Date: 29th December 2013 at 5:01pm
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Reading fell to a third consecutive defeat after a gutless performance against Middlesbrough, which sees the Royals drop down to ninth place.

Nigel Adkins made two changes to the side that lost to Leicester three days ago, with one being enforced as Royston Drenthe missed out to be personal reason, with Garath McCleary replacing him and Billy Sharp coming in for Nick Blackman. It was a fairly even start at the Riverside, with both sides trying to use the wings to their advantage.

An early goal against Leicester on Boxing Day ended up being the winner and could have been on their way to suffering the same fate, as the home side took the lead on 12 minutes. Ledesma`s deep cross into the box wasn`t cleared well enough and the ball was played back for Albert Adomah to strike a sublimely-struck volley past Alex McCarthy from 15-yards.

A response was non-existent from Reading, who looked deprived of confidence. Boro had a good chance to double their lead, as Ledesma`s free kick was parried away well by McCarthy and Jutkiewicz`s follow up was put wide. McAnuff did nearly bring the scores level though, as his effort was saved by Given and hacked away before it could trickle into the empty net.

Ledesma was causing problems on the right wing and came within inches of adding to his season`s tally of two goals, firing a long-ranger just over the bar from 25-yards. McCarthy was called into action again, something which has been said far too often this season, this time to deny Marvin Emnes as he denied his goalbound effort before his defenders did the rest.

This pressure was to lead to a second goal for Boro though and it was another superb piece of quality. Midfielder Grant Leadbitter picked the ball up around 30-yards out and struck an effort, which whistled into the top corner, giving McCarthy absolutely no chance. Reading had decent possession, but did absolutely nothing with it.

Emnes could have added a third just before half time, as Boro broke forward, but the Dutchman scuffed his effort. It was a gutless, passionless and awful performance from Reading, who were being completely outplayed the hosts. Something needed to change in the second half, and the only change was going down to ten men, as Gorkss received a second yellow card early on.

The second half was strived of chances, with Reading keep good possession of the ball but showing no threat infront of goal whatsoever, with being down to ten men certainly not helping the situation. It was very boring half until ten minutes to go, as Boro earned a penalty, as Ledesma was brought down in the area by Alex Pearce.

Midfielder Grant Leadbitter stepped up to send Alex McCarthy the wrong way and compile Reading`s miserable day up north. Danny Williams attempted to reduce the deficit with a long-range effort, but Given denied the USA international with a good save. The final whistle sounded salvation in what was an absolutely rubbish showing from Reading.

Middlesbrough – 4-2-3-1: Given, Friend, Gibson, Ayala, Varga, Whitehead, Leadbitter, Ledesma, Emnes, Adomah, Jutkiewicz
Subs: Konstantopoulos, Williams, Butterfield, Main, Hines, Smallwood, Carayol

Reading – 4-4-2: McCarthy, Gunter, Gorkss, Pearce, Cummings, McCleary, Williams, Guthrie, McAnuff (c), Sharp, Pogrebnyak
Subs: Federici, Kelly, Akpan, J Taylor, Robson-Kanu, Blackman, Le Fondre