Tag Archives: mikele

Reading"s Garath McCleary making most of his big break after netting first Premier League goal against Fulham

McCleary making most of his big break after netting first Premier League goal against Fulham

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 28 October 2012

Garath McCleary is not a name many would have heard of until the Reading winger scored his first Premier League goal against Fulham.

But his could so easily have been a name no one had ever heard of. Six years ago the 25-year-old suffered a broken leg and almost decided to quit football and go to university.

Making his point: Garath McCleary (left) is grabbed by Mikele Leigertwood and Jason Roberts

Making his point: Garath McCleary (left) is grabbed by Mikele Leigertwood and Jason Roberts

Playing so much as a teenager meant he
developed a stress fracture and he thought his dream career was over.

But former club Bromley helped him, and he was then picked up by
Nottingham Forest four seasons ago.

He agreed a three-year deal at Reading in the summer, and came off the bench to score their second in Saturday’s 3-3 draw at home to Fulham.

McCleary said: ‘I was really close to packing it in. I was 19 and at Bromley. It was only down to them I recovered. I’m just so glad that people persuaded me not to give up and I continued to follow my dream.’

Hal Robson-Kanu’s last-minute goal clinched a point for Reading. Mikele Leigertwood’s drive gave the Royals a half-time lead, but Fulham fought back through Bryan Ruiz and Chris Baird before McCleary levelled.

Dimitar Berbatov looked to have snatched the win for Fulham, but Robson-Kanu poked home.

Reading promoted: Brian McDermott celebrates Premier League return

A right Royal knees-up! Promotion delight at last for Reading and boss McDermott

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UPDATED:

00:02 GMT, 18 April 2012

A jubilant Brian McDermott celebrated his 'best moment in football' as his Reading side sealed promotion to the Barclays Premier League with a 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest.

A Mikele Leigertwood goal 10 minutes from time earned Reading a return ticket to the big time four years after they were relegated.

There was still time after Leigertwood's goal for Forest substitute Marcus Tudgay to see a possible equaliser cleared from the goal line by Reading defender Alex Pearce, but they hung on for a win which, combined with West Ham's draw at Bristol City, ensures them a top-two finish.

Party time! (left-right) Reading striker Noel Hunt, chairman Sir John Madejski, manager Brian McDermott and new owner Anton Zingarevich celebrate at the Madejski Stadium

Party time! (left-right) Reading striker Noel Hunt, chairman Sir John Madejski, manager Brian McDermott and new owner Anton Zingarevich celebrate at the Madejski Stadium

They sit three points clear of Southampton with two games left to play in the title race.

The final whistle sparked a mass pitch invasion by delighted home fans and then an appearance in the directors' box by the Reading players.

Reading 1 Nottingham Forest 0

Click here to read the full match report

There was also some joy for Forest who, despite their defeat, are guaranteed survival in the npower Championship thanks to results elsewhere.

McDermott said: 'This is my best moment in football. My worst was on the pitch at Wembley on May 30 (last year's play-off final defeat to Swansea).

Day to remember: Reading's Alex Pearce (third right) leads the celebrates from the directors' box

Day to remember: Reading's Alex Pearce (third right) leads the celebrates from the directors' box

'We are in the Premier League now and I can celebrate for the next two months. I need to get away for a while in the summer and have a break.

'Tonight was the most important three points we have got this season because it has seen us over the line.

'I don't know how I am supposed to be. I had the worst summer last season after losing the play-off final against Swansea but this will be a good summer.

'I didn't actually know the West Ham result until after our game had finished but I sensed it from the way the crowd was reacting.

Pitch invasion: Reading fans piled onto the playing surface after promotion was confirmed to the Premier League

Pitch invasion: Reading fans piled onto the playing surface after promotion was confirmed to the Premier League

Our hero: Match winner Mikele Leigertwood is carried through the crowd of supporters

Our hero: Match winner Mikele Leigertwood is carried through the crowd of supporters

'It's really strange. It doesn't seem real at the moment and it doesn't feel as if it is happening to me.

'Now I will simply concentrate on our next game at home to Crystal Palace because that's in my nature.

'I thought we were a bit nervous tonight and we weren't as fluid as we can be.'

McDermott praised Jason Roberts, saying: 'Jason has been crucial to us but we were doing well before he arrived.

Jump for joy: Leigertwood celebrates after scoring the goal that sent Reading up

Jump for joy: Leigertwood celebrates after scoring the goal that sent Reading up

'I have been lucky with my players and staff. They have carried me on. We have had difficult times and had to sell our best players but now it will be a good summer. The players will have tomorrow off but then it's back into training for the next game.'

Before Leigertwood scored the winner George Elokobi had come close to putting Forest in front with a shot that hit the Reading bar while at the other end Lee Camp made a superb save to keep out a Hayden Mullins effort. The win was Reading's first home victory over Forest in seven years.

You said it: A Reading fan holds a scarf celebrating his side's promotion back to the big time

You said it: A Reading fan holds a scarf celebrating his side's promotion back to the big time

Losing manager Steve Cotterill said afterwards: 'I don't think we deserved to lose. From seventy minutes onwards I thought we looked the better team and were going to win the game.

'It's a measure of how far we have come as a team in recent weeks is that we were on the road to (League) One and now after playing the top team in the league the lads are sitting in the dressing room disappointed that we didn't win the game.

Life of Brian: McDermott (centre) and his management staff revel in the part atmosphere

Life of Brian: McDermott (centre) and his management staff revel in the part atmosphere

'But congratulations to Brian McDermott and the Reading boys on their promotion. They deserve it.

'I watched Brian walk round the Wembley pitch after the play-off final and he looked so upset. I rang him the next day to try and cheer him up.

'He has the right sort of boys at this club so congratulations to him and to all of them on gaining a thoroughly deserved promotion.'

Sam Allardyce blames West Ham defeat to Reading on errors

Allardyce rues errors as West Ham lose ground to Reading in automatic promotion race

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UPDATED:

19:10 GMT, 31 March 2012

Sam Allardyce admitted West Ham only had themselves to blame after their promotion bid suffered a major blow with a 4-2 defeat by Reading.

The Hammers are now four points behind their opponents in second after throwing away the lead in astonishing fashion at the end of the first half at Upton Park.

Hammer blow: Sam Allardyce's (right) West Ham side crashed to a 4-2 defeat despite taking the lead against Reading

Hammer blow: Sam Allardyce's (right) West Ham side crashed to a 4-2 defeat despite taking the lead against Reading

Carlton Cole fired them ahead but the match, and possibly West Ham's entire campaign, turned in the space of two minutes.

Totally against the run of play, Kaspars Gorkss was left unmarked to equalise from Ian Harte's corner in the 44th minute.

And moments later Julien Faubert's challenge on Jason Roberts succeeded only in setting up Noel Hunt to fire Reading into an unlikely lead.

In the second half Ian Harte added a third from the penalty spot after Abdoulaye Faye tripped Hunt, and although Ricardo Vaz Te pulled one back, any hopes of a comeback were extinguished by Mikele Leigertwood's strike six minutes from time.

Headmaster: Reading's Kaspars Gorkass rises above the West Ham defence to nod Reading level

Headmaster: Reading's Kaspars Gorkass rises above the West Ham defence to nod Reading level

But the damage was done in that crazy end to the first half and Allardyce said: 'We shot ourselves in the foot. The corner we should have done better with, and then instead of clearing a simple ball we've kicked it straight to their man. That was a crushing blow.

'Then, instead of waiting to play our way back into the game, we shot ourselves in the foot again by giving away a stupid penalty.

'We gifted them three goals. We can't afford to make those errors and that's ultimately why we got beaten.'

West Ham now have just six games left to attempt to reel in Reading, and Allardyce admits they will probably need to win the lot to stand any chance of avoiding the play-offs.

'There are no more opportunities for us to take a point any more,' he added.

'To keep up with Reading we have to win six on the trot.'

Royals boss Brian McDermott could not celebrate too hard, as he is preparing to run the Reading half-marathon.

But McDermott is all too aware the Championship is a marathon, and not a sprint, as he refused to get carried away with what could be a huge victory.

'It's three points, that's all it is,' he said.

'It's never easy to go 1-0 down here but we stayed in the game, got ourselves a goal and to go in 2-1 up was massive.

'Then in the second half I felt we deserved to win. But I've been around this game a long time so I'm not cock-a-hoop yet.'

West Ham 2 Reading 4: Royal hammering has Irons looking at playoffs

West Ham 2 Reading 4: A right Royal hammering has Irons looking at playoffs

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UPDATED:

16:21 GMT, 31 March 2012

Reading took a giant stride towards promotion to the Barclays Premier League as West Ham imploded at Upton Park.

The Hammers, who had drawn their last
five home matches to slip out of the top two, were leading through
Carlton Cole's strike as half-time approached.

Not only that, Sam Allardyce's side
were also putting in comfortably their best performance in front of
their own fans this season.

On their knees: Noel Hunt celebrates Reading's second goal to leave West Ham on their knees

On their knees: Noel Hunt celebrates Reading's second goal to leave West Ham on their knees

MATCH FACTS

WEST HAM: Green, Faubert, Tomkins, Faye, McCartney, Nolan, Noble (Collins 46), O'Neil, Vaz Te, Cole (Maynard 72), Taylor (Baldock 60). Unused subs: Carew, Lansbury.

Goals: Cole 8, Vaz Te 77

Booked: Tomkins

READING: Federici, Cummings, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte, Kebe (Afobe 82), Karacan (Tabb 55, Robson-Kanu 67), Leigertwood, McAnuff, Hunt, Roberts. Unused subs: McCarthy, Church.

Goals: Gorkss 44, Hunt 45, Harte (pen 59), Leigertwood 84.

Booked: Roberts.

Referee: Chris Foy

But, the match, and possibly West Ham's entire campaign, turned in the space of two minutes.

Totally against the run of play, Kaspars Gorkss equalised from a corner in the 44th minute and then, in first-half stoppage time, Noel Hunt fired Reading into an unlikely lead.

In the second half Ian Harte added a third from the penalty spot and, although Ricardo Vaz Te pulled one back, any hopes of a comeback were extinguished by Mikele Leigertwood's disputed fourth six minutes from time.

After booing their recent bore draws, the West Ham fans at least got the entertainment they craved, but their side now appear destined for the play-offs.

Yet it had all looked so different after seven minutes when Cole fired the Hammers ahead.

Bubble's burst: Sam Alladyce looks on in frustraion

Bubble's burst: Sam Alladyce looks on in frustraion

Kevin Nolan's neat footwork sent Matt
Taylor away down the left and the United skipper arrived in the area to
meet the return ball with a firm downward header which hit the foot of
Adam Federici's post.

The ball fell to the feet of Cole who
took a touch before thumping it past the grounded Federici for his 10th
goal of the season, and his first in 10 games.

Reading should have equalised in the 23rd minute but Hunt's fierce drive from eight yards out was headed clear by James Tomkins.

However, the hosts seemed well in control and Vaz Te headed straight at Federici before firing over from close range.

On the slide: Mark Noble challenges Reading's Jobi McAnuff

On the slide: Mark Noble challenges Reading's Jobi McAnuff

But, instead of pushing home their
advantage, West Ham promptly fell to pieces by conceding a soft leveller
a minute before half-time.

Harte swung in a routine corner but defender Gorkss got in ahead of the flat-footed Nolan to head in at the near post.

And the hosts were stunned in
first-half stoppage time when Julien Faubert's challenge on Jason
Roberts served only to present the ball to Hunt, who made no mistake
with a low drive past Rob Green from 12 yards.

Things got worse for West Ham 12
minutes into the second half when Hunt tumbled over Abdoulaye Faye's
challenge in the area and referee Chris Foy pointed to the spot,
allowing Harte to step up and convert the penalty.

With 15 minutes left Vaz Te's towering header from Gary O'Neil's corner threatened a home fightback.

But instead Leigertwood rammed home
the fourth despite Hunt being well offside when the ball clipped his
heels and bounced to the midfielder.

West Ham's luck was well and truly out – and their hopes of automatic promotion have been severely dented.

Reading 3 Leicester 1: Mikele Leigertwood sets red-hot Royals on way to eighth win on spin

Reading 3 Leicester 1: Leigertwood sets red-hot Royals on way to eighth win on spin

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UPDATED:

17:36 GMT, 10 March 2012

Mikele Leigertwood's stunning early effort lit the touchpaper as Reading cruised to their eighth successive victory in the Championship.

Leigertwood thundered home a rasping drive from 20 yards out after 15 minutes to put the Royals in control, and the home side coasted through the opening period before Leicester came out fighting in the second half.

However, the visitors were unable to convert any of the several chances they created after the break and with quarter of an hour remaining Jason Roberts added a second for the hosts with a six-yard tap in.

Simon Church came off the bench to head a third late in the second period and, while Neil Danns clawed one back for the Foxes, it was far too little far too late as Reading moved level on points with second-placed West Ham.

On their way: Mikele Leigertwood gets the plaudits after his dazzling opener

On their way: Mikele Leigertwood gets the plaudits after his dazzling opener

Match facts

Reading: Federici, Cummings, Gorkss, Pearce, Harte, McAnuff, Leigertwood, Karacan, Robson-Kanu, Hunt, Roberts. Subs not used: Andersen, Tabb, Le Fondre, Church, Cywka.

Booked: Leigertwood.

Scorer: Leigertwood 15, Roberts 75, Church 89.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Peltier, Morgan, St Ledger, Kennedy (Bamba 46), Danns, Drinkwater (Gallagher 73), Wellens, Dyer, Nugent, Beckford (Howard 46). Subs not used: Marshall, Schlupp.

Booked: Howard.

Scorer: Danns 90.

Referee: Robert Madley.

Attendance: 21,858.

Reading started the match at a
canter, with Kasper Schmeichel in the Leicester goal saving from Noel
Hunt before Wes Morgan cleared off the line from Hal Robson-Kanu.

But the visiting Foxes could not hold out for long, and on the quarter hour mark Leigertwood fired the Royals in front.

Robson-Kanu picked out the midfielder
on the edge of the box at the end of a flowing Reading attack, and
Leigertwood produced a stunning rocket of an effort to find the top
right hand corner.

Leicester slowly found their feet,
David Nugent shot wide from 18 yards and Danns tested Adam Federici from
distance, but the away side struggled to open up their hosts.

Reading mixed a stubborn resilience
in defence with their uncanny knack to protect possession in midfield to
take their one goal advantage through until half-time, but the away
side started quickly after the break.

Lloyd Dyer's cross fell to the feet
of Danny Drinkwater on the edge of the penalty area, but Drinkwater
could not direct his effort on target before Nugent shot wide after
cutting in from the left.

Nugent headed Drinkwater's corner
wide after 54 minutes as the Foxes continued to pile pressure on their
hosts in pursuit of an equaliser.

After being second best for much of
the first period, Leicester looked dangerous and Federici had to be
alert to hold on to Danns' long-range effort.

However, Reading were always likely
to threaten on the counter, and the Royals thought they ought to have
been awarded a penalty when Roberts was felled in the box only for
referee Robert Madley to waves away their claims.

The home fans did not have to wait
long for another reason to cheer, though, as Reading doubled their
advantage after 75 minutes.

Hunt charged down right before taking
his time to find strike partner Roberts in the box and the former
Blackburn striker obliged with a clinical finish from six yards.

And Hunt was again the provider with a
minute left, searching out substitute Church to nod home and, although
Danns took some of the gloss off the performance with a consolation for
Leicester at the death, Reading's charge continues.