Reading 3-1 Blackpool

Reading consolidated their promotion bid with a victory that keeps them five points behind leaders Southampton and four clear of third-placed West Ham.

The Royals went ahead when Ian Harte followed up after Jobi McAnuff twice hit the woodwork, doubling their lead when Alex Pearce headed home.

Lomana LuaLua pulled a goal back for Blackpool just before the break with a stunning strike from long range.

But Mikele Leigertwood nodded in Reading's third from a Harte cross.

Brian McDermott's side lost for the first time in 10 matches but were evidently in the mood to get back to winning ways.

Noel Hunt had already gone close when Leigertwood chested the ball into the path of McAnuff, the Royals skipper's effort struck both posts and Harte was on hand to slot home.

Pearce then met McAnuff's delicate far-post cross with a superb header back over Matt Gilks and into the far corner.

Blackpool were handed a lifeline when LuaLua collected possession 30 yards from goal before producing a blistering finish to beat Adam Federici.

Kevin Phillips threatened an equaliser with a header before Leigertwood rose unmarked in the area to head home Harte's free-kick.

Reading manager Brian McDermott: "Now I am really looking forward to the visit to West Ham.

"It's a mouth-watering game. Sam Allardyce is a great manager and Wally Downes is a friend of ours.

"Looking back over the last 32 games we have got something like 69 points so that would put us top of the league. At the start of the season it took us six games to get going."

Blackpool boss Ian Holloway: "I am not in a very good mood.

"This time of the year you have got to get all aspects of the game right and they did the main things better than us.

"We were a bunch of statues when they scored their goals, particularly the third one.

"I have had some under-10s defend set-pieces better than that.

"I am confident saying that we won't now get automatic promotion. We can't let goals in like that and be happy."

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