However, just three minutes had gone when Fulham's defence found themselves in a tangle on their left, allowing Tony Thorpe to steal possession near the byline. He crossed low to Grant Brebner and the Scottish Under-21 international striker finished with aplomb.
The unthinkable nearly happened soon afterwards but Maik Taylor's quick thinking prevented Reading going two up as he scrambled Paul Brayson's shot away with his legs.
After a Geoff Horsfield strike had just whistled wide at the other end, Reading then lost their captain, Phil Parkinson, after a clash of heads with Rufus Brevett. He was replaced Andy Bernal. For the remainder of the first half Reading faced a tidal wave of Fulham attacks: Barry Hayles, Philippe Albert and Horsfield all landing headers just off target.
Within five minutes of the restart it was a different story. After Paul Peschisolido had hit the bar, they twice failed to deal with corners from Steve Hayward and Horsfield was on hand each time to make them pay. By the time Kit Symons added the third, with a header from another Hayward corner, there was only one team in it.
Keegan said: "I've had a few worrying experiences in the last few weeks. I had the Manchester United fans chanting 'Keegan for England'."
But as far as the national team was concerned that is almost as much as he would say, although someone playfully pointed out that were he to pick three Fulham players in that squad then his club's game against Walsall, scheduled for the same day as the England v Poland match, could be postponed. "I never thought about that," Keegan admitted. "But I don't think I'd get away with it".
Fulham (5-3-2): Taylor; Finnan, Symons, Albert, Coleman, Brevett; Smith, Hayward, Peschisolido (Trollope 68); Horsfield (Lehmann 90), Hayles (Betsy, 76).
Reading (4-4-2): Howie; Murty, Polston, Primus, Gray; Brebner, Parkinson (Bernal, 35), Caskey, Glasgow; Thorpe, Brayson (McIntyre, 45). Substitute not used: Houghton.
Referee: M Jones (Chester).Reuse content