Super sub Long lifts Royals
Substitute Shane Long made an immediate impact off the bench to hand Reading a 2-1 win over Newcastle.
Last Updated: 27/10/07 6:42pm
Substitute Shane Long made an immediate impact after coming off the bench to make sure Reading earned a deserved three points with a 2-1 win over Newcastle at the Madejski Stadium.
The Royals took a deserved lead eight minutes into the second half when Dave Kitson curled in a beauty from just outside the box, but Michael Duberry's own goal looked to be enough for Newcastle to escape with a point.
However, Steve Coppell sent Long into the action seven minutes from time, and just a minute later he fired into the top corner to hand Reading the three points their performance had deserved.
Newcastle hardly forced a serious save out of Reading keeper Marcus Hahnemann, while Leroy Lita missed two good chances, one an absolute sitter, in the first half.
Former Bristol City man Lita began this game intent on making an impact but went in at the break having fluffed two of the clearest chances of his short career.
The first, in the 12th minute, was the most embarrassing. Kevin Doyle, pushed to the right wing to make way for Lita's return, bulldozed his way into the box and crossed to find his team-mate right in front of goal.
Just a touch was needed to beat Shay Given but Lita missed his kick with his colourful right boot and saw the ball bounce away harmlessly off his other leg.
The second miss came just before the break and was a sad ending to the best move of the half.
Stephen Hunt cleared a Newcastle corner, Lita headed it on to send Doyle charging up field again and, after the Irishman had done well to get in a cross despite the close attentions of two challengers, Hunt's simple ball in the box gave Lita a clear sight of the posts again.
This time he connected powerfully but the ball rocketed over.
Lita was eventually on target with another effort but the only other man who came close to finding the net was relieved to remain off the score-sheet.
Claudio Cacapa was that man, carelessly stroking a back-pass beyond Given.
Fortunately for the visitors it did not have the pace to reach the white paint before his goalkeeper scampered back to retrieve.
The half ended with England defender Nicky Shorey firing a free-kick just over and the first chance of the second period saw the left-back swing in a good cross to find Doyle, who completely missed his kick.
Reading took the lead in the 53rd minute when Hunt's ball into the box from the left went through Lita's legs.
Whether it was another bungle or a clever dummy only he will know but it was perfect for Kitson to despatch high past Given.
Hunt sent a header on the hoof just wide before Lita and Doyle were only just off target with subsequent efforts.
Newcastle were becoming increasingly desperate, with Joey Barton - making his first start since his £5.8million summer switch from Manchester City - anonymous in midfield.
Geremi fired a long-range effort harmlessly wide before Abdoulaye Faye was booked for hacking Lita down. The defender was then replaced by James Milner in Allardyce's final reshuffle and this time it paid off instantly.
The newcomer won a free-kick by a corner flag, although he appeared to have made a meal of Hunt's challenge.
Emre swung the free-kick to the near post, where Smith flicked it on across the box. It would have gone wide but Duberry could not resist trying to get in the way and ended up chesting the ball into the net for an own goal.
That moment of fortune seemed to have revitalised Newcastle but Coppell had other ideas, sending on Long for the luckless Lita with seven minutes remaining.
The Irishman had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds but needed only one touch to take Sonko's flick on past Given and a second to hook it into the net.
Newcastle had no reply to that other than a Cacapa effort correctly ruled out for offside.
|Reading||Team Statistics||Newcastle United|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||1|
|5||Shots off Target||4|