Royals cut gap on listless Leeds

Simon Church struck the winner in the second minute as Reading closed the gap on play-off rivals Leeds with a 1-0 victory at Elland Road.

Last Updated: 17/12/11 at 17:32

Church: Netted early winner for Reading

Church: Netted early winner for Reading

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

The Royals followed up last week's win over West Ham by claiming another prized scalp.

Church produced a quality finish into the top corner after controlling Jobi McAnuff's pass inside the penalty area with only one minute and 53 seconds on the clock.

Leeds, without injured skipper Jonny Howson, enjoyed plenty of possession but lacked guile where it mattered and rarely opened up the visitors' solid defence.

Simon Grayson's side remain in sixth place on goal difference despite a fourth home league defeat of the season, while Reading, having steadily climbed the table virtually unnoticed in recent weeks, have cut the gap on the Yorkshiremen to two points.

Leeds goalkeeper Andy Lonergan returned to the starting line-up as on-loan Alex McCarthy was not allowed to play against his parent club, while striker Ross McCormack and midfielder Michael Brown were also recalled.

Reading midfielder Hal Robson-Kanu, defender Andy Griffin and Church returned to the visitors' starting line-up.

Church wasted little time in chalking up his sixth goal of the season in Reading's first attack.

The Wales international, 23, collected McAnuff's ball into the penalty area and planted a perfect angled finish beyond Lonergan and into the top corner from 12 yards.

Leeds went in search of a quick riposte and monopolised possession without creating a clear opening before McAnuff pulled a shot from the right edge of the area wide following a swift Reading counter-attack in the 13th minute.

McAnuff was denied by Lonergan's sprawling save seven minutes later as the visitors threatened to increase their lead and Kaspars Gorkss headed Mikele Leigertwood's free-kick over the crossbar as half-time approached.

For all Leeds' possession they failed to fashion a single attempt on goal until McCormack headed straight at Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici in time added on at the end of the first half.

Reading continued to keep Leeds at arm's length after the restart, but home midfielder Danny Pugh went close to an equaliser in the 59th minute when his angled drive from inside the area was well saved by Federici.

Royals midfielder Jem Karacan was forced off injured and replaced by Jay Tabb moments later, while Leeds manager Simon Grayson made three tactical substitutions in the 65th minute in an effort to break out of Reading's stranglehold.

Striker Andy Keogh and midfield pair Mika Vayrynen and Lloyd Sam replaced Adam Clayton, Brown and McCormack.

Keogh lashed a shot from inside the area over the crossbar within a minute of coming on following Snodgrass's free-kick, but as Leeds probed Reading almost snatched a second when defender Alex Pearce headed wide from just six yards.

Pearce then rescued his side at the other end when deflecting Leeds midfielder Pugh's goalbound shot from 25 yards for a corner, but it was as close as the home side were going to get to rescuing a point as Reading comfortably held on.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Monday, 25 May 2015
15:00
M'boro 0-2 Norwich Report
Saturday, 16 May 2015
12:15
Norwich 3-1 Ipswich Report
Friday, 15 May 2015
19:45
M'boro 3-0 Brentford Report
Saturday, 09 May 2015
12:15
Ipswich 1-1 Norwich Report
Friday, 08 May 2015
19:45
Brentford 1-2 M'boro Report
Saturday, 02 May 2015
12:15
Blackburn 3-2 Ipswich Report
Bolton 0-1 Birm'ham Report
Brentford 3-0 Wigan Report
Charlton 0-3 B'mouth Report
Derby 0-3 Reading Report

Footer 365

Sepp Blatter claims he knows how to fix FIFA after re-election

Sepp Blatter says he knows how to fix FIFA’s broken reputation after a traumatic week for football’s governing body.

Sepp Blatter will not last two years, says FA chairman Greg Dyke

FA chairman Greg Dyke is not surprised Sepp Blatter won a fifth term as FIFA president but he does not expect him to even last two years.

One-time FIFA presidential candidate Luis Figo scathing of Sepp Blatter

One-time FIFA presidential candidate Luis Figo was scathing in his criticism of Sepp Blatter after the Swiss was voted in for a fifth term.

Mail Box

Players Must Stand Up For Qatar Boycott

Players, not bureaucrats, hold the key to boycotting Qatar. Also in the afternoon mailbox: Wenger is right to rotate, Zlatan can dribble, and it's Barca v Ajax in the budget final...

What Would You Do If You Were Blatter?

Step into Sepp's shoes, is the invitation from one mailboxer. Also: United already have their new number one, Rodgers deserves time, and the best Budget XI so far...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company