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Bramall Lane (ATT 25,065) 15th November 2008 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: M Oliver

Sheff Utd Sheffield United vs Reading Reading

Doyle stars in Royals win

Reading stay third with victory at Bramall Lane

Last Updated: 15/11/08 6:41pm

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Doyle: On song for Reading

Doyle: On song for Reading

Kevin Doyle continued his fine form as Reading beat fellow high-flyers Sheffield United 2-0 keep the pressure on the top two in the Championship.

The Republic of Ireland international delivered the cross for Kalifa Cisse's opening goal after just five minutes.

He then netted his fifth goal in three games just before half-time, and Reading withstood a brave fightback in the second period to emerge with their third victory in a row.

Sheffield United came into the game on a five-match unbeaten run but looked far from an in-form side as Reading threatened to carve them open at will in the early stages.

The Royals had a chance to open the scoring in the second minute when Stephen Hunt's corner was volleyed over the bar by an off-balance Andre Bikey from eight yards.

And the visitors' early pressure told in the fifth minute as Doyle showed quick feet to cut into the area from the left before cutting the ball back for Cisse to fire into the roof of the net.

Anthony Stokes was then booked for a dive in the area at the other end as Kevin Blackwell's men struggled to get a foothold.

Hunt's ball inside the full-back then picked out the overlapping Chris Armstrong - playing against his former club - whose cross was cut out in the six-yard box.


Brian Howard gave Reading a scare 10 minutes before the break when he looked to be through on goal only to be stopped in his tracks by an offside flag.

But Reading made it two a minute before the break when Hunt's inswinging free-kick from the right was headed home by the in-form Doyle.

United made a double change at the break with Billy Sharp and Greg Halford replacing Stephen Quinn and Matthew Spring and it almost paid immediate dividends.

James Beattie made a darting near-post run to get on the end of Sharp's low cross, but Marcus Hahnemann got down well to save.

Stokes then had space on the left of the area but choose to turn inside and into trouble as the hosts looked for a lifeline.

It almost came moments later when Sharp's cross was deflected onto the far post by Beattie and then scrambled behind for a corner.

The Royals weathered the storm, though, and only a last-ditch clearance from Chris Morgan to cut out Noel Hunt's low cross across the face of goal stopped Doyle from having an easy tap-in at the far post.

Blackwell threw on Darius Henderson in place of Stokes with 12 minutes remaining but a Beattie header which flew just over and Sharp hitting straight at Hahnemann in the last minute were as close as they came.

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Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Derby County 33 65
2 Middlesbrough 33 63
3 Ipswich Town 33 60
4 Bournemouth 33 59
5 Norwich City 33 59
6 Watford 33 59
7 Brentford 33 58
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 33 54
9 Nottingham Forest 33 47
10 Blackburn Rovers 33 44
11 Sheffield Wednesday 33 43
12 Huddersfield Town 33 42
13 Cardiff City 33 41
14 Leeds United 33 41
15 Reading 33 40
16 Charlton Athletic 33 39
17 Birmingham City 33 39
18 Brighton and Hove Albion 33 37
19 Bolton Wanderers 33 37
20 Fulham 33 36
21 Rotherham United 33 34
22 Millwall 33 31
23 Wigan Athletic 33 25
24 Blackpool 33 22