Doyle keeps Reading rocking along

Reading 2 Burnley 1
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The Independent Football

Four games in nine days is a hectic schedule and it clearly took its toll on Reading. Dave Kitson came off injured before half-time, Steve Sidwell played throughout with a knee problem while Nicky Shorey was replaced at the interval. But despite those troubles, Kitson's replacement it was who ultimately scored the winning goal.

But invention is not the Royals' strong point and it was hardly surprising, given their lack of imagination, that their first goal had a heavy dose of good fortune about it. Kitson, who later went off with an injured ankle, hit a heavy pass to Leroy Lita after eight minutes and in trying to control it he succeeded, with his back partly to goal, in back-heeling it past a wrong-footed Danny Coyne.

With Kitson's substitution arose Kevin Doyle's chance and after taking a while to get used to the pace of the game, his first goal for the club also proved to be the decisive one. "He's looked a player from the start of his time here," said Coppell of the Irish under-21 international he signed from Cork City in the summer for £78,500.

Not that Burnley, who like Reading had drawn their game on Saturday, looked any more inventive. Two games in three days are hardly conducive to good, flowing football, especially in the late summer heat.

It was from an innocuous build-up that they equalised when Chris McGreal hit a hopeful high ball to Gifton Noel-Williams three minutes before half-time. He then headed it on to Ade Akinbiyi and the striker turned Ivar Ingimarsson from the edge of the penalty area and found the bottom corner.

Reading's second also came via the aerial route, with 20 minutes remaining. From a short corner, Bobby Convey, the American winger who looked the home side's most threatening player, picked out Doyle and the 20-year-old headed past Coyne from six yards.

Burnley's response was belated and muted, their best chance coming when James O'Connor tested Marcus Hahnemann from 12 yards. Proof that it was not to be their day came just before the end when Wayne Thomas was stretchered off with a suspected cruciate ligament injury and in injury time Garreth O'Connor was sent off for kicking out at Chris Makin right in front of the referee.

Burnley manager Steve Cotterill said: "I've got no gripes about that decision," but he is clearly hoping for a change in luck when they next play. "I thought we were the better team and deserved to come away with something. We're paying a heavy price for things going wrong right now."

Reading (4-4-2): Hahnemann; Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey (Makin, h/t); Little, Sidwell, Harper, Convey; Kitson (Doyle, 39), Lita. Substitutes not used: Stack (gk), Hunt, Oster.

Burnley (4-4-2): Coyne; Duff, Thomas (Lowe, 88), McGreal, Harley; G O'Connor, Hyde (Spicer, 73), J O'Connor, Branch; Akinbiyi, Noel-Williams. Substitutes not used: Jensen (gk), McCann, Bermingham.

Referee: R Olivier (West Midlands).