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Fulham 2-4 Reading Prem36 Daily Mail

last updated Monday 06th May 2013, 3:02 PM
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Mick Collins at Daily Mail

Fulham (0) 2 Reading (1) 4

Reading notched only their second away win of a season - scant consolation when facing the prospect of Championship football.

With Nigel Adkins's side having being relegated last weekend, and Fulham all but safe despite not winning for five games, it was a contest which saw both sides playing for little more than pride.

And the pride was distinctly one-sided. Reading's Jem Karacan helped maintain the tempo with an impressive show of precise passing as his side dominated for large periods.

Fulham scarcely broke sweat and slunk back to the dressing rooms to a flurry of well-deserved boos. 'We gave away easy goals,' said manager Martin Jol.

'We haven't been that good since getting the 40 points. Today was the game to gain something and get safe.'

They failed horribly. The visitors went ahead after 12 minutes when Hal Robson-Kanu, after being tripped by John Arne-Riise in the area, neatly converted the resulting penalty.

They maintained their advantage thanks to a stunning save from Alex McCarthy, somehow turning away Hugo Rodallega's vicious close-range volley. That Rodallega had been introduced in place of Giorgos Karagounis after just 26 minutes summed up Fulham's plight.

The boos began as they departed at the break, were reprised as Karacan was narrowly denied by Mark Schwarzer three minutes after the restart, and picked up again in earnest just after the hour mark, as Robson-Kanu curled home his second of the game, and seventh of the season.

Fulham halved the deficit through Bryan Ruiz, whose impressive finish was at odds with the rest of his performance.

Adam Le Fondre was then on-hand to re-establish the two-goal cushion six minutes on, collecting Karacan's pass and rounding Schwarzer to score.

His seventh goal as a substitute this season represents a new Premier League record, and perhaps the poorest consolation prize of all time.

Ruiz headed a second, moments later, to drag Fulham back once again, before Rodallega crashed a potential equaliser against the bar in his side's one meaningful period of pressure.

Three minutes later, Reading celebrated their reprieve by adding a deserved fourth, as Karacan, by far the afternoon's most accomplished performer, clattered home the visitors' fourth goal, to finally wrap up a game more entertaining than the occasion truly merited.

It was Adkins's first victory in charge at Reading, a perfect example of too little, too late, but he was rightly measured in his response to the result.

'There's been progression, but it's all about winning. You have to win games and scoring four goals away from home is never easy.'

Fulham: Schwarzer, Riise (Richardson 56), Senderos, Hangeland, Riether, Karagounis (Rodallega 28), Duff (Kacaniklic 71), Emanuelson, Enoh, Berbatov, Ruiz.
Subs not used: Etheridge, Higes, Manolev, Frimpong.

Booked: Enoh, Senderos.

Goals: Ruiz 70, 77.

Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Mariappa, Morrison, Kelly, Karacan, McAnuff (Blackman 73), Robson-Kanu (Daniel Carrico 81), Guthrie, Pogrebnyak (Le Fondre 71), McCleary.
Subs not used: Taylor, Pearce, Harte, Hunt.
Booked: Mariappa.

Goals: Robson-Kanu 12, 64, Le Fondre 75, Karacan 83.

Ref: Neil Swarbrick

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