Rangers ride their luck

Reading 1 Queen's Park Rangers 2
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The Independent Online
Games between struggling teams are often unsatisfying affairs, but quite why this one had to be so ill-tempered is anybody's guess. Terry Bullivant's Reading can consider themselves hard done by after outplaying Queen's Park Rangers for all but 60 seconds. Unfortunately that was all the time Stewart Houston's team needed to take the three points.

Deservedly a goal down, Rangers' equaliser came in the 70th minute when John Spencer headed home a Matthew Rose centre. It got worse for Reading seconds later when a mis-hit shot by Mike Sheron deflected off the defender Steve Swales and wrongfooted the goalkeeper, Steve Mautone.

It had all started so well for the Berkshire side when Lee Hodges nodded home in the 11th minute. The goal came after good work by James Lambert resulted in Carl Asaba's header rebounding off the crossbar for Hodges to pounce.

While Reading continued to impress, the visitors struggled to find their rhythm. There is class in Rangers' line-up but little cohesion. Houston, who was booed after Saturday's crushing defeat against Nottingham Forest, appreciated his side were fortunate to win. "It was important to get the three points tonight; and though I'm disappointed with the performance I'm delighted with the result," he said.

The London side's match-winner, Sheron, who was making his debut after his summer transfer from Stoke, said: "The important thing for me tonight was to play a full 90 minutes." When asked if he was claiming a somewhat fortunate goal, he replied: "Of course I am. It must have looked worse than it actually was."

Rangers' was not the only off-colour performance - the referee, Mick Fletcher, also gave an erratic display. Managing to combine fussiness with leniency, he dished out eight yellow cards - but it could have been twice as many in a niggly contest.

Reading (4-4-2): Mautone; Booty, Swales, Robins, McPherson; Primus, Bernal, Hodges, Asaba (Roach, 76); Meaker, Lambert. Substitutes not used: Williams, Wdowczyk.

Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): Harper; Rose, Brevett, Quashie, Maddix; Morrow, Spencer, Peacock, Murray; Sheron, Sinclair. Substitutes not used: Yates, Perry, Slade.

Referee: M Fletcher (Warley).

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