Mackie makes Brighton pay

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:40

Mackie makes Brighton pay

Mackie scored a goal in each half for Reading, both from powerful shots that beat Brighton goalkeeper David Stockdale.
The Seagulls had cancelled out Mackie’s first-half opener early in the second half when Chris O’Grady stroked home a penalty.
Reading made five changes to the side that started the gruelling goalless draw with Bradford in their FA Cup quarter-final at Valley Parade on Saturday.
As well as facing Brighton, Steve Clarke’s team also have an away league game against Watford this Saturday – 48 hours before the cup replay with Bradford at the Madejski. The winners will take on Arsenal in the semi-finals at Wembley.
Reading’s recent home form had been woeful, with three defeats in a row and not a goal scored.
Brighton’s away record was poor, too – they had not scored in four successive matches on their travels. But they had won three of their previous four games, all the victories coming at home.
The unimpressive statistics possibly pointed to a dour encounter but both teams contributed equally to a lively opening.
Reading could have gone in front when Garath McCleary chipped over a free-kick and Jake Cooper miscued an effort towards goal. The ball was still going in but Jake Forster-Caskey hacked it off the goalline.
Hal Robson-Kanu could have stretched the lead soon after but, having run through the non-existent defensive cover, he blazed his shot over the crossbar.
Brighton’s early promise soon returned and Greg Halford, the former Reading defender, should have done better from Emmanuel Ledesma’s free kick.
But with the goal gaping, he headed tamely at home goalkeeper Adam Federici.
It was to prove a costly miss, with Reading going ahead in the 24th minute after a weak clearance from Stockdale.
Hope Akpan latched on to it and released Mackie, who strode forward and fired a fierce drive past Stockdale. It was Reading’s first home goal in 344 minutes.
Brighton offered little going forward and Reading should have increased their advantage before half-time.
Michael Hector drove over, after good work by Robson-Kanu, and Stockdale saved well from the striker’s low shot.
Reinvigorated after the break, Brighton drew level in the 53rd minute. Cooper clumsily pushed Ledesma over in the area and O’Grady easily despatched the penalty.
Three minutes later, Reading regained their lead. Mackie cut in from the right flank and sent a powerful low shot skidding past Stockdale.
Nick Blackman twice had chances as Reading continued to dominate. First, he drove a free kick straight at Stockdale, then he volleyed over from McCleary’s pinpoint cross.
Brighton faded in the closing stages and Reading held on comfortably.

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