Royals in cruise control
By Andy Clarke. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Reading took another giant step towards The Premiership with a 4-0 demolition of Norwich City at The Madejski Stadium.
Steve Coppell's side were never at their best, yet they still had far too much quality for a team which almost maintained its top flight status last term.
Goals from Nicky Shorey, Steve Sidwell, Leroy Lita and Bobby Convey did the damage, although Marcus Hahnemann did well to preserve a clean sheet as The Royals coasted through the second half.
Reading could have taken the lead in the third minute when Lita headed just wide from Glen Little's cross, but they did not have to wait long for the first goal.
City defender Gary Doherty pulled back Kevin Doyle on the edge of the area and Shorey curled a splendid free-kick beyond Robert Green.
Eleven minutes later, the champions-elect had their second as Little chipped the ball back from the byline and Sidwell dived in to head home.
Reading began to cruise before Norwich finally came to life just before the break, with Darren Huckerby shooting into the side-netting.
The Royals then produced the killer blow with their first attack of the second half, Doyle creating the opening with a superb cross from the left, which Lita bundled over the line from close range.
Dickson Etuhu was well denied by Hahnemann after a smart turn and low shot from the edge of the area as Norwich continued to press for a consolation.
And they were caught on the break when Graeme Murty fed Convey, who skipped away from just inside his own half before beating Green with a shot which took a slight deflection off Simon Charlton.