Madejski Stadium since January, while an Easter mauling at Wigan had seen them slip down to ninth place in the Sky Bet Championship.

But Adam Le Fondre's strike and an own goal by George Friend, all in the first quarter of an hour, lifted Nigel Adkins' side back into the sixth and final play-off spot with two games remaining.

With their destiny now in their own hands, Adkins knows wins over struggling Doncaster and promoted Burnley will keep their hopes of bouncing straight back to the Premier League alive.

They went ahead after just nine minutes when Boro goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos flapped at Jordan Obita's left-wing cross.

Garath McCleary, at the far post, stabbed the ball back across goal from where Le Fondre bundled it over the line from a yard out.

It was the striker's 14th goal of the season, and his first since he hit back-to-back home hat-tricks in January.

Danny Graham blew a good chance to equalise for Boro when he raced onto Luke Williams' long ball only to lash his shot wide.

And moments later, with just 14 minutes on the clock, Reading doubled their advantage with Obita the architect again.

This time the winger swung in a free-kick from the right which Boro defender Friend got his head to, only to inadvertently nod it beyond his own keeper.

Things could have got worse for shell-shocked Boro but Konstantopoulos saved well from Danny Williams and Sean Morrison headed narrowly over from a corner.

Boro, who up until the weekend harboured slim play-off ambitions themselves, tried to snatch a goal back before half-time but Emmanuel Ledesma was twice denied by Royals keeper Alex McCarthy from long range.

Injuries have hampered the Royals all season and they suffered yet more casualties when Hal Robson-Kanu departed with blood gushing from a mangled nose before Danny Guthrie, only just back after a spell in the treatment room, limped off again.

Nevertheless, they could have extended their advantage after the break with Le Fondre heading too close to Konstantopoulos and substitute Pavel Pogrebnyak nodding Jobi McAnuff's cross just too high.

With 15 minutes left Le Fondre went even closer with a header which came crashing back off the crossbar before Pogrebnyak was denied a fine solo goal by a fingertip save from Konstantopoulos.

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Matches

Table

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

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