Royals lord it over Oxford

Reading 2 Oxford United
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Reading had the necessary composure to secure victory in the first derby meeting between these clubs for 13 years and settled it with a goal in each half at Elm Park yesterday.

The Royals were ahead in the 14th minute after the Oxford goalkeeper, Phil Whitehead, let a Mick Gooding shot slip from his grasp for a corner. From the kick, the wily Trevor Morley set up Martin Williams, who lobbed his first goal of the season from the edge of the penalty area with Whitehead stranded.

Reading could have had a second on 25 minutes when Lee Nogan darted between two defenders but saw his toe-poke slide past an upright, but the visitors almost equalised when Sal Bibbo had to make a brave save at the feet of the charging Paul Moody seven minutes before the break.

The referee John Kirkby, who seems to court unexpected happenings at Elm Park, had to leave the game at half-time after damaging an Achilles tendon. Last season he had to abandon a Coca-Cola Cup tie against Bury at the ground after 27 minutes because of a torrential downpour. A year before that a game against Notts County was held up for quarter of an hour when a pipe caught fire in a spectator's pocket in the main stand.

A linesman, Brian Rice from Worcester, took over and angered Reading on the hour when Paul Holsgrove was played into the box and appeared to have his legs whipped away by the Oxford captain, Mike Ford, but penalty appeals were waved away.

After 58 minutes, Oxford went closest to opening their account when a right-wing corner was met by Matt Elliott, but Williams popped up on the line to clear the danger for Reading.

The home side wrapped it up with seven minutes left when the left-back Paul Bodin accelerated to the byline and curled over a perfect cross for Morley to nod his second goal of the season.

Goals: Williams (14) 1-; Morley (83) 2-.

Reading (4-4-2): Bibbo; Bernal, Holsgrove, Hopkins, Bodin; Wdowczyk, Williams (Meaker, 86), Gooding (Caskey, 86), Gilkes; Morley (Quinn, 9), Nogan.

Oxford United: Whitehead; Robinson, Smith (Angel 46), Elliott, M Ford; Gilchrist, B Ford, Gray, Massey (Murphy 46), Beauchamp (Aldridge 7); Moody.

Bookings: Oxford United: Elliott, Massey.

Referee: J Kirkby (Sheffield).

Man of the match: Williams.

Attendance: 8,99.