Monday 23 October 2017

Hunt steps up for Reading

Reading began life without Shane Long in the best possible fashion as they beat Leicester 2-0 in the Championship.

Following the departure of the prolific Long to West Brom, more responsibility for goals rests on the shoulders of his Republic of Ireland team-mate Noel Hunt, and the Waterford man responded with the opener after 64 minutes, superbly glancing home Ian Harte's driven corner at the near post.

The Royals wrapped up all three points in the final minute through substitute Hal Robson-Kanu.

Fahey proves Blues' saviour

Keith Fahey grabbed the only goal of the game to see off midlands neighbours Coventry 1-0 and hand Birmingham boss Chris Hughton his first points in charge of the Championship club.

Hughton, making his competitive bow at St Andrew's, can be credited with the inspired introduction of Irish substitute Adam Rooney which led to the vital breakthrough.

The summer signing stepped off the bench in the 68th minute and wasted little time making a difference, heading against a post before reacting quickest to tee up the rebound for Fahey to smash home from 10 yards.

"I thought he came on and displayed a lot of energy and certainly changed the game for us," Hughton said of Rooney.

Connolly heads Saints winner

Southampton extended their club record run of consecutive league victories to eight with an impressive 1-0 win at Oakwell, the first time they have won their opening two league games for 23 years.

Veteran Irish striker David Connolly's close-range header on the half-hour mark was enough to secure victory for Nigel Adkins' men.

"David Connolly comes alive [in the penalty area], he is an intelligent player, he saw the goal and put the ball in the net," Adkins said.

Elsewhere, Owen Garvan netted a second-half penalty in Crystal Palace's 2-0 win over 10-man Burnley, while Liam Lawrence missed a penalty with the last kick of the game as Brighton kept up their fine start to the season by sinking south-coast rivals Portsmouth 1-0 thanks to a Craig Mackail-Smith goal in first-half injury time. Brighton join Southampton and Derby at the top.

Bohs rally to sink Sligo

Bohemians scored twice in the space of eight minutes to severely dent Sligo Rovers' title bid as they left the Showgrounds with a 2-1 win last night.

Gavin Peers had put Rovers ahead with a header from Joseph Ndo's 11th-minute corner, but a controversial penalty from Killian Brennan in the 75th minute and a late clipped effort from Aidan Downes earned Bohs all three points.

Sligo: Clarke, Russell, Peers, McGuinness, Powell, Cretaro (Blinkhorn 55), Ryan, Kirby (Dillon 76), Ndo, Davoren (Greene 68), Doyle.

Bohemians: Murphy, Heary, Burns, Price, Cahill, Forrester (Rossiter 63), Buckley, Cronin, O'Brien, Brennan, Downes.

Ref: Alan Kelly (Cork).

Fabregas deal not done yet

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has said the deal to sign Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas is "very advanced" -- but still not complete.

Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes said in a press conference that he believed the transfer was close to being finalised, while his team-mates Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique both sent Fabregas messages on Twitter to welcome their Spain colleague.

However, there has not yet been any official confirmation from either club, and when asked about the situation yesterday, Guardiola said: "Cesc isn't here yet. It is very advanced, but the information that I have, not from Twitter but from the club, is that it is still not quite finalised.

"In any case, if he comes or doesn't come, Barca will continue to have a good midfield."

Stokes opener settles Celtic

Anthony Stokes opened the scoring as Celtic hammered Dundee United 5-1 in the Scottish Premier League at Parkhead. The Dubliner struck low and hard from outside the box to give the hosts a fourth-minute lead.

And although Johnny Russell levelled in the 31st minute, strikes from Gary Hooper -- later stretchered off -- Ki Sung-yueng, Joe Ledley and James Forrest clinched the points.

"It was a fantastic result. Five different scorers, different goals as well and we could have had more," Bhoys manager Neil Lennon said.

"We were open at the back at times but to beat Dundee United 5-1, we couldn't ask any more from them."

Meanwhile, Nikica Jelavic and Maurice Edu -- later sent off -- scored as Rangers beat Inverness 2-0 and Motherwell stay top thanks to a last-minute free-kick from Tom Hateley in their 1-0 win over St Mirren.

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