Harper makes Royals apology

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James Harper has apologised to his Reading team-mates for the mistake that led to Newcastle midfielder Emre scoring his side's winner on Wednesday.

Harper demonstrated the line between hero and villain is a thin one, after scoring twice - his first goals in the Premiership - before being at fault for Newcastle's late winner.

The talented schemer lost possession on the half-way line to Newcastle's Turkish international, who proceeded to make inroads before smashing a fine strike beyond Marcus Hahnemann.

Earlier in the contest at St James' Park and Harper had been the toast of the Reading faithful having twice etched his name on the scoresheet, but ultimately, his efforts were undone.

"I've got to apologise to the lads and the fans," he told the club's official website.

"They got a pen that wasn't really a pen, and then I lost it on halfway, Emre put it in the top corner and I have gone from hero to villain.

"I looked at my phone afterwards and I've got texts from people talking about my two goals but little do they know it's my fault we lost.

"There is nothing I can do now but it's horrible, a killer.

"The gaffer doesn't like us playing in dangerous areas but I didn't think it was dangerous on halfway.

"I thought for 20 minutes in the second half we battered them and it's a sickening blow."

Despite his costly error, Harper was grateful that his team-mates rallied around, urging him to put the mistake behind him ahead of Saturday's game against Watford.

"The lads have been good as gold, saying I scored to get us back into it, but all the fans have come up here, it's a horrible journey for them on the coach and to lose like that is not nice," he added.

"Now we've got Watford on Saturday to put it right. Hopefully I can get the winner and make it up to the fans and the lads."