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Relegated Reading secured only their second Premier League away win of the season, and their first since January, with a comprehensive victory at Craven Cottage. Hal Robson-Kanu put the Royals two-up, with his first goal a penalty, and after Bryan Ruiz replied, Adam Le Fondre restored Reading's two-goal advantage. Ruiz scored his second to give Fulham hope but Karacan struck to secure Reading's first victory in 12 matches and stretch Fulham's winless run to six games.
John Arne Riise replaced Kieran Richardson for Martin Jol’s men while Damien Duff took Alexander Kacaniklic’s place in the starting XI. For the visitors, Nigel Adkins chose Robson-Kanu ahead of Nick Blackman.
Robson-Kanu’s inclusion from the start had an instant impact as he was caught by Riise in the area after the ball had gone and referee Neil Swarbrick pointed to the spot with 12 minutes on the clock. The forward then calmly slotted past goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer goal to give Reading the lead.
The early goal opened the game up with Fulham enjoying plenty of possession, creating their first chance after 23 minutes when Dimitar Berbatov’s header almost looped over Alex McCarthy. Fulham could have drawn level just after the half-hour mark when substitute Hugo Rodallega saw his shot saved by McCarthy from close range. Despite continued possession and neat football from the home side, Reading held on to their lead until half-time and even had a penalty shout turned down after a challenge by Emmanuel Frimpong on Danny Guthrie.
Just a minute into the second half, Karacan came within inches of doubling his side’s lead as his prodded effort was saved well by Schwarzer. Pavel Pogrebnyak saw his header cleared off the line by Riise before Fulham had a penalty shout turned down; Berbatov going down after a challenge in the box.
Reading then doubled their lead just after the hour mark with Robson-Kanu grabbing his second, neatly curling the ball past Schwarzer. Ruiz grabbed a goal back for Fulham after a lovely one-two between the Costa Rican and Rodallega only for Reading’s two-goal lead to be restored after 75 minutes. Le Fondre latched on to a long ball before rounding the goalkeeper and slotting home.
Fulham hit back barely two minutes later as Ruiz was again on hand to nod home Kacaniklic’s cross to keep the pressure on the visitors. Rodallega then hit the bar as Fulham pressed for an equaliser but Reading restored their two-goal advantage as Karacan drove home from outside the box.
Fulham manager Martin Jol: "The first half was not good enough by our standards. We wanted to take the initiative. We gave away easy and cheap goals and we have to change that. Although they played better, we were still in it.
"We haven't been that good recently since getting the 40 points. Today Reading was the game to gain something and get safe.
"We have to get some more points. We said our goal difference was probably a point but that has changed in the last few weeks so we need a couple more points."
Reading manager Nigel Adkins: "There has been a good progression from the players and credit to them. We've scored four goals away from home which is very pleasing and we could have had more. We played some really good football and controlled it for large spells.
"We've developed well in a short period of time. We're disappointed with the goals we conceded, as you should be, but all in all it's a good afternoon's entertainment for the fans and a lot of hard graft from the players.
"The performance underlined what we're trying to do. I want to pass from the back, play through the thirds, penetrate and score goals.
"We know where we are for next season, a tough campaign in the Championship. Reading were champions last season and we know what's expected. We will keep building."