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Fulham 2-1 Reading Cham 26 1415 Reading Chronicle

last updated Sunday 18th January 2015, 5:19 PM

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Reading Chronicle

Fulham (0) 2-1 (0) Reading

An added time header from Fulham midfielder Bryan Ruiz condemned Reading FC to a cruel defeat at Craven Cottage.

The Royals' dominated large periods of the game and would've felt frustrated at only taking a point from the contest.

But things got worse in added time as Bryan Ruiz headed home from inside the six-yard box to condemn Reading to their first defeat on the road under Steve Clarke.

Pavel Pogrebnyak's 63rd minute header cancelled out Alexander Kacaniklic's opener and it seemed to have won Reading a point.

But despite the visitors looking the more likely to grab the winner, it was Fulham who struck late to seal all three points in a bitter blow for the 2,700 travelling Reading supporters.

The result sees the Royals drop to 18th in the Championship.

Steve Clarke made just one change from the draw with Middlesbrough as fit-again Garath McCleary returned to the side in place of Jamie Mackie.

It took just five minutes for the game to burst into life as both sides went close to striking an early blow within 60 seconds of each other.

It was Reading who had the first opportunity of the contest when Oliver Norwood's corner was headed towards goal by Alex Pearce but Konstantinos Stafylidis was on the line to prevent it creeping in.

Within a minute, the hosts had spurned a golden opportunity to take the lead when Hugo Rodallega fired wide from 12 yards.

Ross McCormack teased Chris Gunter down the left-hand side before pulling it back to an unmarked Rodallega, who could only sidefoot wide.

Reading were enjoying plenty of the ball in the opening stages, with Garath McCleary a constant threat throughout.

The winger had the beating of Stafylidis all afternoon and his direct running caused the left-back problems in the opening stages as Reading won three corners in the opening 20 minutes.

The visitors were dominating large periods of the play but failing to properly test Marcus Bettinelli in the Fulham goal.

Danny Williams, Oliver Norwood and Simon Cox all took aim from distance but none of them could hit the target in a frustrating first-half.

Things could've been worse at the break though for the Royals, had Adam Federici not kept out Shaun Hutchinson's header in the 44th minute.

Rodallega fired the rebound against the woodwork and it remained all square at the break.

In an entertaining second-half, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock as Kacaniklic opened the scoring in the 55th minute.

The influential Scott Parker found him with a slide rule pass and the Fulham winger made no mistake as he poked the ball beyond Federici.

It was harsh on Reading and they had to dig in to ensure they didn't fall further behind as a buoyant Fulham looked to double their lead.

They were just inches away in the 60th minute as McCormack's free-kick was just an inch the other side of Federici's post as the Reading keeper watched on.

But Reading are made of stern stuff under Clarke and so it showed as they drew level in the 63rd minute.

Norwood's corner was hung up and Pogrebnyak outmuscled his marker to fire a header past Bettinelli in the Fulham goal.

From there on it was all Reading but they couldn't find a third goal despite their dominance in the closing stages.

Cox had a goal rightly ruled out for offside and numerous corners came to nothing as Reading tried everything to grab the vital third goal.

And in a cruel twist of fate, it was Fulham who struck late to steal all three points and jump above Reading in the table.

McCormack's cross from wide right was headed back into the six-yard box by Cauley Woodrow and Ruiz was all alone to nod into an empty net.

Reading Adam Federici; Chris Gunter, Alex Pearce, Michael Hector, Jordan Obita; Garath McCleary, Danny Williams, Oliver Norwood, Hal Robson-Kanu; Simon Cox (Jamie Mackie '84), Pavel Pogrebnyak (Nick Blackman '84).
Subs not used: Mikkel Andersen; Stephen Kelly, Jake Cooper; Jem Karacan, Danny Guthrie

Fulham Marcus Bettinelli; Jack Grimmer, Shaun Hutchinson, Nikolay Bodurov, Konstantinos Stafylidis; Seko Fofana, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Scott Parker, Alexander Kacaniklic (Bryan Ruiz '78); Ross McCormack, Hugo Rodallega (Cauley Woodrow '74)
Subs: Gabor Kiraly; Dan Burn, Patrick Roberts, George Williams, Moussa Dembele.

Attendance :17,831

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