Thursday 12 December 2019

Resilient Royals triumph

Reading 3
West Brom 2

Alex Lowe

Reading manager Brian McDermott hailed the "phenomenal character, desire and resilience'' of his side after their stunning victory over West Brom.

The Baggies were in cruise control after Romelu Lukaku had put them 2-0 up but Reading scored three goals in the last nine minutes to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Jimmy Kebe stole in at the back post to beat Ben Foster with a header before Adam Le Fondre scored a penalty and Pavel Pogrebnyak bagged the winner in dramatic late turnaround.

"It was a struggle today. We had to stay in the game and they didn't get the third goal, which would have finished the game off,'' said McDermott. "If you get a goal back, anything can happen.

"The real Reading is the last eight minutes because that is what I have seen over the last three years – a phenomenal character, desire and resilience. You don't normally win games when you are 2-0 down. We have a dressing-room that is all going in the same direction. It is a big win for us.''

For 80 minutes, Reading seemed destined to be bottom of the table after QPR's draw with Tottenham. But the unexpected victory has given impetus to their bid for top-flight survival.

"We have won two of the last three games in this league and three of the last four (in all competitions),'' added McDermott.

West Brom head coach Steve Clarke looked shellshocked after the game and he was at a loss for words to describe how the Baggies threw away such a dominant position.

"We had good control and I certainly couldn't see the finish to the game that happened,'' said Clark, who denied it was down to complacency or a sense that his players felt the game was won.

"I am disappointed. I am not sure (what happened). I can't be more honest than that. We should have scored four or five but then we lost a goal and for some reason we lost our shape and we lost our composure and conceded the two late goals that cost us the game.

"Football can be a strange game and today is one of those days.''

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