Reading 1-2 Aston Villa
Aston Villa breathed new life into their Premier League survival bid, coming from behind at Reading to snatch only their second league win of 2013.
Gabriel Agbonlahor's thunderous volley on half-time lifts Paul Lambert's side three points clear of the bottom three, with nine league games remaining.
Reading had snatched the lead after 31 minutes when Villa defender Nathan Baker sliced beyond his own goalkeeper.
Christian Benteke hit back immediately, before Agbonlahor won it for Villa.
This was a crucial result for Villa, whose last away win came on 15 December at Anfield and who had won just one of their previous 11 matches.
But, having won this encounter, forthcoming home matches against Queens Park Rangers and Liverpool can be viewed with renewed hope.
For Reading, the outlook is altogether more bleak.
This was a fourth consecutive league defeat for Brian McDermott's side and at the final whistle the frustration was evident among the home support.
The tension, on both sides, was apparent from the off as shots flew wide and passes went astray.
Andreas Weimann had the best of the early opportunities, only to shoot wide with the goal at his mercy, while Adam Le Fondre might have done better for Reading with a header at the back post.
The game burst into life shortly after the half-hour mark with two goals in a breathless 60-second period.
Reading struck first, snatching the lead when the unfortunate Baker turned Jobi McAnuff's low cross into his own net but Benteke struck back immediately for Villa, his deflected shot beating goalkeeper Stuart Taylor after a delightful surge down the right by Weimann.
It was a moment that robbed the home faithful of their chance to celebrate and brought belief flooding back to Villa.
And as half-time approached, the visitors' growing confidence produced another goal.
Agbonlahor gathered Taylor's half-hearted clearance and unleashed an unstoppable left-footed shot that flashed into the goal from eight yards after Barry Bannan had diverted a shot onto the post.
The goal stunned Reading, who left the field to boos from their own supporters, but McDermott's side never go down without a fight.
They had the ball in the net just before the hour mark - Noel Hunt turning McAnuff's low cross into the net only for the linesman to flag for offside - and continued to push hard.
No Premier League team has conceded more in the second half of games than Villa - while Reading have scored more Premier League goals in the final 15 minutes than any other side.
The home side went close through Hal Robson-Kanu, whose left-foot shot fizzed narrowly wide, before Le Fondre failed to make the most of a chance to head at goal.
McDermott threw on substitutes Garath McCleary and Nick Blackman and Reading created two clear chances for Robson-Kanu. He side-footed the first wide from the penalty spot after controlling the ball on his chest and then headed straight at Guzan when perfectly picked out by McAnuff's cross.
Blackman also went down in the area late on to spark penalty appeals from the Royals manager, while Agbonlahor might have wrapped up the points for Villa with a curled effort that drifted just wide.
- 41 Taylor
- 05 Pearce
- 06 Mariappa
- 23 Harte
- 27 Kelly
- 08 Leigertwood (Guthrie - 81' )
- 11 McAnuff Booked
- 19 Robson-Kanu
- 28 Akpan (McCleary - 56' )
- 09 Le Fondre
- 10 Hunt Booked (Blackman - 56' )
- 42 Henly
- 03 Shorey
- 15 Morrison
- 04 Karacan
- 20 Guthrie
- 12 McCleary
- 30 Blackman
- 22 Guzan
- 04 Vlaar
- 06 Clark
- 32 Baker (Bennett - 79' )
- 34 Lowton Booked
- 15 Westwood Booked
- 18 Sylla
- 25 Bannan (N'Zogbia - 71' )
- 11 Agbonlahor
- 20 Benteke Booked
- 26 Weimann
- 01 Given
- 27 Bennett
- 10 N'Zogbia
- 24 Dawkins
- 40 Carruthers
- 14 Holman
- 21 Bowery
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee blows for the end of the match.90:00 +1:05
Foul by Ashley Westwood on Jobi McAnuff, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Danny Guthrie.88:42
A cross is delivered by Nick Blackman, Adam Le Fondre takes a shot.86:58
Charles N'Zogbia shoots direct from the free kick.86:58 Booking
Booking Jobi McAnuff goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.86:52
Jobi McAnuff challenges Andreas Weimann unfairly and gives away a free kick.86:10
Christian Benteke takes a shot. Save by Stuart Taylor.85:34
Hal Robson-Kanu produces a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that goes wide left of the target.84:50
Stephen Kelly takes the free kick.84:50 Booking
Booking Ashley Westwood receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.84:14
Free kick awarded for a foul by Joe Bennett on Hal Robson-Kanu.83:07
Hal Robson-Kanu challenges Ashley Westwood unfairly and gives away a free kick. Ciaran Clark takes the free kick.82:21
Charles N'Zogbia takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the crossbar.82:00
A cross is delivered by Garath McCleary, clearance made by Ciaran Clark.81:54
The ball is sent over by Hal Robson-Kanu.80:57
Nick Blackman sends in a cross, Matthew Lowton manages to make a clearance.80:08
Adrian Mariappa restarts play with the free kick.80:08 Substitution
Substitution Mikele Leigertwood goes off and Danny Guthrie comes on.80:08
Andreas Weimann is caught offside.78:54 Substitution
Substitution Nathan Baker goes off and Joe Bennett comes on.
Jobi McAnuff sends in a cross, save by Bradley Guzan.76:59
Ian Harte produces a cross, Bradley Guzan makes a comfortable save.76:31
Corner taken left-footed by Ian Harte from the left by-line, clearance by Nathan Baker.75:48
Gabriel Agbonlahor has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the goal.74:28
Nick Blackman has an effort at goal from 30 yards. Save made by Bradley Guzan.72:08
Charles N'Zogbia sends in a cross, Alex Pearce makes a clearance.71:42
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Charles N'Zogbia by Nick Blackman. Direct free kick taken by Ashley Westwood.71:26
Charles N'Zogbia has a drilled shot. Blocked by Adrian Mariappa.70:04 Substitution
Substitution Charles N'Zogbia comes on in place of Barry Bannan.69:42
Hal Robson-Kanu sends in a cross.69:10
Stephen Kelly delivers the ball, clearance by Ashley Westwood. A cross is delivered by Hal Robson-Kanu, Ciaran Clark makes a clearance.68:09
A cross is delivered by Garath McCleary, Nick Blackman takes a shot. Save by Bradley Guzan.67:46
Stephen Kelly delivers the ball, Matthew Lowton manages to make a clearance.66:46
Stuart Taylor takes the direct free kick.66:46 Booking
Booking Christian Benteke shown a yellow card.66:38
Foul by Christian Benteke on Adrian Mariappa, free kick awarded.65:59
Andreas Weimann has an effort at goal. Save by Stuart Taylor.64:45
The ball is swung over by Stephen Kelly, Hal Robson-Kanu produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.62:43
Garath McCleary has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.58:20
Andreas Weimann takes a shot. Blocked by Stephen Kelly.57:27
Yacouba Sylla produces a right-footed shot from long range that goes harmlessly over the bar.55:41
Nathan Baker fouled by Nick Blackman, the ref awards a free kick. Ciaran Clark takes the free kick.55:06 Substitution
Substitution Noel Hunt goes off and Nick Blackman comes on.55:06 Substitution
Substitution Garath McCleary is brought on as a substitute for Hope Akpan.53:48
Bradley Guzan restarts play with the free kick.53:48 Booking
Booking Booking for Noel Hunt for dissent.53:47
Noel Hunt is caught offside.52:36
Shot from just outside the box by Yacouba Sylla goes over the crossbar.49:19
Outswinging corner taken by Ashley Westwood from the right by-line, Header by Nathan Baker from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the target.48:59
Christian Benteke has a curled shot. Alex Pearce gets a block in.45:01
The referee gets the second half started.45:00 +1:53 Half time
Half Time The referee blows for half time.45:00 +0:02
Barry Bannan produces a drilled left-footed shot from the edge of the area and hits the post.44:57
Assist on the goal came from Barry Bannan.44:57 Goal scored
Goal! - Gabriel Agbonlahor - Reading 1 - 2 A Villa Gabriel Agbonlahor finds the net with a goal from just outside the area to the top left corner of the goal. Reading 1-2 Aston Villa.44:51
The ball is crossed by Andreas Weimann.42:31
Nathan Baker sends in a cross, clearance made by Ian Harte. Barry Bannan has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area missing to the wide left of the goal.41:09
Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Ian Harte.40:48
Ian Harte takes a shot. Save by Bradley Guzan.36:14
Christian Benteke fouled by Hal Robson-Kanu, the ref awards a free kick. Barry Bannan takes the direct free kick.35:49
The ball is crossed by Jobi McAnuff.33:13
The ball is sent over by Andreas Weimann,32:53
The assist for the goal came from Andreas Weimann.32:53 Goal scored
Goal! - Christian Benteke - Reading 1 - 1 A Villa Goal scored by Christian Benteke from inside the penalty box low into the middle of the goal. Reading 1-1 Aston Villa.31:08
The assist for the goal came from Hope Akpan.31:08 Goal scored
Goal! - Nathan Baker - Reading 1 - 0 A Villa Nathan Baker puts the ball into his own goal from 12 yards. Reading 1-0 Aston Villa.31:08
The ball is delivered by Jobi McAnuff. Hope Akpan takes a shot.31:00
Centre by Ian Harte.29:32
The ball is sent over by Jobi McAnuff, save by Bradley Guzan.29:05
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Jobi McAnuff played to the near post, clearance made by Matthew Lowton.26:16
Effort from the edge of the box by Andreas Weimann goes wide of the right-hand upright.25:05
Unfair challenge on Jobi McAnuff by Yacouba Sylla results in a free kick. Ian Harte takes the direct free kick.22:47
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Barry Bannan by Stephen Kelly. Free kick crossed right-footed by Ashley Westwood, save made by Stuart Taylor.21:27
Gabriel Agbonlahor crosses the ball.18:56
Hal Robson-Kanu has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box which goes wide right of the target.17:12
Alex Pearce challenges Christian Benteke unfairly and gives away a free kick. Barry Bannan crosses the ball in from the free kick.14:54
The offside flag is raised against Noel Hunt. Direct free kick taken by Ron Vlaar.14:06
Corner taken by Ian Harte from the right by-line, comfortable save by Bradley Guzan.13:52
Hal Robson-Kanu sends in a cross, Ciaran Clark makes a clearance.12:16
Andreas Weimann delivers the ball.11:40
The ball is crossed by Noel Hunt, save made by Bradley Guzan.11:18
Nathan Baker crosses the ball, Christian Benteke takes a shot.9:37
The free kick is swung in right-footed by Jobi McAnuff, save made by Bradley Guzan.9:37 Booking
Booking Matthew Lowton is shown a yellow card.9:26
Matthew Lowton gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jobi McAnuff.7:55
Barry Bannan fouled by Hope Akpan, the ref awards a free kick. Ashley Westwood delivers the ball, Ciaran Clark produces a header from inside the area that goes over the bar.6:43
Free kick awarded for a foul by Nathan Baker on Hal Robson-Kanu. Direct free kick taken by Stephen Kelly.2:45
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Ian Harte from the right by-line, clearance by Ron Vlaar.2:33
The ball is crossed by Adam Le Fondre.2:13
Matthew Lowton sends in a cross, Alex Pearce makes a clearance.1:43
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Jobi McAnuff, save by Bradley Guzan.1:18
The ball is sent over by Hal Robson-Kanu, Adam Le Fondre takes a shot. Save made by Bradley Guzan.0:48
Christian Benteke gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Adrian Mariappa. Mikele Leigertwood takes the direct free kick.0:00
The game begins.
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