Premier League - Le Fondre brace gives Reading first win

Premier League, Madejski Stadium - Reading 2 (Le Fondre 51, pen 79) Everton 1 (Naismith 10)

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Reading's Adam Le Fondre celebrates his goal (PA)

An Adam Le Fondre brace saw Reading come from a goal down to beat Everton 2-1 at the Madejski Stadium and claim a first Premier League victory of the season.

In a game of two halves, Everton went in at the break 1-0 up through Steven Naismith but should have had two penalties and scored many more.

Reading emerged a stronger unit in the second period and a brace from Le Fondre - the second of them a penalty won by the striker - gave them their first win in their 11th match.

The Royals climb out of the relegation zone after Manchester City beat Aston Villa 5-0 while Everton miss a golden chance to close the gap to third-placed Chelsea, who lost at West Brom. The Baggies have now moved above the Merseyside club into fourth.

As early as the second minute Toffees defender Phil Jagielka forced a point-blank save from Adam Federici. When the ball was crossed back in by Seamus Coleman, Nikica Jelavic was left all alone at the far post but fired his volley into the ground and over the bar.

The Royals' defence was appalling in the first period. Latvia centre-half Kaspars Gorkss was especially poor, often tackling with his wrong foot, and he was culpable for the opening goal on 10 minutes.

A comedy of errors saw right-back Chris Gunter inexplicably volley a loose ball sky-high so it dropped into the Reading box. His centre-half failed to clear with his head and Marouane Fellaini was allowed to get on the end of it, although he could not control. The ball ran free in the box and Naismith arrived to smash home from close range.

Reading could have been level within a minute as a rush of blood from Tim Howard allowed Le Fondre to take the ball past him outside the box. However the striker, looking to lift his shot over a backtracking defender, also sent it wide of the near post.

Everton were first denied a penalty in the 17th minute when Gorkss, tackling with his right leg on the left side of defence, slid in and took the leg of Naismith. The linesman had a perfect view, but neither he nor Martin Atkinson deemed it worthy of a spot-kick.

Moments later the fans became even more restless as Gunter dallied on the ball, allowing Jelavic to pick his pocket with Steven Pienaar then firing wide from a promising position.

Gorkss was again exposed when he followed a weak header clear, straight to Naismith, by looking to spring the offside trap. He played Leon Osman onside, and the new England international should have scored when Federici deflected his strike over the bar from inside the box.

Gorkss did well to hook a dangerous Leighton Baines cross away right in front of Federici, but Jelavic was on the penalty spot to chest and volley. His effort was goal-bound and blocked by the hand of Sean Morrison, but again Atkinson waved away the penalty appeals.

There was time before the break for Jay Tabb to clear off the line after Jagielka headed a corner down towards the bottom corner. Everton really should have had more to show for their craft and domination of the football.

The second half was relentless. As in the first, the opening minutes saw the action swing from end to end, but with Reading suddenly the more enterprising side.

They were rewarded in the 51st minute with an equaliser they could have scarcely hoped for prior to the break. Nicky Shorey delivered one of a multitude of dangerous crosses from a free-kick and Le Fondre rose to head into the corner with Howard left standing.

Jelavic almost got in behind on the hour mark, denied by a sliding tackle from Morrison as he entered the box, before Johnny Heitinga put in a similarly last-ditch challenge to deny Reading at the other end.

As Everton pressed, Reading countered through Jason Roberts who played Le Fondre through. Coleman backtracked to deny the former Rotherham man as he bore down on goal.

Everton immediately attacked, with the industrious Naismith almost played in following an excellent team move. If the Premier League relishes its reputation for fast-paced, exciting football, then this was a great advert for it.

On 78 minutes Le Fondre controlled a ball into the box on his chest and Coleman floored him by jumping into his back. It was a certain penalty, but Fellaini made the point that so were those denied to Everton in the first half - and was booked for his trouble.

Le Fondre rolled it in to set the home fans celebrating - and then the nervous countdown for that first win began.

Barely a minute after the goal it was almost snatched away when Fellaini headed a corner downwards and against the inside of the post, with Federici grateful to catch the ball in the centre of his goal.

More half-chances would follow for both sides, but David Moyes was left fuming while Brian McDermott breathed a sigh of relief as the pressure on him eased a little.


Adam Le Fondre: Scored a vital brace, while earning his game-winning penalty himself, for a desperate Reading.


READING: Federici 8, Gunter 4, Morrison 7, Gorkss 4, Shorey 7, McAnuff 6, Leigertwood 6, Tabb 6, Robson-Kanu 7, Le Fondre 8, Roberts 7. Subs: Hunt 6

EVERTON: Howard 5, Baines 7, Jagielka 6, Heitinga 6, Coleman 5, Pienaar 7, Hitzlsperger 6, Fellaini 7, Osman 7, Naismith 7, Jelavic 7. Subs: Oviedo 6, Vellios 6


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