Reading: Al-Habsi, Gunter, McShane, Cooper, Obita; Norwood, Hector; Robson-Kanu, Quinn, John; Kermorgant
Subs: Bond, Rakels, McCleary, Ferdinand, Piazon, Williams, Cox.
Reading moved into the top half of the Championship with a hard earned victory over struggling Charlton in an enthralling game at The Valley.
The tone was set for what would become a breathless first half within the opening seven minutes, with both sides finding the back of the net. After his controversial statements about his former club's management this week, Yann Kermorgant continued to be a thorn in the side of his old employers, as he rose to meet Ola John's cross from the left hand side to head Reading in front in the fourth minute and register his first goal for the club. However the Royals' lead lasted just two minutes, as another Frenchman, Yaya Sanogo, broke his own duck for his new team with a right-footed effort from inside the box to draw Charlton level.
The Royals had plenty of opportunities to re-establish their lead as the half progressed, with Kermorgant going closest, as he saw his header from an Oliver Norwood corner cleared off the line by Charlton's Simon Makienok. However, the 34-year old did not have to wait much longer to double both the Royals' and his own personal tally for the afternoon, as he latched onto Hal Robson-Kanu's lovely through ball on 34 minutes, and beautifully curled an effort past Stephen Henderson in the Charlton goal. Just five minutes later, the Royals doubled their advantage as Kermorgant turned provider for Ola John, who was able to find the bottom left hand corner of the net from outside the box, giving the Royals a 3-1 lead going into the break.
As the teams reemerged for the second half, there was no change to the relentless pace of the game that had characterised the opening forty-five minutes. Ola John struck the Charlton woodwork on 47 minutes, before Kermorgant almost claimed his hat-trick as he went close with a well-taken half-volley from inside the box. However, it was the home side who were next to find the net, as Sanogo scored for the second time in the afternoon, with the linesman judging his header to have crossed the whole of the line before being cleared by the Royals' defence.
In an attempt to claim back their two goal advantage, Reading continued to press, with only a superb save from Henderson keeping out Robson-Kanu on the hour mark. Just four minutes later it was the turn of Ali Al Habsi to make a phenomenal save of his own, as he kept out the oncoming Zakaria Bergdich, who was looking to capitalise on a misunderstanding in the Royals' defence. Brian McDermott changed things with Danny Williams coming on for Oliver Norwood on sixty-four minutes and Gareth McCleary replacing goalscorer Ola John five minutes later. The American quickly picked up a booking for a foul, with Charlton's Icelandic midfielder Johann Berg Gudmundsson also having his name noted down in the referee's book for holding back Michael Hector.
Just as it looked as if the Royals had done enough to take all three points back to Berkshire, the impressive Sanogo was able to draw the home side level for the second time in the game in the eighty-fourth minute. Al-Habsi saved the striker's initial effort, but was unable to keep out his second stab at goal as he claimed both his hat-trick as well as a seemingly vital point for his struggling Charlton side. However, with one last roll of the dice, McDermott introduced January arrival Deniss Rakels, who was able to nod a beautifully weighted Jordan Obita free kick into the Charlton net and steal all three points for the visitors in the third minute of additional time.
We'll have a full report and player ratings up a little later this weekend so please check back for that later on.