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Wednesday, 21 March 2018
THIRD-PLACED Reading inflicted an eighth defeat in 10 Championship games on Norwich as they try and keep up with the top two.
Yann Kermorgant headed the Royals in front but was cancelled out after the break by Nelson Oliveira’s strike.
But with the Canaries on top, Jonny Howson saw red after he handled the ball on the line.
Kermorgant’s spot-kick was denied by the bar but Garath McCleary scored the rebound while substitute Callum Harriott sealed the win with a well-taken strike via a post in injury time.
It was manager Jaap Stam’s seventh win in nine games and moves his side up to within six points of Newcastle in second.
The Dutchman praised his side, saying: “I like to have patience when we have the ball a lot. You don’t want to rush things in terms of creating chances.
“Norwich started the game aggressively in going forward, sometimes pressing us one-versus-one all over the pitch.
“We didn’t create a lot of chances in the first half and we knew Norwich would press us even more in the second half.
“But after the sending-off and the penalty, it meant that the spaces would open up even more and they did when we scored the third.”
After the game, Stam was forced to defend his captain, Paul McShane, amid criticism from Norwich boss Alex Neil.
Canaries midfielder Graham Dorrans was forced off with a knee problem after McShane hit a free kick at him from point blank range after he appeared to stop it from being taken quickly.
Neil labeled the action as “absolutely bizarre”, adding: “The fact the referee thought it was okay that the ball was at Graham’s feet and Paul McShane nearly took his knee off I think is ridiculous.”
But Stam said he didn’t see the incident clearly and that McShane didn’t mean any harm.
“It all happened very quick,” he said. “I think he was trying to have his foot on the ball when Macca was wanting to take a quick free kick. So Macca was taking it and he (Dorrans) put his foot on the ball and they had a collision. I don’t think Macca is the type of player who would purposely hit a player on the legs.”
Reading host Fulham tonight (Friday) at the Madejski Stadium with the visitors also hitting a rich vein of form.
The Cottagers are fresh off the back of a 2-0 victory over Ipswich on Boxing Day and are edging closer to the play-off places having suffered only one defeat in nine matches.
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