Doncaster 1-3 Reading: Late Pogrebnyak Brace Strengthens Royals’ Play Off Hopes

Ben Hoskins

After the Royals’ redeemed themselves at the Mad Stad in midweek after a much needed win against Middlesbrough, they travelled up to Yorkshire to face Doncaster who were in their own battle at the other end of the table. However, two late goals from Pavel Pogrebnyak ensured that all three points came back to Berkshire and Reading’s play off dreams were kept alive.

Doncaster: Johnstone, Tamas (McCombe, 89), Stevens, Furman (Wellens, 69), Quinn, Meite, Coppinger, Keegan, Sharp (Robinson, 86), Brown, Cotterill

Goal: Coppinger, 25

Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Morrison, Obita, McCleary (Hector, 90+2), Leigertwood, Akpan (Taylor, 76), McAnuff, Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre (Gorkss, 90)

Goals: Le Fondre (pen), 63, Pogrebnyak, 86, 90+5

Before I start the match report, I think a massive thanks to Doncaster Rovers must be said. They were easily the most welcoming club for away supporters this season, possibly the most welcoming of all the grounds I've ever visited. Not only had they made an effort in the concourse with various Reading posters, they had made the effort to research Reading's history and do a five minute presentation before the game. Okay, it felt at times a bit like the pitchside announcer was like a lecturer talking to a group of students at university, but it was something I'd never seen before. And finally, the stewards were fantastic throughout, especially considering there were hundreds of various inflatables flying around the away end. So yeah, thanks Doncaster for making it a cracking away day!

The pre match atmosphere was great, and the game got off to a lively start. Doncaster had the better starts of the two teams, looking threatening on the attack and as though they were going to end their five match run of defeats. This looked even more likely in the 25th minute when Billy Sharp found James Coppinger unmarked to fire home in front of the 1000 strong away following. Coppinger returned the favour for Sharp quite soon afterwards, but a great save from Alex McCarthy stopped Rovers from doubling their advantage. It was an all too familiar feeling when the first half finished, as Reading had failed to manage a shot on target.

The game was certainly a ‘game of two halves', and the Royals looked livelier at the start of the second half. With continual pressure, their efforts were rewarded when Adam le Fondre won a penalty after a foul by Paul Quinn. Le Fondre stepped up to score the penalty; his 15th goal of the season. Le Fondre then had a glorious chance to put Reading in front, but hit the ball over from 8 yards out.

However, in the 86th minute, a great cross from Jake Taylor found Pavel Pogrebnyak at the far post for him to header home. The Royals finished off their win in the 95th minute, when Alex Pearce found himself making a cheeky run from midfield, then defying all odds and completing a successful step over before passing it to Pogrebnyak for him to score his second of the game. Reading kept up their clinical finishing; three shots on target, three goals.

The win at the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday was a good way to round off a decent season on the road for the Royals, with 37 points from our current total of 70 coming on the road. It's without a shadow of a doubt that our away record has kept us in the race for the play offs for so long. If all goes well on Saturday, hopefully I'll have one more of these to write this season!

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