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Middlesbrough 2-1 Reading FC: Instant Report

Simon Cox scored for the first time in 16 months, but Reading concede in the dying seconds to lose 2-1 at Middlesbrough, who go top of the Championship.

Brian McDermott made one change from Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Birmingham as Matej Vydra replaced Yann Kermorgant, but once again the Royals conceded early on in the game. With 10 minutes on the clock, George Friend's cross found Jordan Rhodes whose effort was superbly saved by Ali Al-Habsi, but the Omani international could do nothing to keep out Emilio Nsue who stabbed in the rebound.

Middlesbrough continued to dominate the first half, and the only event of note for Reading was a worrying injury for Chris Gunter, who was replaced by make shift right-back Garath McCleary with the game just 18 minutes old. Al-Habsi kept Reading in the game, denying good strikes from Downing, Adomah and Friend.

So the visitors were lucky to go into the break only 1-0 down, but came out for the second half with a lot more intent to get an equaliser. Then this happened.

For the first time since 28th December 2014, Simon Cox scored a goal. Yes, this is not a drill. After substitute Andrew Taylor's shot was saved by Dimi Konstantopoulos, Cox calmly chipped into the back of net as if he'd been banging in the goals for the entire season.

Not that it did much to inspire Reading to find a winner, mind.

Al-Habsi was once again the Royals hero, as he kept out Downing, Gibson, Rhodes and Nugent as Middlesbrough ramped up the pressure. When you're fighting for automatic promotion, you can't afford to be dropping points at home to a side in 14th, and just as it looked as though they were going to do just that, there was heartbreak for Reading.

After Vydra had a chance to take all three points for Reading in injury time but blasted over the bar from inside the box, Adam Clayton was Boro's hero that sent the Riverside mental as he forced the ball over the line following a goalmouth scramble in the 94th minute.

Huge credit must go to the 148 fans who made the trip to Teeside, and surely seeing 'one of our own' finally break his goal drought was reward enough? Right?

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, de Laet, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, Clayton, Leadbitter (Forshaw 59'), Nsue (Ramirez 67'), Downing, Adomah, Rhodes (Nugent 87')

Reading: Al-Habsi, Gunter (McCleary 18'), McShane, Cooper, Obita (Taylor 45'), Norwood, Williams, Piazon (John 59'), Vydra, Quinn, Cox

Stay tuned to The Tilehurst End in the coming days for a full report and ratings - if we can find one of the hardy souls who made the trip!