Reading 2 Manchester City 0: Long's training in free expression sends a signal to Trapattoni

It was fitting, on the eve of Cheltenham week, for Steve Coppell to hail the Irish influence at Reading that has helped to lengthen their odds against being relegated. Perhaps his opposite number, Sven Goran Eriksson, would have been wise to introduce his own Stephen Ireland from the Manchester City bench to try to reverse their poor form.

The outlook was bright for City after an eye-catching start to the season, but Saturday's defeat left them with one win – at Old Trafford – from their last eight league games. It was an eight-game losing streak that put Reading in such a dire situation at the bottom, yet after back-to-back triumphs for the first time this season, against Middlesbrough and now City, things are starting to look up.

The Irish strikers Shane Long and Kevin Doyle fashioned this victory with a second-half display that would have impressed the Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni's assistants, Marco Tardelli and Liam Brady, who were at the Madejski Stadium. Tardelli's presence brought a wry smile to an upbeat Coppell. "That wonderful Dublin boy Marco Tardelli," he quipped. "I still have his signature on my arse from a European Cup-Winners' Cup game between Manchester United and Juventus."

Trapattoni will have heard glowing praise of Stephen Hunt's display in midfield, too, but while he and Doyle have already made their mark at this level, Coppell talked of why Long may be about to join them. "Longy is a totally different type of centre-forward," he said.

"He was not connected to any club when he was younger – I think he played hurling when he was 15 or 16 – he only played football for enjoyment. That is totally different from coming up through all the year groups and being told, 'Do this, don't do that'. Longy played for fun and with expression. In many ways, that is his strength. However, he is 21 now and has got to start delivering."

He delivered his third league goal from only five starts this season in the 62nd minute. Doyle set up his team-mate for a cool, near-post finish. Dave Kitson, who usually keeps Long on the bench, this time replaced the 21-year-old and added a second two minutes from the end after City failed to defend Kalifa Cissé's free-kick.

Eriksson saw his captain, Richard Dunne, carried off after half an hour to have nine stitches in his shin but was also concerned about two penalty appeals that went against Michael Johnson in the first half after he appeared to be felled by James Harper and then Ivar Ingimarsson. Uriah Rennie booked Johnson for the second of these.

"There were two penalties, if you look at it afterwards, which we have done many times," Eriksson said. As Reading headed for a training camp in Spain yesterday, City's hopes of Europe appeared to be fading.

Goals: Long (62) 1-0; Kitson (88) 2-0.

Reading (4-4-2): Hahnemann; Rosenior, Bikey, Ingimarsson, Shorey; Oster, Harper, Matejovsky (Cissé, 79), Hunt; Long (Kitson, 82), Doyle. Substitutes not used: Federici (gk), Sonko, Kebe.

Manchester City (4-5-1): Hart; Corluka, Dunne (Sun Jihai, 29), Ball, Garrido; Elano, Fernandes, Hamann (Castillo, 67), Johnson, Vassell (Caicedo, 59); Benjani. Substitutes not used: Schmeichel (gk), Ireland.

Referee: U Rennie (S Yorkshire).

Booked: Manchester City Hamann, Johnson.

Man of the match: Hunt.

Attendance: 24,062.

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own