The first game between these teams this season, in September, was the now-notorious fixture where the referee awarded a goal to Reading, when none had actually been scored. There was, however, nothing here shrouded in such mystery. Although Steve Coppell's side initially made hard work of their opponents, they then strolled away from Watford.
The Hertfordshire side are now managed by Brendan Rodgers, the former Academy director at Reading, so this was no happy return to the Madejski Stadium. After surveying the wreckage here, he must now try to steer his players away from an increasingly fraught battle near the bottom of the Championship.
Reading are looking at the other end of the table. Rodgers went so far to say the Royals would be one of the teams to go up, and they are now only four points shy of leaders Wolves.
Reading's chairman, now Sir John Madejski, was knighted in the New Year honours. Despite Madejski's appointment at Buckingham Palace, the Royal standard was not applied early on, which Coppell acknowledged. "The result was better than the performance," he said, adding that the first goal seven minutes before the interval settled their nerves. "We were getting jittery," he added.
Watford had two chances to clear a ball that ricocheted high in the penalty area but it was Stephen Hunt who brought it down and passed to the advancing Chris Armstrong. The left-back volleyed first-time and beat goalkeeper Scott Loach off the near post.
Two goals in a minute then sealed victory as the visitors flagged visibly in the bone-aching cold. After 67 minutes, Stephen Hunt's cross was headed across goal by Jimmy Kébé, and Noel Hunt turned to score from five yards. On their next attack, Roach failed to claim Liam Rosenior's cross and Kevin Doyle had a tap-in. A minute from time, Leroy Lita ran through for Reading's fourth.
Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Rosenior, Duberry, Ingimarsson, Armstrong; Kébé, Cissé (Gunnarsson, 78), Harper, N Hunt (Long, 76); Doyle (Lita, 76), S Hunt. Substitutes not used: Matejovsky, Andersen (gk).
Watford (4-4-2): Loach; Hoyte, Mariappa, DeMerit, Harley; Cork, Jenkins (Rasiak, 65), Williamson, McAnuff; Smith, Priskin. Substitutes not used: Lee (gk), Bromby, Bridcutt, O'Toole.
Referee: A D'Urso (Essex)Reuse content