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A second-half brace from Adam Le Fondre gave Reading their first Barclays Premier League win of the season as they beat Everton 2-1 at the Madejski Stadium.
David Moyes’side had lost only one in 20 league games heading into the clash and looked on course to keep their good start to the season as Steven Naismith gave them a half-time lead.
But despite dominating the first 45 minutes Everton could not clinch a second goal and a much-improved Reading made them pay as Le Fondre headed an equaliser before firing in a second from the penalty spot to please a record crowd.
Everton came close to opening the scoring inside two minutes as a Thomas Hitzlsperger corner was not dealt with and Phil Jagielka forced a smart reaction save from Adam Federici. But Everton took the lead after 10 minutes.
A hopeful ball out of defence was not dealt with by Reading on a number of occasions before Kaspars Gorkss' back-header fell straight to Nikica Jelavic. The Croatia forward looped a cross back into the box which was left by Gorkss and Sean Morrison, with Naismith taking full advantage to slot the visitors in front.
Reading were almost level immediately as Tim Howard rushed out to clear a long ball but was beaten to it by Le Fondre, who could not keep his effort down as the American scrambled back towards his goal.
Everton almost had a second goal in the 20th minute. Right-back Chris Gunter was caught in possession by Steven Pienaar, who ran at the Royals defence before firing wide of Federici’s right post.
The away side continued to turn the screw and Hitzlsperger, making his full Barclays Premier League debut for the side, hit one of his trademark rockets from outside the box that stung the palms of Federici. The Reading goalkeeper denied Leon Osman his fourth goal of the season as he blocked the new England international’s close-range effort, while Morrison blocked a Jelavic effort that seemed destined for the back of the net. As half-time approached Everton continued to be frustrated in their quest to find a killer second goal, as captain Jagielka saw his flicked header cleared off the line by Jay Tabb.
Reading came out for the second half more positively and forced two corners in the opening four minutes. Le Fondre’s equaliser came courtesy of a free-kick from Nicky Shorey after Hitzlsperger had caught Tabb on the left side of the Everton area and the former Rotherham striker was picked out to head Reading level with 51 minutes on the clock.
Hal Robson-Kanu stole the ball from Seamus Coleman before being upended by Jagielka. Shorey again picked out Le Fondre with the resulting set-piece but this time the 25-year-old could not keep his header down.
The visitors still looked dangerous on the counter-attack and Hitzlsperger should have done better when he was found by Pienaar but he looked to fire across goal rather than test Federici.
Reading continued to press and Le Fondre could have put Brian McDermott’s side ahead when he was played through by Jason Roberts before scuffing his effort tamely at Howard.
Everton seemed to come back to life with 25 minutes remaining as the game opened up with both sides looking for a winner. Hitzlsperger saw a snap volley fly just wide before a Reading counter-attack was scuppered thanks to a superb last-ditch challenge from Coleman.
Reading were awarded a penalty by Atkinson as Coleman bundled into the back of Le Fondre, who brushed himself off to send Howard the wrong way and put the hosts ahead with a little over 10 minutes remaining. Their lead was nearly wiped out instantly, however, as Marouane Fellaini headed Leighton Baines’corner against a post, with the loose ball falling straight to Federici.
Reading manager Brian McDermott: "Everyone was saying, 'You haven't won, you haven't won' and that can play on people's minds and I obviously know that.
"But all you can do is concentrate on playing the game, enjoying the games and then the results will come because I know with the group we have got there was never any fear that they couldn't do it.
"Obviously it is a relief, I'm just so pleased for the players tonight, that has been coming for quite some time. Certainly as the manager it [the winless streak] is not relevant, all that is relevant is the points you have got on the board."
"First half we were a little bit too respectful, in the second half we deserved to win. In any sport what you need to do is stay in the game, I just said [at half-time] that you are right in the game at 1-0 and if we can raise our tempo and play the way we can it will give us an opportunity.
"We saw the game out really well, we have been working on that as well. We have been in the lead on a number of games in this league but haven't seen them out."
Everton manager David Moyes: “I'm angry with my team because we should have scored and it is up to us to do it. We didn't punish them and left the door slightly ajar for them to come in and they did do.
"We gave away a couple of corner kicks and a free-kick in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, we encouraged pressure and gave the ball away a couple of times in our own half. Quite simply we didn't pass the way we did in the first half and we gave them encouragement. I have got to give Reading credit, they upped it and tried to do better, which they did do.
"We are not scoring the goals; when we get the opportunities to put the games away we are not taking them. The result should have been the other way but it wasn't and I have to give Brian and his team credit, they hung on and kept going and that is what you have to do in the Premier League, you have to get wins maybe when you are not always expecting to and Reading did that."
|01 Jan 2013||v Spurs (A)|
|08 Dec 2012||v Southampton (A)|
|24 Nov 2012||v Wigan (A)|
|11 Dec 2012||v Sunderland (A)|
|13 Apr 2013||v Liverpool (H)|
|02 Mar 2013||v Everton (A)|