Hunt’s double beats Coventry and keeps Reading in hunt

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The Independent Football

Reading manager Steve Coppell hailed his side after they started “a big month” with a 3-1 Championship win over Coventry. Daniel Fox gave Coventry a deserved early lead with a terrific free-kick but a brace from Noel Hunt and a Kalifa Cisse strike saw the Royals record a vital win.

Reading are now four points behind second-placed Birmingham and Coppell believes the remaining six fixtures in December could shape their promotion push. He said: “It’s a big month for all the teams now. It’s easy to take your eye off the ball with all the distractions around but it’s a significant period.”

The Royals won after going behind for the first time this season and Coppell was glad to see his side keep their calm. “They changed their shape which made it difficult and it was a tremendous free-kick to open the scoring. As soon as we have gone a goal down previously we have got really frantic and very anxious in the way we played. But we kept on trying to do what we set out to do this evening and stayed calm.”

Fox arced in a superb strike to give Chris Coleman’s side a deserved lead early on. The former Walsall defender was unluckily involved in the 32nd-minute equaliser. Liam Rosenior sent in a deep cross from the right and Hunt’s header hit Fox to loop over the stranded Keiren Westwood and bounce in. Jimmy Kebe’s cutback then fell perfectly for Cisse to give Reading the lead just before half-time.

The second period started slowly with neither side creating a chance until Hunt was the benefactor of some slack defending to grab his second in the 61st minute.