Match Report: Clinical Reading wipe out Adams' early opener for Crawley

Crawley 1 Reading 3

broadfield stadium

There was a shock result at the Broadfield
Stadium yesterday - Reading won. Well, that was certainly the way the Crawley
Town supporters saw it, chanting for their manager, Richie Barker, to
"sort it out" as their team trailed 3-1 in the second half. These are
fans, in case you (or they) have forgotten, who were watching non-League
football only two years ago.

It reflects the heightened expectations of their followers that they feel a team in eighth place in League One ought to be able to beat a struggling Premier League club. However, the FA Cup was unable to work that piece of magic yesterday, with the finishing of Adam Le Fondre and Noel Hunt proving the difference between the teams after Crawley had taken the lead after only 14 seconds.

"I don't know how much it would cost to buy them but it wouldn't be cheap," Barker said. "Expectations here are ridiculous. You can't educate some people. One day when I'm gone, people will realise how well I've done. I know Gary Alexander won't mind me saying this, but f I could swap him for Adam Le Fondre then I would do and the faster people round here realise that, the better."

Victories have not been easy to come by for Reading this season, so any reminder of how it feels to walk off the field as winners was welcome. "It was just about trying to get a result and doing the basics as well as we could – which we didn't do in the first 14 seconds," their manager, Brian McDermott, said. "You just have to react and I thought the reaction from the players was good. It has turned out to be an okay day."

He made seven changes to the team beaten 3-1 by Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, with Ian Harte wearing the captain's armband for the first time in a long and distinguished career of over 400 games. It did not begin well, the Irishman presenting the ball to Nicky Adams on the right. He cut inside and hit a left-foot shot that arched over Adam Federici and in, to the delight of the majority of a record crowd.

Federici was caught out for that one, but saved his team after nine minutes, leaping to tip central defender Joe Walsh's header over the crossbar, and a minute later Reading levelled. Garath McCleary cleverly controlled his volleyed pass from the right to Le Fondre, who had hung back as the Crawley defenders raced back and had all the time and space he needed to place a first-time shot low past Paul Jones' left hand.

Federici again saved well, this time from Billy Clarke, before Reading went ahead three minutes before the interval. Again McCleary was the creator, cutting the ball back for Hunt to volley in at the near post.

The Reading supporters expressed their surprise at seeing their team ahead away from home, and it got even better in the 49th minute when the referee, Anthony Taylor, deemed Walsh's challenge on Hunt a foul, Le Fondre converting the penalty with relish. "It looked like Joe got the ball," Barker said. "I believe the referee has made a mistake."

Crawley were stunned, but recovered without ever looking as if they could close the gap, with only long-range efforts from Adams and Mat Sadler forcing saves from Federici.

"I'm disappointed," Barker said. "I think we deserved more out of the game than we got. We had chances, but the goalkeeper pulled off two or three good saves. To put him under as much pressure as we did speaks volumes for the players."

Crawley (4-4-2): P Jones; Hunt (Akinde, 82), Connolly, Walsh, Sadler; Adams, Simpson, Akpan, M Jones (Elford-Alliyu, 68); Clarke, Alexander.

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Cummings, Morrison, Pearce, Harte; McCleary (Gunter, 85), Karacan (Guthrie, 68), Tabb, Robson-Kanu; Hunt, Le Fondre.

Man of the match: Anthony Taylor

Referee: McCleary (Reading).

Match rating: 7/10

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea