Date: 10th December 2011 at 6:40pm
Written by:

Two goals from striker Simon Church gave Reading an emphatic 3-0 victory over promotion contenders West Ham at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon. The Hammers also had Joey O`Brien and Jack Collison sent off.

Brian McDermott decided to name two changes to the line-up that lost to Blackpool last week, with Welsh duo Hal Robson-Kanu and Simon Church dropping out for Noel Hunt and returning skipper Jobi McAnuff, who served a one-game suspension.

The game started on a sour note as Hammers right back Guy Demel had to be stretched off through an injury picked up to his leg. The closest we came to a goal in the opening exchanges was from the hosts, as Le Fondre drove away and fired a dangerous ball in, which Green gathered with Hunt charging in.

West Ham failed to find a way into the game as the Royals continued to press the Hammers defence. England international keeper Green dangerously came out of this goal and left an opportunistic gap, which Kebe failed to pounce on as he fired way wide of goal.

Sam Allardyce`s side only started to get into the game after the 30 minute mark, with Nolan and Piquionne efforts the only shots of noting. The crossing from both sides was particularly poor, with a late Karacan chance ending a relatively dire half.

The second half started in frantic fashion as Jimmy Kebe looked like the only source of a goal for the Royals, who was hacked down by George McCarthy to earn the Irishman a booking early on in the half. However, the chance of the game fell to Noel Hunt on 55 minutes as he drove through but could only find the gloves of Rob Green.

Then was to come the games turning moment on 65 minutes as Hammers substitute Joey O`Brien was given his marching orders after picking up a second booking, as he hacked down Jobi McAnuff on the left.

Reading`s record against 10 men hasn`t been the best in recent years but the extra man advantage had an immediate impact as Adam Le Fondre ran in from the left and pulled back for defender Alex Pearce to give the Royals a fairly deserved lead at the Madejski.

The goal put Brian McDermott`s men firmly in the ascendency, with substitute Simon Church very close to doubling the lead but his effort trickled past the post. Gaps were appearing everywhere in the Hammers defence, with Le Fondre almost feeding through Church on 75 minutes.

Ian Harte then came very close from a McAnuff corner before the home side should have put the game beyond doubt. Good work from Kebe down the right put in Le Fondre who cleverly chipped over Green but waiting was birthday boy Simon Church to make sure of the second goal.

Somehow the Hammers were to find themselves down to nine men as Collison was shown a straight red this time as he rose his arms to Kebe, after the Malian made a certain ‘sock` gesture seconds before. The West Ham were disgusted with Kebe`s antics

From the resulting free kick, Ian Harte whipped in a great ball which was nodded home by Simon Church for his second and to put the Royals fans into dreamland. The two man advantage was truly paying off as the home side continued to control the play.

Overall, it was a fantastic performance from Brian McDermott and his team on his 100th professional game as manager.

Reading: Federici, Cummings, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte, Kebe, Leigertwood, Karacan, McAnuff ©, Hunt, Le Fondre

Subs: Andersen, Tabb, Antonio, Robson-Kanu, Church

West Ham: Green, Demel, Tomkins, Faye, McCartney, Faubert, Diop, Noble, Collison, Nolan ©, Piquionne

Subs: Stech, O`Brien, Sears, Carew, Cole